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  • molly3729

A day on the Road to Hana

There is so much to see and do on the island of Maui and The Road to Hana is at the top of the list! We stayed near Lahaina which is about a 45 minutes drive to Paia, the beginning point of the drive so we gave ourselves an early start leaving the resort by 7am. We strategically picked our stops ahead of time and, as you'll see, reservations are needed now at the famous black sand beach so it is important to plan accordingly.

Paia:

This little town is the beginning of the route so we stopped at Paia Bay for a quick bathroom break and to purchase a large coffee for our fearless driver (aka, my husband). It's a route with 620 curves and 59 bridges so we wanted him to be wide awake! We had an amazing audioguide that colorfully described what we were seeing as well as provided historical context as we journeyed along this famous route.


Stop 1- Waikamoi Ridge Trail

First stop was a hike up the Waikamoi ridge trail. It was a lovely hike with lots of bamboo. There was a bit of confusion near the end when we almost turned around to go back but my daughter lead us to the car which was 30 feet away!


Stop 2 - Garden of Eden Arboretum

This is an easy hike, more like a walk, through lots of interesting tropical plants including the Rainbow Gumtree which was incredible! As the name of suggests, beautifully colored!


Stop 3 - Peninsula and Village of Ke'anae.

Absolutely gorgeous drive down this peninsula to the village of Ke'anae at the end but a place with a sad story. A tsunami hit 70 years ago and the entire village and many inhabitants were lost. One church still remains. Dangerous swimming here but absolutely beautiful.


Stop 4 - Waianapanapa State Park

The world renowned black sand beach at Waianapanapa state park is not to be missed. Currently, you must make a very sought-after reservation for a specific 2-hour window as they’re controlling the number of people who can go down to the small beach. Many locals are hoping it continues post-pandemic as it makes for a more pleasant visit for all involved.

We had allotted ourselves an hour for this stop but it was closer to an hour and a half as we hiked around and swam - so much to see down on the beach as well as along the surrounding shoreline.


Stop 5 - Wailua Falls

We hadn't planned on this stop but wow was it worth it! As we rounded our who knows what hundredth curve, we witnessed the spectacular Wailua Falls on our right. As luck would have it, there was a parking spot in the little lot just beyond and we backtracked to take a longer look. We decided to follow the narrow path down to the falls to see what all the hooting and hollering was about and there were 20 or so people swimming in the falls. One person who seemed very familiar with the pool (as in don't try this if you're not!), climbed the ridge up to the right and then jumped - everyone cheered in delight! Our youngest traveler was still in her suit and took a heavenly swim under the falls. Talk about making memories!


As a side note, one thing I truly love about planning travel is actually the opposite of what some might think. The more I've planned an adventure down to the letter, the more flexibility we actually have when we're on location. I know what to prioritize but have the knowledge to be spontaneous and take advantage of the unexpected joys that inevitably (we hope!) come up when traveling.


Stop 6 - Ohe Gulch

We arrived there around 3:50 and since the gates closed at 5 o’clock we had just the right amount of time to do the half mile loop down to the pools that pour into the ocean. It was lightly raining which was heavenly because we were very hot. We got back in the car and started the 3+ hours back home.


At some point during the day we stopped at a shack on the side of the road where a man cooked out of a bus and we split two orders of delicious fish and chips. There was a small, one-eyed black kitty who knew exactly who to come to and I slipped him pieces of fish :-).


The ride back had magnificent views all along the way was of course quite long and twisty. Our audioguide kept us entertained but we were very glad to be back at our place after our 13+ hour adventure!



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