The Road Less Traveled: The Southern Hana Highway

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Maui, Hawaii

Heading back from Hana we decided not to take the Hana Highway but drive around the South-East end of the island.

We didn’t ask anyone how to do it, we just saw there was a road on the map and went for it. After a few weeks on the island I figured as long as the ocean was on my left I could figure the rest out.




The Southern Hana Highway

They sell t-shirts here to say you survived the road to Hana but I really think the southern Hana highway is a more dangerous route. Fortunately we have been early risers and there was little traffic and no tourists.

The road was windy and sometimes not paved, we drove ridiculously slow in the beginning as we came around corners on cliffs and there was only room for one lane.



Just a tad stressful.


But past the lushness of Hana County we were rewarded with amazing desert views. On our left was the bluest ocean peppered with lava rock and on our right arid mountains that were deserted except for the occasional cattle crossing.


jeep in desert




maui desert


south maui


I loved my time in the Atacama desert in Chile and here I felt like we had stumbled onto something really special that a lot of people don’t get to see. It wasn’t the typical views you would expect in Maui but I think they may be some of the most beautiful.




Join the Conversation

  1. Gary Garrett @graygarrett says:

    Admire your ability to always find the unusual and spectacular.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am quite lucky to have enough time to discover things like this.

  2. It looks otherworldy. Glad you survived it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It really was fantastic.

  3. These are gorgeous, wow! I want to go back. You’ve had some amazing experiences.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This may be one of my favourite experiences, because it was so unexpected.

  4. I’m glad you made it. Roads where you could easily fall off the edge scare me. It does look like some beautiful scenery though!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The first part was scary and I didn’t think my mother’s heart could take it, but I knew if I drove slow enough things would be okay.

  5. Matthew Karsten says:

    Beautiful landscapes. Definitely not what you think of as Hawaii! Would not want to get stuck out there though…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah we made sure we had plenty of gas and passed maybe only 5 cars over the next few hours so it would be rough.

  6. On road with such view you can drive fast anyway 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This is definitely not the road to be driving fast on.

  7. Its amazing how one side of the island can be rainforest while the other side is desert. I really wanted to drive that side of the island when I visited Maui but unfortunately it was forbidden by our rental car company. Apparently they get a lot of damaged cars that way.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ahh yes I told them afterwards when we were chatting and they said they “didn’t hear that” – actually doing any bit to Hana is forbidden so they prefer don’t ask don’t tell.

  8. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Now that is one road trip! What music did you listen to?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Hawaiian music of course!

  9. Ava Apollo says:

    Wow, I can’t believe that scenery. If the mountains were a little lighter I’d say those could be the yellow fields of central California! The one-way blind turns in Hawaii are freaky. I’m also not a fan.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have never really spent any time in California other than in airports, I must change that!

  10. A Montrealer Abroad says:

    Wow – it looks so untouched, and raw, and beautiful!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know it’s like the land that tourism forgot!

  11. A very good argument for getting off the beaten path! It looks beautiful. You’re really making me want to go back to Hawaii ASAP!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There is so much to discover here, a month will not be enough.

  12. Chrystal McKay says:

    These mountains hilly views look great. I love the feeling of isolation and freedom from the views! Great Pictures! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      For some reason I’m always drawn to landscapes like this.

  13. Alexandra says:

    I am so glad you did the back road! I’m not sure if I told you to go that way when I flooded you with tips but it really is one of my favorite parts of Maui. So I am glad you got to see it! Loved the photos even if they did make me a bit homesick 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think its far better than the Road to Hana but of course you have to do it at least once.

  14. I thought about moving to Hawaii for a year. Then I saw how expensive it can be.
    Sexy pictures.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well it can be less expensive. If you grow your own food and have fruit trees it is definitely less expensive. Gas is about the same as it is in Canada.

  15. You’re killing me with the Hawaii posts. I’ve dreamed of going there since I was a kid. Now I’ve decided it has to happen in the next two years… mark my words 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I never had that dream because I thought it was just a cool place to surf but it is really so much more.

  16. This is making me excited for Maui! I’m glad I read the comments because now I won’t tell the rental car company if we go to Hana.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They don’t ask and definitely don’t tell!

  17. So so beautiful. 🙂 I love taking road trips like this, even though they’re wicked scary sometimes!! They’re always worth it. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is definitely one of the most memorable things we have done on Maui.

  18. Roy Marvelous says:

    Wow, that’s some spectacular views!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Such an understatement!

  19. Nicholle Olores says:

    That was great picture taking road trips ever! I love the photos and the place as well. So great!

  20. Wow! Those are definitely great place and it is nice to have a great day spent with this place and take a look at its beauty..

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      One of the most beautiful in Maui.

  21. Is the sky that blue? I mean so dark blue, or is it your camera?

    I love the pictures, especially the last one

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It really was that blue there! I think because there is nothing but ocean looking back at it. I was shocked at what came out in the photos. The last one is an iphone photo!

  22. Definitely not what I envision when I think of Chile! I love traveling like this, no map, just exploration!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I should hope it doesn’t look like Chile since it’s Maui 🙂

  23. Wow, those are some truly beautiful views. 🙂 I love when you take a road to somewhere and you just don’t know what to expect.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      We were just hoping there would be something at the end of the road.

  24. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I love your thirst for adventure!! Looks like the road less traveled ended up being the better route in the end. I think that’s also how life works too.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I completely agree, the best things are unexpected.

  25. This road really didn’t agree with me (well, my stomach) when we were in Maui, despite the dramamine. But it’s so beautiful there…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Really I’m surprised to hear that from you, do you get car sick often?

  26. lara dunston says:

    Looks spectacular – never expected to see such extraordinary landscapes there.

  27. Matthew Hutchins says:

    Wow, amazing views, shame about the roads though, my partner gets car sick easy.

  28. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says:

    What an amazing view! Looks winding but manageable 🙂

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