The famous "Road to Hana" is a spectacular
journey into a world far removed from day to day life. The trip to Hana is
a journey ... not a destination. Take your time and stop often along the
way. Plan on spending the whole day to do the drive, make sure you start
with a full tank of gas, and most of all ... HAVE FUN!!!
|As you begin the drive to
Hana, shortly after you leave Paia town, you will pass Ho'okipa Beach
Park. A favorite spot for surfers and windsurfers, you might see some
spectacular athletes in action if the conditions are right!
|A few miles later, the road
narrows and begins its twisting and turning as you traverse the volcanic
ridges and valleys of Maui's north coast rain forest. While the difficulty
of the drive is exaggerated, there are over 100 one-lane bridges and
countless snaking turns along the way. If you prefer to let someone else
do the driving, there are van tours available
... or you could do the ultimate Maui expedition, the famous Hana
Sky Trek where you fly to Hana in a helicopter and get a guided tour
in a luxury limo-van on the way back. If you do the drive yourself, leave
your hotel early and take your time.
|One of the
greatest attractions on the road to Hana is the waterfalls that are
visible along the way. They come in all shapes and sizes, and if there has
been a recent rainfall, there are waterfalls almost everywhere! You might
want to bring along a bathing suit and a change of clothes, because taking
a cool dip underneath a Hawaiian waterfall is an exhilarating
Hana you will find a beautiful, lush piece of land that juts out into the
ocean. The Keanae Peninsula contains a Hawaiian village, a park, and many
tarot patches. There is also an arboretum where you can walk down a path
and observe samples of the local flora and fauna.
|Just before you arrive at
Hana town, watch for signs for Waianapanapa State Park. The scenery here
is spectacular ... waves crashing against ancient lava flows ... a
blowhole that geysers into the sky ... and a magical black sand beach. For
those who are adventurous, there is a fresh-water lava tube cave that is
fun to explore. There are three "arms" to the cave that you can
swim into ... a flashlight or headlamp comes in handy.
arrive in Hana town, you will probably be looking for a place to eat
lunch. The Hana Ranch restaurant has a buffet available, and there is a
snack bar which serves lunch at the beach at Hana Bay. You might want to
stop at Hasegawa's ... a famous general store. Also nearby is a secluded
red sand beach ... just a warning ... it is "clothing optional,"
so don't be shocked when you see people in the buff playing volleyball!
continue past Hana, another 40 minutes of spectacular scenery will bring
you to the famous "7 Sacred Pools." In reality, there is nothing
sacred about the pools, and there are far more than seven of them.
Actually, the proper name for the place is Oheo Gulch, and the pools are
located inside Haleakala National Park. From the parking area, you can
follow the trail that leads to the ocean, and access to a series of pools
and waterfalls. Many people swim here, and there are fun places you can
jump off cliffs and into the refreshing pools below. There is also a trail
that follows the stream uphill and ultimately to Waimoku Falls ... the
two-hour round trip hike to this spectacular 600 foot waterfall takes you
through a mysterious bamboo forest.
Gulch you can either turn around and go back the way you came, or you can
continue on and do a circle around Haleakala. The distance is the same
either way ... the road turns to gravel and gets a little bumpy, but it is
much straighter and less crowded. Rental car companies don't want you to
go this way, but it is NOT a four wheel drive road and there is nothing
done to enforce this silly rule. The scenery on this side of the island is
VERY different. The north shore is a rain forest, but the south shore is
very desert-like. Canyons, young lava flows, and great panoramic views of
other islands await you. Ultimately the road brings you to Ulupalakua and
Kula. There is no short cut down to Wailea and Kihei available ...
ultimately you will travel down the Haleakala highway until it meets the
Hana highway close to the Kahului airport.