Magnum, P.I. – Robins Nest


Magnum, P.I. starring Tom Selleck as the legendary and beloved private investigator Thomas Magnum, was a classic TV series that ran from 1980 – 1988. The show with a back drop of beautiful Hawaii had great characters (regulars along with Magnum were Higgins and Magnum’s Vietnam War buddies T.C. and Rick) and story lines that offered action, drama, comedy, beautiful women and lots of interesting tales. In its early days the show was one of the highest rated programs on TV and was one that I loved to watch (and still do if I come across an episode on TV).

Magnum PI
The TV series ran from 1980 to 1988

Magnum, T.C., Rick & Higgins Magnum PI
Magnum, T.C., Rick & Higgins

Last year whilst on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu I just had to go visit the location of Robins Nest. The home in the series of wealthy but never present author Robin Masters which is where Magnum lives in exchange for being head of security of the estate that is under the charge of long-suffering estate manager Jonathan Higgins (he and Magnum have a love hate relationship) who was played by John Hillerman. There is always a suspicion (and running joke) that Robin Masters and Higgins are one in the same in later seasons. An unknown mystery!

Robins Nest as seen on TV Magnum PI
Robins Nest as seen on TV (Photo Source: Magnum Mania!)
Higgins and "The Lads" Zues and Apollo Magnum PI
Higgins and “The Lads” Zues and Apollo

You cannot visit the mansion but you can partially see it from the beach side. It is not a tourist destination and is actually a private home built in 1933 known as The Anderson Estate (Eve Anderson is a former local politician that has owned the property for many years) and called Pahonu which translates from Hawaiian to mean “turtle enclosure” and is derived from the ancient turtle ponds in the water in front of the estate where sea turtles were kept for a high chief who enjoyed eating the creatures meat (the rock walls that form the pond are on the Hawaiian Historical Register). You can find the estate on the south-east coast of O’ahu just south of Waimanaio Beach at 41-505 Kalanianaole Hwy. The website Magnum Mania has a lot of great information on the TV show and locations to go see.

Robins Nest Pahonu Hawaii Oahu Magnum PI
The gateway to “Robins Nest”
Pahonu Robin Nest Magnum PI Edwards Estate Hawaii Oahu
Known as Pahonu (Turtle Enclosure)
Turtle meat was a favourite of the ancient Hawaiian chiefs
Turtle meat was a favourite of the ancient Hawaiian chiefs

Unfortunately compared to the way it once looked on TV, the estate seemed pretty overgrown and run down from what I could see from the beach and through the fence (don’t trespass – signs warn you are not welcome). The “guest house” where Magnum lived is actually a boat house and it appeared in serious disrepair. The estate is much smaller that it would appear on the show too.

The Anderson Estate "Robins Nest" as seen in Magnum PI 1980-1988
The Anderson Estate “Robins Nest”
The Anderson Estate "Robins Nest" as seen in Magnum PI 1980-1988 Hawaii
Great Scenery
The Anderson Estate "Robins Nest" as seen in Magnum PI 1980-1988
The estate seems pretty overgrown
The Anderson Estate "Robins Nest" as seen in Magnum PI 1980-1988 O'ahu Hawaii
The house itself may still be in reasonable condition but it is hard to tell
Robins Nest
No trespassing!
The "guest house" as seen on TV was where Magnum lived was actually a boat house  Magnum PI
The “guest house” as seen on TV was where Magnum lived was actually a boat house (Photo Source: Magnum Mania!)
Magnum PI Guest house how it looks today
The boat house today. Magnum where are you?

Regardless of the disrepair, the scenery around the estate is impressive, with a nice beach front, mountains behind it and Rabbit Island off the shore (you would see that and the turtle ponds in Magnum from time to time). Interestingly despite the way it looks, the estate was put up for sale in January 2014 with an asking price of  $15.75 million!

Rabbit Island, O'ahu, Hawaii
Rabbit Island, O’ahu, Hawaii

Given I couldn’t go into the house or the estate grounds there was one other I could do that was part of the series. Go for a swim in the turtle ponds just like Thomas Magnum. The water was clear and made for a nice swim on a hot Hawaiian day.

The Turtle Pond at Waimanalo Beach Hawaii Magnum PI Robins Nest
The Turtle Pond at Waimanalo Beach
Looking out to Rabbit Island from the turtle pond Robins Nest Magnum PI
Looking out to Rabbit Island from the turtle pond

Unfortunately whilst swimming around the turtle ponds I got stung on the foot by a Portuguese Man o’ War (Bluebottle)! Now I can tell you the pain was extreme (I had to apologise to the nearby family birthday party for my language!) but I am thankful only part of the tentacles got me. I can only imagine what it would have been like otherwise! After a few days follow some treatment I was OK and got out of it very lightly. The trip to Robins Nest was kind of worth it!

T.C.'s Island Hoppers Hughes 500  Magnum PI
T.C.’s Island Hoppers Hughes 500

There is something else that is kind of linked to Magnum, P.I. that you will see often around O’ahu. A Hughes 500 helicopter that is painted up in the colours of Island Hoppers, the fictional helicopter service that T.C. ran and flew in the series. It is run by a company called Paradise Helicopters who offer tours around the island. Apparently it is signed by Roger E. Mosley (T.C.) and Larry Manetti (Rick). I saw the chopper flying about a few times but could never get a great photo of it. It was fun see though.

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