Hawaii Part 3 - Maui

Onto the next island in the chain!  Maui is home to big surf and big mountains, and is also the most popular tourist destination.  We stayed in Napili Beach, about 10 miles north of Lahaina.  In between there are numerous beaches and larger hotels. 

One thing you do a lot of in Maui is drive -and it’s not for the faint hearted.  The roads are narrow with curves and turns so sharp you have to beep your horn each time.  The sides drop away into the ocean and you have to navigate around rockfalls and be able to handle slippy conditions as there is a lot of rain.  There are two roads of note:  1 is in the north: http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/643-kahekili-highway-usa.html and the other is the road to Hana in the south: https://www.hawaii-guide.com/maui/sights/road-to-hana. Both roads offer beautiful views of the Maui coastline and it’s worth stopping in some of the national parks to do a hike.  My favourite hike was the moderate/steep Waihee Ridge Trail which offers stunning views into a valley and over the coast.  

Road to Hana

Waihee Ridge Trail views

Haleakala Crater

One of the top tourist attractions in Maui is the Haleakala crater, a must-see at either sunrise or sunset.  As we were staying miles away and didn’t really feel like getting up at 1am, the best bet for us was the sunset -but there’s arguments for both and an abundance of them on the internet. If you do sunrise, be prepared as you need to prepay for a permit, you can’t just rock up.  You can also choose to mountain bike back down after the sunrise (no thanks) and there are a ton of tours you can book if driving isn’t your preference.
Be prepared for the weather!!!  The mountain is high, windy and bloody cold, and we had all our warm kit on and still lost feeling in our hands and noses.  If you’ve only got your Hawaiian summer gear you’re going to freeze, this is not a place for flip-flops or Hawaiian shirts.  There’s a number of places you can view the sunset so a tip is to go up a couple of hours early and check out which one works for you.  

In winter the sun sets around 5.30ish so it’s better to make sure you’ve got time to do the 40 mile zig zag drive up the mountain to get those before and after photos. It’s not Kahekili highway bad, but it does take some time.  Below the crater is rich, green farmland, and cattle graze on the lower slopes and whilst visible on the way up, not so much in the pitch black on the way down when they have a tendency to wander into the middle of the road and stare blankly at you whilst you beep the horn for them to move, which they will do eventually in their own sweet time.  Whichever way you do it you’ll be guaranteed a spectacular experience, standing above the clouds like a god, looking at the sun on its way down, the Haleakala astronomy making an almost science-fiction like backdrop for photos.  You can also see all the way across to the peaks on the big island.

The drive down the west side of the island is incredible, the roads stretch away in the distance with the peak to the left.  We stopped at Kīpahulu Area to hike to Waimoku falls, which takes you through a lush bamboo forest.  The hike is easy at 4 miles.  Next to the start of the trail and by the visitor centre are the Oheʻo Pools which were closed for swimming when we were there although you can walk around them.  

Enroute to Kīpahulu:

Waimoku Falls