Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, and is formed by two shield volcanoes that overlapped to create an isthmus between them. The volcano in the west is extinct, while Haleakala in the east is classified as dormant, and is surrounded by National Park.
Our trip started up on the north coast and then we drove over towards the west coast beaches and towns. Here are some of the things we did during our time on the island.
The road to Hana
Renowned for hairpin bends and narrow bridges, the road to Hana rewards it’s visitors with views of beautiful waterfalls, walks through the rainforest, and striking beaches. Starting out from Kahului and heading across the northern coast, the road then turns down the rugged eastern coastline. The trip to Hana can take as little as 3 hours, or all day – depending on how many times you stop.
(Note – apparently the road to the south beyond Hana can be white knuckle territory and many car hire companies don’t allow their cars to travel around to the south of the island past Hana, and beyond. Check with them before you plan a loop trip. You may just want to stop overnight in Hana before heading back) We chose to drive only part of the road, setting off early from Kahului, and returning in time for a delicious lunch at Mamas Fish House.
Mamas Fish House
On the north shore of Maui, a meal in Mamas Fish House is an experience you will not soon forget! Local fishermen go out each day and catch the fish for the restaurant. The menu of the day will have the fisherman’s name and where the fish was caught above the description of the way the fish has been prepared. The restaurant overlooks a stunning palm-tree lined beach, with the accompanying sound of the waves rolling in from the ocean.
We sipped on cocktails and enjoyed the amazing atmosphere in the restaurant. The food was absolutely perfect and the service was without fault. I didn’t realise until we arrived, but you can also stay in the inn at Mama’s. We might try that next time we are in Maui!
An historic whaling village, now renewed with modern eclectic shops and galleries occupying the rustic buildings lining the main street. Diverse food options are available ranging from classy restaurants to the shave ice store opposite the Historic Baldwin Home Museum.
The Banyan in front of Lahaina Courthouse is one of Maui’s largest trees, spanning two-thirds of an acre and standing at over 18 m tall.
Baby Beach at the northern end of the town offers soft sands and clam waters, ideal for first time snorkelers and families with children.
We chose to stay at the Napili Shores Outrigger Hotel, and our apartment was next to the ocean. We were treated to magic sunsets each night which we enjoyed while sitting on our balcony and savouring different types of Hawaiian wine each evening. (We even tried Pineapple Wine, but decided that must be an acquired taste!)
A few steps away from our room and we were on Napili Bay – a great little bay to snorkel in but make sure your towel and bags are up high in the trees, because the water comes right up the beach with the tides! We didn’t see any honu here, but there were plenty of fish.
This is a sheltered white sand beach, which is a fabulous place for novice snorkelers and those hoping to see the honu. The visibility of the water varies throughout the day, but there are a plenty of different types of fish there, as well as honu of varying sizes passing through. The northern end of the beach where it gets rocky is the best place to see the fish but we did encounter the honu at the southern end of the beach, and also towards the centre.
Makalua-Puna Point – The Dragons Teeth
You will find the Dragon’s Teeth on the north-west coast of Maui, just past Kapalua. Jagged formations that look like a row of large teeth ( hence the nick name), on the side of an old lava flow stretching into the sea, shaped by the forces of nature into the form of the lower jaw of a dragon.
We walked down along the side of a golf course, and carefully avoided the ancient Hawaiian burial ground, to pick our way down and out along the lava flow point, walking in the jaw of the dragon. It was fairly windy out there and easy to see how the lava could have been shaped by the wind and sea into the tooth-like points.
There is a small car park at the end of Lower Honoapiilani Rd, where you will find the start of the dragon tooth trail. A little further out onto the flow you will find the Kapalua Labyrinth, which is a small circular pattern on the ground. While you are there, you can also visit D.T. Fleming Beach or Oneola Bay, which are on either side of the Dragon’s Teeth.
We enjoyed our stay on Maui, and found the pace relaxed, and the driving stress-free.
It’s easy to see why people enjoy repeat visits to this island!