Read any Maui guidebook and it will tell you about the iconic and picturesque road to Hana. It’s a must for most travelers and I had already gone half-way earlier with Carol from NYCityMama which was great because I learned two things:
1) It isn’t at all scary like everyone says. The road winds around mountains but there are lanes and guard rails.
2) I needed a guidebook to find all of the stops you are supposed to make, there are no signs so Carol and I couldn’t find a single waterfall.
I would not make that mistake with my mother.
Our first stop was to get Maui Revealed that readers recommended on Maui on my Mind. It’s a great guide for the road to Hana because it tells you what mile marker to stop and what to expect so you can choose how adventurous you want to be.
At the two mile market we hit a tropical fruits stand with smoothies, it was by a look off so we thought it would be fun to get one and walk out to the look off.
We were totally duped, it was just down a flight of stairs and looking out to what we had been seeing from the highway.
Around the 6 mile mark we saw a man with these parrots, other cars had stopped and a family was talking to the guy. Apparently he was offering to have your photo taken with one of them for $20 – the money went to his bird “sanctuary” – who knows if it was legit but I snapped a photo and told my mother to run to the car.
A little past mile 11 we stopped and walked five minutes into the woods to see pool and small waterfall called Haipua’ena Falls. A nice couple offered to take our photo and ignored my instructions to put us on the left so we wouldn’t obstruct the pool and waterfall – oh well.
At mile 12 we stopped at Kaumahina State Wayside with questionably clean washrooms but hey you can’t be picky in nature. We had brought some Surfing Goat Dairy cheese, crackers and fruit so stopped for lunch to enjoy the view.
The 18 mile marker is the Wailua Valley State Wayside. We climb some stairs for another great view.
When we come down another driver has made it impossible for me to turn around so I ask if she can move up to the disabled parking spot while I turn around.
She is very annoyed but I’m not backing out onto the highway and snark back that she needs to move up. We leave happily, she probably stays grumpy for the rest of the day.
We make it Halfway to Hana, which is actually two-thirds of the way.
If South East Asia has the banana pancake trail I would say Maui has the banana bread trail, every place says they have the best but apparently this is the original.
It’s pretty good although not as good as my grandmother’s.
After thinking we are lost and driving through a washed out road we finally find Kahanu Garden at mile 31.
We pay $10 each not to see the garden but Pi`ilanihale, a gigantic ruin made from lava rocks and could possibly be the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia.
It’s massive but they have trees in front obstructing/protecting it.
Hopefully in the future they’ll learn more about it so visitors will have more to do than simply look from afar.
Our final stop in Hana County was at mile 32 for Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach, we had been driving nearly five hours and regretted we didn’t have more time because it was a beautiful beach. There’s camping available at the park and it seems like a fantastic place to spend a few days.
But we have to move onto Hana because we have 4 days planned there and I’ve been told there’s no wifi – eek!