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My Hawaii, Manuela reports part 3: Maui and the Road to Hana

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Before we start, a quick note about this magazine article: If you would like to know more about the sights in detail (tips, contacts, photos, map), click on "Overview". You can return to the article by clicking on "Read article".
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Overview

In part 3 Manuela reports about her excursions on Maui. Missed parts 1 and 2? Go back to the Hawaii Blog quickly 🙂


Arrival in Maui

Our next destination is the beautiful island Mauiwhich is the second largest island of Hawaii with an area of 1883 km². It received its name from the demigod Maui. Legend says that he had such a big paddle that he reached the sun with only one rowing movement. It is also said that he invented surfing. It is not without reason that Maui has one of the best surfing conditions in the world with numerous competitions held here every day.

Our flight and arrival at the Kahului Airport was uncomplicated. For the arrival, we decided to take the trip to Hana first. Since this takes a whole day, we stayed in Paia overnight.

The small town looks like a hippie colony with pretty stores, restaurants and small galleries. There really is a unique flair of past days here. A few kilometres away from Paia is one of the most famous windsurfing beaches in the world: the Hookipa Beach. In March and November, the world championships in surfing take place here. This must be a great spectacle, which we were unfortunately not able to experience. But that is okay since Maui has so much more to offer and is scenically breathtaking.

General info first

For the trip to Hana, along the so-called "Road to Hana", you need a whole day which is why you have to get up early. Since there are many trails along the way, you should have hiking boots or at least sturdy shoes.

The weather along the road is quite stable in summer, in winter you have to expect rainfalls, sometimes very heavy showers. In general, it rains more often in the north than in the south. The actual Road to Hana does not begin until the intersection of Hana Hwy. / Kaupakalua Rd. At that point, there is a mile marker (MM) 0.

The Road to Hana - A road trip of a special kind:

The Road to Hana is a very special experience and a real challenge. The road has over 600 serpentines and about 60 bridges,which are often only one lane. Sharp curves without overtaking opportunities are nerve-wracking and I'm glad that my husband drove 🙂 There are deep cliffs everywhere and I was nauseous more than once. But we were rewarded with unique views of the sea and the beautiful landscape.

Some things you should know, you are not alone on the road, the road is a highlight for numerous tourists so there are many cars and buses. Parking lots are often overcrowded. It happens sometimes that you would like to look at something and can not find a place to park. In addition, you have to constantly expect people to stop somewhere and run across the street to photograph something.

It is also very important to have a full tank of gas because there is no gas station until Hana. We have heard that if you are unlucky, the petrol in Hana can be sold out. In this case, you have to spend the night there. Fortunately, this did not happen to us.

bamboo forest road to hana Maui

And off we go! Our stops on the Road to Hana

First stop: Twin Falls. There is a fruit stand with delicious fruits and even smoothies. You can take a very nice walk from here which leads to the waterfalls. The path is about 2 km long and leads through a tropical park and rainforest. After crossing a stream, we arrive at our destination. There is also a small lake at the waterfall which you can swim in.

We continue with the drive after the short stop. There is a turnoff on the right to a small botanical garden called Garden Eden. From here, you have many great viewing points over the sea and can admire exotic plants. However, you have to pay an entrance fee for the garden, so you should consider whether the visit is worth it for you. We drive on, past numerous waterfalls and the road gets curvier and curvier. The Ke'Anae peninsula comes into view with its rugged coastline. Huge black lava pinnacles rise there.

The next worthwhile stop is at the MM 19 and 20. The famous waterfall Upper Waikani Falls, also known here as Three Bears Falls, is here.

A special extra detour is located between MM 25 and 26. We took the turnoff to Nahiku Road on the left and felt like we were in paradise. The trees along the small road almost form tunnels. On the side of the road, there are tree stumps from which giant orchids grow. You are not allowed to drive faster than 15 mph here, but we don't even want to. The landscape is impressive and we are quite excited. Unfortunately, we can't get to the sea this way and so we drive back to Hana Road. At MM 31 is Ulaino Road on the left with the possibility of a trip to Hana Lava Tube.

Continue until you reach the MM 32 to Wai'anapanapa State Park with the famous Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach. It is located just before Hana and is also popular with photographers, as the pitch black sand is something very special for photo shoots. Swimming here is too dangerous because of the current.
As a contrast and also worth seeing is the Red Sand Beach. It is located at the end of Hana and can only be reached via a small cliff path. Since it is a bit difficult to get here, there are not so many people. The red colouring of the stones and the sand make this beach unique.
Hana is like a small, secluded village at the end of the world. Here, time still seems to stand still.

Two options for the way back:

  1. You drive the same route back
  2. You continue south on the Pi'ilani Hwy.

We have decided to continue, although there is no insurance coverage with most rental car companies. The road is very bad for a few km with a mixture of asphalt and deep potholes. You have to drive very slowly at times, but it is manageable and there is still a lot to see.

The next stop is at the Kipahulu Visitor Centeron the territory of Haleakala National Park (entrance fee!). In the Haleakala National Park, you can find the highest mountain on the island, the Haleakala. With an altitude of 3,055 meters, you can almost see it from every point of Maui. From here, you can do a great hike along the Waimoku Falls & Pipiwai Trail. The tour is easy, even for the inexperienced, but you need the correct footwear. It will take you a little over an hour each way.

The trail first leads to the Seven-sacred-Pools. These consist of seven pools that are connected like stairs. You can swim in them, but depending on the weather, the pools are either murky or clear. It is not recommended during heavy rainfall it is very dangerous. The trail crosses numerous bridges and passes through another feature, the bamboo forest. We have never seen anything like this before. 😮

The bamboo is at times so dense that you find yourself in almost absolute darkness. We move on, even when the last section becomes a bit more uneven and thus more difficult. The goal is the impressive 120 meters high Waimoku Waterfall. After we have seen enough, we walk quickly back towards the car. A strenuous part still lies ahead of us.

The Pi'ilani Hwy. is a narrow gravel road that leads us over 25 miles through a crater landscape. Wasteland as far as the eye can see but with a view of the impressive Haleakala volcano. Later on, the landscape changes again and the road gets better. We pass the area of the Kaupo and Ulupalakua Cattle Ranch. We make a stop to refresh ourselves here.

Afterwards, we return via Keokea to Kahului. A long, very exhausting but absolutely eventful day comes to an end. Now a nice shower and then a delicious meal.

That was our Road to Hana and it was definitely worth it! Let's see what awaits us 🙂

Aloha!

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