- We arrived at the Kahului airport on the island of
Maui late in the morning. We'd heard that the Hana
Highway is one of the most interesting drives in the
world. We were not disappointed. After loading up our
gear into the rental car, we proceeded down the
highway through pineapple and sugar cane fields. Our
first stop was in the small town of Pa'ia to buy
essentials including the Maui Revealed: The
Ultimate Guidebook. We liked the Hawaii: The
Big Island Revealed guidebook so much that we
decided to get the one for Maui. We also bought the
Guide which is available free online.
- We also stopped just north of Pa'ia at Ho'okipa
Lookout (mile maker 9) to watch surfers. For more
information on Hawaii surfing, check out the Hawaii
Surfing News. We also saw a few wind surfers.
There's always wind on Maui, so they can always find
good weather conditions for wind surfing. The view was
beautiful . . . looking out into the surf with the
mountains in the background.
- The highway trek was fun. Our
guidebook said "if you're in a hurry to
get to Hana, you're missing the point."
With a mix of hairpin turns and one lane
bridges, the drive was an adventure. We've
always enjoyed mountain and coastal
drives, so the driving wasn't a problem.
Other than the locals in their small
pickups, most drivers were honeymooners in
rented convertibles. We teased that their
trip would probably be spoiled by
sunburned heads. Rather than stopping at
the hot tourist stops, we selected more
secluded falls and overlooks. If you want
to see the falls, it's a good idea to get
the 'Ultimate' guidebooks. Hawaii has very
poor signage and you'd miss everything but
tourist traps without a good guide. The
trails along the road to the falls are
short, so they make a good place to stop
and relax. You can't see everything, so
keep moving and enjoy some of the falls
from the roadway.
- Coastal Trail
- We particularly enjoyed the Wai'anapanapa
(Why-A-Nah-Pah-Nah-Pah) Black Sand Beach State Park
(mile marker 32). With trails along the coastline
leading to blowholes, arches, a black beach, and
temple ruins, it was a great place to spend the
afternoon. The three pictures above show the coastal
trail, a blowhole, and surf & beach.
- The trail is part of an old system built by King
Kihapi'ilani in the 1500s. It was paved with smooth
stream stones all around Haleakala.
The beach was made of a fine black sand,
along with smooth black rocks. It was fun to
people-watch at the beach. We enjoyed the music of a
honeymoon couple playing the ukulele, a woman
practicing Tai-Chi, and some guys watching driftwood
float with the surf and tide.
- Annette finds a climbing
The bright, lime green plants were a
beautiful contrast to the black volcanic
rock. With their above ground root system and
low, strong branches, Annette found that the
screw pine trees (hana trees) were a perfect
height for climbing. We spent lots of time
crawling around the rocks; photographing and
videotaping the waves crashing against the
The highlight of the park is its black
beach. The beach is made of lava that
shattered when coming into contact with the
ocean. Fragments are still being crushed to
form the sand but unlike coral beaches, this
one will probably vanish into the sea.
- A small heiau (temple) was discovered down the
trail from the beach overlooking a cliff. Ahus (small
piles of rock forming a pyramid) can be found on the
overlook along with a bench and cross. We also saw
many rocks wrapped in ti leaves that were left as
- Annette and
- on the coastal
- The guidebook suggested spending the
night in Hana rather than speeding along
the highways and missing the sights.
Unfortunately the accommodations in Hana
were very limited. We decided to skip the
expensive hotel and check out the cabins
at the Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach
State Park. We assumed that they would be
booked, but we thought we'd give it a try
since it was a weekday during off-season.
We were excited to hear that a cabin was
available. When we asked about linens, we
were told that there would be a sheet and
blanket, but no pillows. We improvised a
long pillow by rolling a blanket in a
sheet. Other than a film of greasy dust in
the corners of the kitchen, a little scum
in the bathroom, and a few cute geckos,
the experience was fun. Below you can see
Larry downloading digital pictures to the
laptop (yes, we carry our computer
everywhere) and Annette checking out the
guidebook. The middle picture shows a view
from the cabin.
- We found the Hawaii state parks in dire need of
cleaning, restoration, and general TLC. The garbage
cans were overflowing, the roads in disrepair, the
signage was poor, and there was an overall feeling of
overuse. The cabins were truly 'rustic.' But it was a
great way to spend a night in the coastal woods,
listening to the sound of palms and surf. At supper
time we headed into town.
- The guidebook said the best food in town was
"whatever you brought with you", so we didn't even
look for a restaurant. Instead we bought a frozen
pizza at the small local grocery store and headed back
to the cabin. The cabin came with a kitchen
that included a refrigerator and stovetop --
unfortunately there was no oven. Again we improvised
by making a double broiler-type oven with a
combination of pans and a lid on the stovetop and
somehow cooked our pizza - - one slice at a time.
- More Information?
Parks on the Island of Maui
Created by Annette
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