“Hawaii?! Am I really going to Hawaii?!” – two years ago.
It was my BIG WISH to go to this paradise in the middle of nowhere. But you know what, I worked hard to get there! It has been two years now when I went back to States to work. I worked to reach my goal: to visit paradise on the Eart. And it was a pleasure to share with one of my best friends <3
Hawaii consists of SIX main islands: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island and the two smaller islands of Molokai and Lanai. Each offers something different, from adventurous outdoor activities and the sandy beaches to volcanic formations, winding coastal drives, and traditional Hawaiian culture.
We flew from Oakland Airport near San Francisco to Kahului Airport, Maui. When is the last time, when you did something for the first time? Sleeping at the airport because our flight was early in the morning. 🙂 A direct flight takes almost 6 hours.
I found a couchsurfer, which we realized later was really cool 😉 Michael (that is his name) picked us up and the adventure began. I still can not thank Michael enough to open his home to us and showed us the best parts of Maui. We stayed in a small nice town Paia.
We hit the road – Road to Hana together. It is one of the top things you need to do when you are in Maui. It was so much fun. Drive to Hana and back takes all day with all stops – amazing views and forested hiking trails to hidden waterfalls. Amazing beaches, fruit stands and picture-perfect scenes around every corner. The road is a narrow, twisting, normally one-lane road. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY, NOT DESTINATION!
We hiked to Waimoku waterfalls. The Pipiwai Trail is long 2 miles to reach the waterfall. And at the start of the trail is Kipahulu Visitor Center where you can check a little more about Hawaiian culture. In the middle you see another waterfall – Makahiku Fally.
Nest stops were dedicated to beaches. First was Hamoa beach (white sand beach) where we refresh ourselves. It is a small beach with big waves and a scenic view. On the way to Hana, we took lunch and ate it at Koki Red beach. The dark reddish sand comes from the nearby red cinder hill, named Ka Iwi o Pele. The beach is one of the two famous Hana surf breaks and a favorite spot for local surfers.
The third stop was Waianapanapa State Park. Famous volcanic black sand beach with a hidden swimming hole, ancient Hawaiian burial sites, and 5 sheltered sea caves.
KA´ANAPALI BEACH AND LAHAINA
The next day Michael first took us to Olowalu Petroglyphs – about 100 ancient images have been chiseled into the rock here by ancient Hawaiians. You’ll be able to see human and animal figures. Then we hit the road to one of Maui´s best beaches – Ka’anapali Beach. We had time to snorkel and relax under the Hawaiian sun.
Michael showed us a path that leads to a great spot for jumping from cliffs. Path leads through the seabird nesting area and the place is called Black Rock. We continued towards North Maui – next stop: Nakalele Blowhole. “It is a natural geyser where seawater trapped in an underwater lava tube is searching for a way to escape”. But be aware that the blowhole is dangerous and accidents frequently happen. Here you will see a heart-shaped hole that’s formed in the middle of the rocks as well.
To finish the day, our last stop was Lahaina. The lovely town, which one of the attractions is Courtyard Square’s vast banyan tree. Today, the tree stands sixty feet high, with 16 major trunks rooted in the ground and stretching over 200 feet. The tree has the distinction of being the largest in the USA. Besides that, the town is lively with restaurants and shops galore lining the famous Front Street. In the evening we had the chance to watch amazing sunset and at the main square dancing originating in New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii live Hawaiian music and finished off with a full-cast fire dancing performance. You get walked through the history and culture of Polynesian people.
“Hawaiian culture is an ancient blend of ethnic influences and unique tradition”… “The honi is a Polynesian greeting in which two people greet each other by pressing noses and inhaling at the same time”.
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK
“The landscape of National park rises from a lush valley beneath a waterfall at sea level to a red desert of cinder cones at the volcanic summit of Haleakala.” A scenic national park is known as the “house of the sun” and offers you a lot of hiking trails and scenic view over the Maui. When you are in kua mauna, the land above the clouds, you can see the view on the Big Island (volcanic peaks of MounaKea and Mouna Loa). The visitor center is on 2.969 m elevation and “Observatories were built near the highest point on Maui because the site offers the fourth-best viewing conditions on the Planet”. Here above the clouds, the atmosphere is clear and dry, with minimal air and light pollution.
Fact: Haleakala is 29703 ft. – 9053 meters high if you start from the base of the mountain! (205 meters more than Mt. Everest).
On the way down we visited ALI I KULA LAVENDER FARM. I love the lavender smell, it is fresh and tender. Besides lavender from different parts of the world, there are also many other types of flowers and trees to see. Lavender blooms in July. We were a little late (October), but the smell from the plants was still heavenly. In the gift shop, there are plenty of homemade lavender-infused body products to stock up on including soap, shampoo, body scrubs, and butter as well as lavender chocolates and gourmet lavender seasonings. You can also purchase lavender-infused lemonade, tea, and baked goods inside.
Molokini is located just few miles off Maui´s shore and it is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary. It is a perfect spot for divers and for and snorkeling. We did not visit the island, but if you will have time, you should go for it.
But what we visited, it was Iao valley. Lush green tropical valley in West Maui, become popular destination just because of its natural environment and history. There are some good views on Iao Needle (natural rock formation) and on the valley. The needle is sometimes covered in clouds, so an early start is your best choice. We did not have luck, because it was cloudy. But here are some photos of our visit:
Fun facts about Maui:
- First, Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean: At World´s Ends were filmed in Maui.
- Oprah Winfrey has a home in Maui. Besides her, there are more famous people who have a home here: Clint Eastwood, Steven Tyler, Oven Wilson, …
- In Maui you can watch whales from December to May. Maui is well known as one of the best spots on the planet to watch humpback whale surface activity.
But our adventures did not finish here. We flew from Maui to Oahu on Island Air flight and it was the shortest flight in my life – around 20 minutes!
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*Some content is taken from the official sites of Maui and Hawaii.