Today I want to talk about my favourite tour on Maui. You can split this tour in two for more enjoyment. After all you’ll explore one of the most spectacular coastal drives of the world. I liked the Road to Hana that much that I drove it three times. But before you go on this trip you should keep in mind that on this tour the road is the destination. Sure it can’t hurt when you check out what there is to see and make a first plan where you want to stop. 600 hairpin turns, single lane bridges, bamboo and rainforest, waterfalls and black lava beaches. Just float along.
Road to Hana, a great natural experience
You can plan a first stop at mile marker #2 where you can explore the famous Twin Falls. At the entrance to the park you can buy smoothies and other yummy stuff. At the Garden of Eden Arboretum you can see amongst others a 100 year old mangotree. If you are feeling like having a piquenique you should stop at the Nahiku Market Place. At the Kahanu Garden waits a tropical botanical garden to be explored, but also Pi’ilanihale Heiau, Hawaii’s largest temple area. If yu are interested in Polynesian culture, you should gon and visit. At Wai’anapanapa State Parkyou will find a black sand beach, great pictrue spots and lava tubes. And then you will arrive in Hana, a sleepy small town.
Hana, once home for hippies
There are two resorts, I can recommend when you are looking for a real romantic getaway. Hana Kai Maui offers plain apartments in a magnificent location right on the beach. Actually you would have to book two nights minimum, but if you pay a cleaning fee, there are some units available for one night only.
And then there is Travaasa Hana. This resort has huge bungalows with ocean views, that are nothing short of spectacular. It is the epitome of a romantic luxurios resort and when you book the Total Travaasa Package you will get an all inclusive package that has earned it’s name. You can chosse between 5 themes for your stay: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and spa & Wellness. Yes, this is not a bargain, but you will get your moneys worth. In order to make your stay really recreative you won’t find any radios, clocks or TVs. You are here to relax. And for this you won’t need air conditioning either.
Hana itself hasn’t much to offer. Visitors like the somewhat different „Hassegawa General Store“. I think there is nothing you wouldn’t find here. And this on a very compact space. Apart from that Hana is a sleepy small town in the rainforest. But that makes the special flair and I certainly do hope that it will stay this way for very long.
The 7 waterfalls of Oheo Gulch
Right after Hana the road winds itself a bit more along the foot of Haleakala in a southern direction. Soon you will reach the waterfalls of Oheo Gulch. Like steps the water flows in 7 basins into the ocean. Untill June 2016 the basins were a popular swimming destination. The fresh water from the slopes of Haleakala is rather cold, but it was fun climbing through the falls. And the ones who were daring were able to train cliff diving. But apparently there have been more and more accidents due to falling rocks and unfortunately bathing had to be prohibited. You really should vist the falls. You still can go for a hike along the falls and find great picture spots.
One last attraction awaits you on the Road to Hana. A few minutes drive after Oheo Gulch you will come to a small church. Right next to it beneath a simple flagstone is the grave of Charles Lindbergh. For those of you who don’t know who he was: he was the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane.
Beware impracticle terrain
If you drive a rental car you should turn around here and drive back on the same route you came. Just behind the grave of Charles Lindbergh the road turns into a path of potholes and rocks. A gravel road is like a hihgway compared to what you will have to expect here. We did continue on this road, since it was marked as a highway on our map and therefore we didn’t violate the rules in our rental contract. I wasn’t able to find out, if it is allowed to drive your car on this road. If you plan to continue behind this point you should at least have a 4WD. You will see impressive scenery. On the southern slopes of Haleakala there still grows forest, but the lower and closer it gets to the ocean the drier the landscape and at the bottom you will only have dry grass, single trees and lots of lava rock. It is awe-inspiring, though.
Eventually the raod turns into a paved road again – Piilani Highway. This road will lead you through Maui’s Upcountry to Kula Hihgway, which will bring you back to Kahului.
Here in Upcountry you can explore some unexpected sights. How about a glass of wine? Maui Wine at Ulupalakua Ranch produces wine since 1974. So if you are looking for that special souvenir, why not take a bottle of Hawaiian Wine home. If you continue you will also pass lavender fields and a goat farm.
You see, this island has much more to offer than beautiful beaches and it would be a shame if you wouldn’t take your time to explore the beauty of Maui.
Have you been to Maui before and want to share your experiences? I am looking forward to your comments.
Mahalo nui loa.