Ahh…the ultimate road trip as we near the end of our Maui trip. Is it bad that spring break is almost ending and I’m still blogging about what I did winter break? Oh well. It’s so nice to be re-living these family vacations. Road to Hana was recommended to us by multiple friends and travel sites, and as the more adventurous family, we couldn’t pass up on a day-long road trip. WE SURVIVED!
I remember the night before, we met a family at a luau we went to and they were saying how we would just end up hating each other by the end of the roadtrip. Well, that didn’t happen and if anything, this roadtrip was one of the highlights of our trip with so many beautiful stops along the way! When it comes to Road to Hana, it really is about the journey and not the destination.
Couple of things before we get started:
- We rented our own car and drove ourselves. Definitely doable, but if you think you’ll get tired or don’t feel like you can drive for the whole day, you can go with a group van tour.
- We used the R2H guide, which we purchased and downloaded to use as our virtual guide.
- We took the backroad of Road to Hana on our way back home. You have the option of either going back the way you came from or going around the backroad (but drive with caution, the roads are a lot less rocky.
First stop: Paia Town. You can come here to pick up some lunches before you head out on your long journey.
Painted trees! Love how unique the bark of these trees look, just standing beautifully right along the side of the road.
Our second stop was at Ke’anae Peninsula, a little bit past mile marker #16. It’s home to Aunty Sandy’s banana bread and fruit stand, which is a nice place to grab some snacks before you head out, but keep in mind that there will also be plenty more of these along the way. We stopped here for a bathroom break and a view of the peninsula.
Next stop: Upper Waikani Falls, near mile marker #19. It’s also called the 3 bears, and it’s one of the many waterfalls you’ll see along the way, but one worth stopping for.
There’s a small pullout near the bridge in front of these falls, but we decided to drive a little bit past the bridge to find parking, and walk down towards the falls so we wouldn’t cause a jam behind all the cars that were parked at this viewpoint.
Exotic flower finds!
Interesting sights include lots of chickens on the road. I bet this is where the “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke originated.
Next stop: Pu’a Kaa State Wayside Park near mile marker #22. More bathrooms here and even a picnic area if you want to stop for a rest!
A nice little pool with a waterfall if you want to go swimming. Since it was sprinkling while we were here, we didn’t really feel like going into the water just yet, so we decided to just stop for a little bit and continue on.
Next stop: Kahanu Garden at mile marker #31. According to our R2H guide, this is one of the steps that a lot of people miss or choose to skip out on because it’s off of Ula’ino Road, and veers from the main road. We had to drive on a more small, bumpy road for a little less than half a mile to get here, but it was really secluded in this particular area the day we went to visit.
Kahanu Garden is home to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and it’s a sacred piece of land that used to be owned by Chief Kahanu way back in the 1800s. You’ll see many plants in this beautiful garden, alongside many crops.
A view of the temple called Pi’ilanihale Heiau, or “House of Pi’ilani,” a sacred structure that took over 300 years to build.
There are acres and acres of land in this beautiful and well-maintained garden, including a view of the bright blue waters.
Next stop: The famous black sand beach at Pa’iloa Beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park near mile marker #32. You’ll see beautiful lava arches, and the glistening blue-greens against the black lava sand and rock is just one of the most gorgeous and unique views you’ll get the chance to see.
Isn’t it just amazing??
If you look closely, you can see the natural arches formed by lava!
Next stop: Arrived at Hana! This is located at mile marker #34, and it’s a small, quiet, coastal town rich in history and culture. We stopped here to have our lunch, which we picked up from Paia earlier in the morning.
Next stop: Wailua Falls just past mile marker #45, often referred to as Maui’s most-photographed waterfall, which should be no surprise with how picture-perfect these falls look. These falls are just on the right side of the road and impossible to miss, so be sure to stop here for pictures.
Next stop: Haleakala National Park, near mile marker #45. This is one of the must-see stops with all of the hidden treasures tucked away inside. We spent most of our time here, and there’s a lot of hiking that you can do.
Memorable sights include this large banyan tree. *cue Jack Johnson*
And beautiful, lush, green bamboo forests. Unfortunately I also got attacked by mosquitoes here.
Many miles later (and lots of blisters), we finally arrived at Waimoku Falls, which was well worth the hike.
As I mentioned before, we took the backroads back home to our condo, and it not only offered some breathtaking views, but COWS. HOW EXCITING IS THAT?? Ok, I guess our family was the only car that actually stopped to admire the cows (and let them cross the road). The few cars that did take the back roads all just seemed in a rush to get home and just started driving towards the cows to make them mooo-ve. (Sorry, bad pun. Hahah.)
Taking the backroads home will offer you some of the most splendid views of the oceans and mountains.
And that concludes our journey to Hana and the roads beyond! We ended our picture-perfect road trip with a stop at Da Hawaiian Kitchen, which serves traditional Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork. Took our delicious meals back to our condo, devoured our dinner, and we all slept like babies.
PHEEEWWW. Can I just say that the fact that I have finally completed editing and refining all these pictures is a huge accomplishment for me? These have been sitting in my hard drive for-literally-EVER and I’m so happy that all is done and finally up. I’m finally nearing the end of my Maui blogs, but I still have some more photos I’d like to share so stay tuned. Aloha!