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.