Hana Highway was a much anticipated drive once we landed in Maui… it’s a beautiful stretch of road through lush rainforest and on sweeping cliffs with beach views. What makes the highway such an attraction isn’t just the pure beauty that surrounds, but it’s also the narrow road that winds and bends and becomes a mission to squeeze two cars side by side. The drive took us about 3 or so hours with a few roadside stops here and there!
This place blew my mind it was absolutely incredible! We drove up to the top of the peak (which took a few hours) and through soft cloud until we eventually made it up to the highest point – which is a total of 10, 000 feet high! Standing on the crater literally feels like standing on the moon (not that I know what that feels like though!). It was absolutely freezing up there which I didn’t dress for and as the elevation is so high breathing can get a little difficult.
Sunrise is the most popular time to head up the crater, however if you wish to avoid crowds (who wouldn’t) I recommend any other time of the day! We headed up mid afternoon and by the time we were driving back down it was about dusk and the views were definitely views to remember!
There are so many fabulous snorkelling spots in Maui, particularly in the north western parts. Black Rock Beach was one of the spots we stopped at to snorkel and we were lucky enough to see a few turtles swimming by us which was unreal! Definitely hire out some snorkel gear and explore the beaches and bays for some cool spots along the coastlines of Maui – you won’t be disappointed. Other great spots include all through Kaanapali, Kapulua, Kahana and Kihei (just to name a few). You can opt to do a day trip out to Molokini also.
Kapalua Bay is BEAUTIFUL! It surrounds some of the most elite resorts Maui has to offer as well as premier gold courses, restaurants and boutiques, however as mentioned above, it is a great spot for snorkelling. There are many stunning sandy white beaches and cystally clear water here that make spending a day just lazing around the beach perfect.
If you have a hire car or your own form of transport, driving through Honokohau and Kahakuloa is worth a drive. Much like the Hana Highway, the drive takes you through some pretty bendy and narrow roads but with some great views! Much of the road is one lane but with cars coming from both directions…so some caution needs to be taken in some of the narrower and uneven parts of the road. Slow down around the bends in case of cars coming from the opposite direction as from experience, we found ourselves having to give way a few times which was a bit of a challenge but nonetheless, it’s a great scenic drive on the edge of steep cliffs, over mountains and views of waterfalls!
Nakalele Point and Blow Hole
The blow hole here is pretty spectacular! If you stop by the side of the road, you can see it from a distance down the bottom of a rocky hillside, however it’s definitely well worth the walk down to see it closer up and in action. The walk down, weaving through and over rocks is super fun and if you have never seen a blow hole in action, it is pretty cool to see. Depending on how rough the sea is or how high the tide is will determine how high the water will shoot up in the air.
Lahaina is a popular tourist spot in Maui but don’t let this stop you from visiting. It’s an old whaling village perched by the seaside with plenty of little shops and markets to wander through. We spent a good few hours here checking out the shops and stopped for lunch at one the restaurants on the beach front. If you are driving here, free parking spots are very limited unless you get there early in the morning, otherwise be prepared to pay for parking or alternatively, if you don’t mind the walk, park out of town.
Watch a sunset
Who could ever get sick of looking at a sunset?!
Hire a car
You could definitely get by doing booked day trips and excursions to see parts of Maui if you wish too, however hiring a car is actually quite affordable and you have the ability to explore parts of Maui you wouldn’t necessarily get to if you were on a tour. It’s a great option if you want to get off the beaten track or if you want to create your own itinerary. You can read my guide on car hire in Hawaii here for more info.
I would have loved to visit the winery in Maui but unfortunately I just didn’t have enough time – which does leave something for me to do next time though! It’s located in Ulupalakua and you can do complimentary tastings of some of Maui’s very own made pineapple wines and grape sparkling wines. They also offer free guided tours through the winery grounds and you can learn about the history and fascinating past of the place!
Iao Valley State Park is renowned for its spectacular scenery that stretches as far as 16 kilometres. It is one of Maui’s most iconic landmarks and you only need to see pictures of this place to see the natural beauty and beautiful lush forest and streams that lay here. The park offer many hiking trails and great sightseeing spots for those who want to capture postcard worthy photographs.
Hana Lava Tube
Located off the Hana Highway you can take a self-guided tour through one of Maui’s Lava Tubes. For approx. $12.50 per person you are able to walk through the cave and explore the inside of a real lava tube. While I didn’t pay the money to do this (I did something similar whilst on The Big Island in Hawaii), I have no doubt the experience of this would be fascinating if it were your first time!