The heavenly highway is the Road to Hana. We heard a lot of mixed reviews of this adventure in Maui. Most people were over-exaggerating the experience! A few warnings we heard..."You have to start at the crack of dawn to get it done before dark." "You do not want to finish on the other side after sunset it is impossible." "Do not go all the way around, turn around at the Seven Pools." "The Road after Hana turns into the Moon!" "Cows are everywhere careful not to hit one in the dark." "You can't drive your rental car all the way around." With all the negative we heard, we also heard it is a "must do" and "you gotta have a convertible." This was the excursion I was most looking forward to doing. We had two kids to bring with us, so I know we could not do much for hiking. I researched some of the waterfalls that we could see without a long hike involved. There is plenty of information in the book "Maui Revealed" about the road to Hana. It was a Saturday January 14th and it was a beautiful morning! I believe it was about 11:00am when we started the Hana Hwy in Kahului. The beautiful beach below started the vistas for the day. We forgot to fill the fuel tank before we left Kahului. Make sure to fill up there or in Paia! We had to fill up at the only gas station in Haiku. It was way more expensive but the owner of the station was a great local guy. We weaved back down from the mountain village of Haiku to the Hana Hwy.
As soon as we hit the zig-zags of the road at about mile marker 3, Bijou started to complain about being car sick. Then we decided to stop for a smoothie at the Huelo Lookout Smoothie stand below. It is my dream job to own a little smoothie stand like this! What an oasis in a idyllic jungle setting! Bijou and Bode loved the smoothie and it made her feel all better. We found the road to Hana to be very peaceful... there are hundreds of turns in the road cutting through the cliffside jungle, around every corner the hwy reveals a new breathtaking vista. The road is well paved on the way to Hana and there are two lanes the whole way there. It is a splendid drive.
One of the first waterfalls that we pulled over to see was Lower Puohokamoa Falls. At 8/10 mile past the 10 mile marker was a turn out with a well worn path into the jungle. We had to crawl under a fence with an animal carcass hanging from the fence. I was holding Bode tight and grasping Bijous hand because the narrow path ran along a 200 foot drop! The falls was spectacular! So untouchable and the height of it was impressive. The photo below is taken from the the Ke'anae Peninsula. There is a nice restroom down in Ke'anae, exit the hwy after the 16 mile marker. Bijou wanted me to hold her here because the ferocious ocean was scaring her. I love how you can see the hwy cut into the cliffside in the view from Ke'anae. The next bridge after getting back on the hwy from Ke'anae reveals a fabulous pool! It's called Ching's Pond and it looked like a wonderful spot to stop and swim. There was a family enjoying the water here. There is a little waterfall splashing into the pool below. I wish we would have jumped into the crystal clear water! This was the only pool we saw on our drive that looked so perfect. We figured we wouldn't have time to swim, but if I do it again I would love to swim here for a bit. I believe this photo below is Wailua Valley. The road separates from the ocean and goes through more jungle. I love the houses that people live in on the way to Hana. The gardens are so green, the owner was mowing his perfectly green lawn when we drove by. We saw another perfect roadside smoothie shop, so we had to stop. You will see this little hut on the right side of the road. The falls below are Hanawi Falls and Makapipi Falls after mile marker 24 and 25. I love these two falls because you can see them from the road. We met two Finlanders exploring the falls too... one of them was scaling the top of the falls. Just before mile marker 29 is the Nahiku Marketplace. You will not miss this adorable market. There is a coffee shop, gift shop, coconut candy vendor and a fish grill. We tried the delicious Hana style coconut candy sold by a cute couple in their 60's. They made the coconut candy right there in the open-air hut style market. The meal we enjoyed at the fish grill was awesome! The cook fired up the fresh fish from his trailer in the back. The kids loved running around and stretching their legs here. We reached Hana! There wasn't much to see here, we skipped the red sand beach and the black sand beach. But you can see a black sand beach in the photo below. We love this pretty house in Hana. It is incredible that people live here. There is everything a little town needs. Getting here is all the fun you need, then we embarked on the road back from Hana on the South East side of Maui. We had a local fruit cart seller point out that we could see the big island of Hawaii off in the distance. That was so cool seeing the mountain of Hawaii above the clouds across the ocean. As you can see in the photo below, the road gets a little more treacherous but it isn't bad. No more guardrails and it is a wide single lane road. The only trouble for us is a full size fire truck with its sirens blaring was coming up behind us! I couldn't imagine being the driver of that fire truck! Its back end was hanging over the cliff when it took a curve! We were nervous about when we had to pass it on its way back to Hana. It was a little distracting but it came back just before we hit the most dangerous stretch of hwy. There were a couple really pretty roadside waterfalls in this dense jungle. The road is a very nice drive, it feels like we were on an adventure... we loved it! The Seven Sacred Pools... kinds felt like the Seven Sewage Pools to us. I do not get why these are so popular? The water was brown and there were hundreds of tourist here. I would not want to swim here because it was stinky too. We spent 5 minutes to see them and turned around to get back on the hwy. We would have liked to take the 4 mile round trip hike through the bamboo forest but with the kids we had to skip it. Next time, when the kids are older. Back on the hwy... still stunning! The road got a bit precarious after the 40 mile marker. At least they put up a few guard rails. Hey... the cows we heard about, nice grazing land with an ocean view! The mountain views were spectacular on this side of the Haleakala crater. We were enjoying the convertible Jeep for this trip! The sun hadn't set yet, so we were in good shape. Bijou did feel car sick a lot and there is no place to stop on this side... We had to pull over for her a few times to make her feel better. This was a long road back to Kahului! We loved seeing islands off in the distance. It was a great experience! We are glad we went all the way around and got to see the drastic change in landscape. We made it back to town before dark. Bijou especially was so ready to get out of the car! It's a bit more dificult to travel with kids but we made it work. ~Bethany