I have always wanted to drive on the Road to Hana since I saw it on some travel channel years ago.
In one of our earlier versions of the trip plan, we planned to stay overnight in Hana and explore the Seven Sacred Pools and hike in the vicinity.
Of course, this time we didn’t really want to change hotels etc. So we just decided to do a day trip. Drive as far as we could go and then turn back. the trip was more about the journey than the destination.
We didn’t want to wake up early just to complete the drive. The drive one way is about 45 miles and there are several guides/maps that list what to do mile by mile. The roads hugs the coast and crosses many single lane bridges as it winds its way to Hana. On a busy day there is a pile of cars and that tends to slow folks down. Most folks tend to drive all the way to Hana, have lunch there and then stop at different attractions on the way back.
We took it easy and left Wailea after breakfast and decided that we will probably go up to mile marker 17 or such and then head back.
First stop – Paia Town
This is the last big town before you embark onto the road to Hana drive. We stopped here to pick up picnic lunch, water and use restrooms before continuing further. Didn’t really spend much time here though it has some excellent shopping opportunities – jewelry, clothes, restaurants etc
With our lunch packed we headed to our first real stop on the drive.
Mile Marker 2 – Twin Falls
Varun hates long drives. To get him excited about the trip we told him about waterfalls and how he could splash in them and get wet. In fact the only reason he agreed to sit in the car for this long was to see waterfalls. So, we were very happy to find a decent waterfall right off the bat. Parking was a bit tricky here as this is the first stop on the trip and almost everyone stops here but we managed to find one along the road. Varun hiked the almost one mile gravel trail to the falls.
Flowers, fruits, singing and dragging a stick behind him helped him walk on the uneven trail.
The falls were strictly ok but Varun loved getting wet in the big pool.
And holding a big green gecko on a stick.
As a reward for walking, we treated him to coconut water and bananas at the fresh fruit stand right outside the trail head to the falls.
Exhausted he slept in the car. So now, we had a dilemma – should we stop along the way and carry him or drive a bit further and then stop on the way back. We decided to do the latter.
We stopped and ooh-ed-aah-ed at the views from the car but our real next stop was in Ke’anae Peninsula.
Mile Marker 16.5 – Ke’anae Peninsula
Tall waves spraying over rocky lava coastline, taro fields, a beautiful old Hawaiian church and not to mention the most amazing banana bread. Need I say more why we stopped here. Shaved ice was heaven. It was dramatic and hypnotizing. Inviting us to stay, lay a blanket and have a picnic lunch right there.
The open green fields next to the church would be perfect for Varun to run around but he was still asleep.
We sat there taking in the dramatic scenery and munching on the warm banana bread and then drove down further south to see more waterfalls and coast.
Mile Marker 25 – Nahiku Landing
Nahiku landing promised a drive through forest and a hidden waterfall on the beach. We though this would be perfect for Varun. Wake up from his nap, have lunch on the beach and then spend time in the waterfall before heading back. The drive was beautiful. But unfortunately the waterfall had dried up. We met another couple who hiked around the beach to find the waterfall with no luck.
This was the least touristy spot on the drive thus far and the solace was very comforting.
Varun was a bit disappointed about the waterfall but was happy to see the giant waves splash on the rocky shore below.
We decided to head back as it was past 3 by now and see if we could wrangle in one more waterfall stop on the way back.
Mile Marker 17 – Pua’a Ka’a Park & Falls
We stopped at the Pua’a Ka’a park for late lunch and rest room break. Across the road there was a small waterfall and Varun was very impatient to cross a little stream to reach it. He wanted Vipul to help him jump from one rock to another while crossing the stream. The water was a bit cool to actually bathe in but it was fun splashing around in it.
We spent some time here and then decided to drive back home. Clouds started gathering and it was bit dark. We drove back playing car games like I Spy games and asking him to recognize animal sounds.
It was a lovely day out – away from the resort to see the real Maui.
I am sure areas around Hana are even more prettier but we got a glimpse of it on this lush green tropical drive. Wonderful seascapes, quaint one lane bridges, thick bamboo forests and taro patches. A must do while on Maui.
Besides wildlife, Yellowstone national park is famous for its geysers and hot springs. Some are predictable like the Old Faithful; others bubble and gurgle like the Paint pots. Some howl like monsters and others are still.
They may be brown and orange or prismatic with blue-green shades. They all smell of Sulphur.
And you don’t want to miss them.
Artists Point in Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
One of the most unusual scenic vistas in Yellowstone is the artist’s point. This is a beautiful canyon with yellow rock that gives the park its name. The falls, the colors of the canyon and the river below are beautiful.
There is a short walk with a vista point for a perfect group shot. We spent some time here before heading to the lake.
After seeing a bunch of hot springs, we headed to Lake Yellowstone. This is where the caldera is – below the lake. Along the lakefront there are more hot springs and geysers. We walked around the boardwalk to take a look at the beautiful colors in the water.
Old Faithful Geyser
On day 2 and 3 in the park we saw various geysers and hot springs with Old faithful being the most spectacular one. Every 45 minutes the geysers erupts like clockwork. We all got there early to get a place in the front row and waited for the count down. And when it was time the geyser erupted ferociously and faithfully. Awesome.
It amazed adults and kids alike. One of America’s greatest natural wonders!
While we were in Old faithful area we continued further and saw the Firehole falls. We hiked a bit in the area before we headed out of the park towards the West Entrance.
We stayed overnight outside West Entrance and then started for an all day trip to Seattle the following morning. Pre-kids,we all loved Yellowstone national park. Animals, geysers, hot-springs, lake, camping and telling each other stories of bison attack as we walked back to the campsite in the dark. That night it rained and water entered our tents soaking us. Some of slept in the van scared about bear attacks and carbon dioxide poisoning.
If we were to plan now we would probably stay in one of the motel outside the park or in the historic lodges by Old Faithful. It will be a different experience now nevertheless it will still be equally amazing!
We are back from our trip to Hampi. We managed to get last-minute hotel reservation at Vijayshree Heritage Village. With lodging sorted out, we decided to wing it and off we went on our first true road trip in India since our return to India. And it was fun, thanks to the wonderful company of Shubhada, Shantanu and Dhruv.
We planned to leave Hyderabad around 9:00 am which was ambitious given that we had two kids who sleep in till 8:00 am every day. Also, we planned to take lunch and snacks along with us as we were not sure how good the restaurants would be along the way. Eventually, we were packed and loaded by 10:00 am. I had told Varun about the long road trip with his friend Dhruv. He seemed excited to just have Dhruv in the car although there were a lot of fights over toys.
Once we left Hyderabad, we went through usual dry shrubbery and boulders. After the first 80 kms or so, we were on undivided highway. The road was is decent condition except for the unmarked speed breakers which made it hard to drive. We shared the road with trucks and tractors filled with produce. Sugarcane, cotton, castor, rice. Harvest season is in full swing and I do hope the farmers get their due share after the sale of the crops.
The sunflower fields were in bloom. The paddy fields took a golden hue in the winter sun.
We saw herds of goats and sheep. We passed by the Raichur Thermal Power station. We saw traditional brick kilns.
Farmers continued with their daily activities as we drove by. Cattle rested in the shade of trees or grazed on.
As we passed through towns, we loved the vegetables and fruit stalls with winter produce – cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots, guavas, custard apples, jujube berries and more.
But, the most novel experience was the harvested rice being dried in the sun and filled in sacks to be taken to the numerous rice mills along the way. Kids loved these heaps of rice and almost immediately ran onto them. It was hard trying to get to stay out of it.
We lost our way around Gangavati, but the locals guided us and we were back on track in no time. The kids loved watching so many cows, buffaloes,goats and sheep along the way. We were glad that we reached our destination before dark.
The hotel check in was smooth. We got adjoining rooms. Kids were happy to be finally out of the car and to run around. They chased each other around the lawn and on the steps in front of the rooms while the parents rested.
Finally, after a long drive, we were in Hampi! We couldn’t wait for next day to start exploring the area.
“What are you doing about the daycare on Monday? Keeping Varun at home?” Shubhada asked me while I went to grab some tea in the pantry.
Me panicking – ” Why? Is Monday holiday? Is the daycare closed?”
Shubhada – ” Of course – didn’t you see the calendar and the text sent? ”
Slapping my forehead, but of course. We don’t get Christmas Eve as an official holiday at Microsoft but the school and the day care is closed.
So, now instead of staying at home with kids, Shubhada and I came up with ideas to do something together. Our kids are in the same class so they know each other. Our ideas range from spending an afternoon together to driving to a beach. Then we forgot all about it.
Till last night.
And we decided to drive to Hampi. A UNESCO World heritage site, and on banks of Tungabhadra river, Hampi was the last capital of the former Vijanagara empire teeming with grand palaces, monuments and temples. The city was pillaged under Muslim rule and now all we have are striking ruins of the once-magnificent monuments. Here is a Bing images link of what we hope to see.
Hampi is about 380 Kms from Hyderabad. It takes about 6 – 7 hours to cover this distance. We haven’t done that long a road trip in India. But with Shubhada and Shantanu with us we can make it. So the plan is simple:
Saturday: Drive to Hampi. Stay in Hospet about 12 kms from Hampi.
Sunday: Siteseeing during the day. Chill in the swimming pool in the evening.
Monday: Siteseeing during the day. Chill in the resort in the evening.
Tuesday: Drive back to Hyderabad
Logistics are still being sorted out but hopefully we will find a place to stay soon. And we have to figure out the road : Hyderabad – Kurnool- Guntakal – Bellary- Hospet or Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar- Raichur – Hospet. Also, if restaurants and restrooms are available along the way. Excited!!
Looking forward to a roooad trip with friends 🙂