In researching our recent trip to Maui, I learned that another of the MUST DO's along with experiencing a sunset atop Haleakala crater was driving the Road to Hana. They say this 50 mile drive on Hwy. 36 takes about 3 hours from Lahaina, but no, it's an all day drive....and you love every second of it.
Take my advice....rent a convertible. Trust me on this. A view through a window won't cut it.
The purpose of this trip is not to get to Hana...you won't even know you pass through Hana it's so tiny....it's the journey. This is a true "stop and smell the flowers" kind of experience.
For this adventure, we purchased the GyPSy app for my iPhone, plugged it into the car radio and we had a wonderful guided tour. Lots of little factoids, where to stop for great pictures, even where to take potty breaks. Stay tuned for further
warnings advice from our GyPSy guide. I highly recommend this app.
But back to the Road to Hana. It's a 52 mile road with 59 bridges (46 of them are one lane) and roughly 620 curves....through gorgeous rainforests, plunging waterfalls, crystal clear pools and seascapes that pictures can't even begin to do justice.
One of the highlights for me was seeing the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees along the roadside, and at Ke'anae Arboretum. It's as though someone painstakingly painted the smooth bark of each huge tree with true artist's strokes. I could spend a lifetime curled up under those trees with a good book.
|Don't you love this? A true work of art.|
I could've spent an entire day at Wai'anapanapa State Park exploring the caves, sea arches and blowhole.
...and the black sand beach
The official trip ends at the Pools of Oheo, about 10 miles past Hana.
....and this is where you're advised....strongly....by the rental car company, even by the GyPsy guide, to turn around and head back from whence you came. The other choice is to go around the "Back Side of the Road to Hana"....where portions of the road are ungraded and/or unpaved. So we sat there...at the proverbial fork in the road...do we follow GyPsy guide's STRONG urging ("your guidance will cease if you turn left") or do we go rogue......
You KNOW what we did...we turned left....and OH MY GOD....we saw some of the most beautiful sights of our trip. Don't get me wrong, the blind curves and guardrail free, fall off the side of a mountain, roads gave me plenty of OH *&%# moments, but it was sooooo worth it.
Since our GyPSy guidance ended at this point...along with our cell phone service and all communication with mankind....I'll also shut up and let you just enjoy the views...
We interrupt this peaceful drive to bring you....cows....because like it's not stressful enough to have a white knuckle, "Please God don't let us drive off the cliff" kind of afternoon, let's throw cows roaming across the road into the mix. Uh huh.
....back to peaceful
So if you're ever in Maui, add the Road to Hana to your list....and while I am not advising anyone to break rules, rental car contracts, clean underwear or anything of the sort, sometimes the road less traveled really does bring the greatest reward.