This will show you the rural side of Maui as well as The Haleakala Crater, the world’s largest dormant volcano. Drive back towards the airport and follow signs for Highway 37 or the Haleakala Highway. It is approximately a two hour trip from our condo. It is best if you go as early as possible, cloud cover begins about 9:00 A.M. The summit tends to get quite chilly, it will be about 30 degrees colder than at the condo. You can check the weather by visiting the National Park Service online. It would be a good idea to go early and bring warm clothes. Along the way you will pass through cattle country and have wonderful vistas of Maui. I recommend the Kula Lodge, 808-878-2517. This a popular stop for a hearty breakfast or lunch. Look for the carnation and protea farms. Upcountry you can also visit Maui’s only winery….Maui Wine (Formerly Tadeschi Vineyards). The wines are made from fresh pineapple juice, enjoy the samples. You might want to take a short trip over to Makawoo, this Hawaiian town has many interesting art shops including:
Haleakala Crater (Sunrise or Sunset)
You cannot go to Maui and not visit the Haleakala crater at sunrise (or sunset). The sunrise is one of the most beautiful acts of nature that you will ever see and is unlike any other sunrise you have ever witnessed. While sunrise occurs every day (haha), you do need to do a little planning. I recommend going on your second day because the jet lag you are experiencing will help you very much in getting up in the early hours of the morning. It can take between 1.5 and 2.0 hours to drive up to the summit so it is best to consult the National Park Service website to know when sunrise will occur. Due to the popularity of witnessing the “Haleakala Sunrise” reservations with the national park service are mandatory. National Park Service and the direct link to the reservation website (recreation.gov) is located here. Without a reservation you will not be guaranteed access to the sunrise observation parking area.
Sunset is equally beautiful at the summit and may be a better option for you if waking up and starting your day at 2AM local time is not for you. Sunset trips have become a popular option mostly because the park is not large enough to handle the crowds during sunrise. National Park Sunset information is here. You are standing in same park you will just be looking to the west of course. Bonus for sunset travelers while the masses leave the park is to sit comfortably on a chair or blanket you bring and wait for the stars to become visible. This may be the most beautiful night time sky you have ever seen.
It is also very cold and windy (sometimes wet) at the summit. The temperature change is -3 degrees for every 1,000 feet so it is quite easy for it to be near or below freezing before sunrise. I know you are wondering why you want to go to Maui to be cold. I can tell you this… it is worth it! When you have completed your sunrise journey I recommend eating at the Kula Lodge and enjoying the good food and even better views. Reservations are highly recommended!
(SUNRISE NOTE – It is best to plan to be there before sunrise. On busy mornings the entrance to the parking area can be closed to overcrowding.)
Special Note about Sunrise Reservations (From National Park Website)
How far in advance should I make a reservation? Most sunrise reservations will be available up to 2 months ahead of time. A few more reservations will be made available 24 hours ahead of time. Sunrise viewing is one of the most popular things to do on Maui. Plan 2 months ahead and make your online reservations.
This is a must visit! Lahaina is about a 35 minute drive along a very scenic highway. It was the capital of Hawaii and the seaport for whaling ships. At one time over 400 hundred ships visited this town each year. Now the buildings have been restored and there are several great restaurants, shops and watering holes. It is the place for most night life on the island. Lahaina may be considered the tourist center of Maui.
This area is just a few miles beyond Lahaina and is the area for many large hotels, a wonderful beach, snorkeling, and Whaler’s Village Shopping Center.
Kaanapali Coffee Farms:
Interested in seeing a where some of the best coffee is grown. Stop by the Kaanapali Coffee Farm and experience Maui’s best.
The Hana drive is possibly the best and worst trip to be made in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s the best because the coastline ( pictures of coastline) and lush tropical bamboo forests are fantastic! Now, it is the worst because the serpentine, narrow road makes over 600 twisting turns and crosses 56 tiny bridges……all in about 35 miles. The Hana side of the island gets all the rain so there are several waterfalls and natural swimming pools.
On the road to Hana there is a great natural pool with a waterfall to take a swim. It is called Pua’a Ka’a Falls. Enjoy swimming out to the waterfall and stand under it, it’s great. You can also climb to the top of the fall and hike back to another fall. (Google Map Directions from our condo)
Once you make it to Hana don’t miss the Seven Sacred Pools. When the water is high you can swim there too. The town of Paia is on the way. This is my daughter’s favorite town on Maui. It is a small “local” town with some great shops, night spots, and restaurants. Learn all about Paia on their website.
One last comment on the road to Hana. If you turn back after an hour or so you really won’t miss too much as the scenery doesn’t change that much. We have turned back on several occasions. Of course, you will not be allowed to buy a “I survived the road to Hana” T-shirt in Lahaina.