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The Road to Hana

Hana Highway sights

The Road to Hana is as famous for its beautiful sights as it is for its switchbacks. It's well worth the drive to see some of Maui's best spots.

Hana is one of those routes where you can make it as long or as short as you like, and you can pick and choose what sorts of things you'd like to do. We left very early from Kihei, passing through Kahului at about 7am. This gave us lots of time to explore on the outward journey, because we were ahead of the bulk of the traffic. Be aware that this is one of those routes where the journey itself is the goal, not the destination! Hana itself has little to offer besides a stopping point for something to eat, whereas the road itself has all sorts of interesting places to explore.

We pretty much did most of the things mentioned in our guide book, which included a few side trips to beaches and waterfalls, as well as some of the standard stopping points. The road itself is not nearly as bad as some people say. Yes, it's narrow and windy, but if you take your time, switch drivers occasionally, and stop frequently to take a look at some of the gorgeous views and points of interest you'll be fine. Our outward journey which took us to the O'heo Gulch past Hana took about ten hours, we made it back in one and a half! Granted, we were hauling some serious butt on the return journey and whoever was the passenger would get pretty queasy. Besides the somewhat squidgy one-lane bridges, the road to Hana itself is perfectly driveable, even in a Hummer! Past Hana (to O'heo Gulch) the road gets VERY narrow and rough. On one side there is a steep rock wall, and on the other is a sheer drop-off. Since we were driving this section late in the day most vehicles were coming back the other way, so we had a lot of dicey moments passing other cars. It's worth it though, because the pools at the Gulch are a lovely spot for a late afternoon dip.



The lush tropics along the coast to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Overlooking the coastline on the way to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Offshore island near Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



The winding coastal route
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)

Beaches

If you give yourself lots of time on the drive, take some of the side roads to see some of Hana's gorgeous beaches. These really are paradise, palm trees and crashing waves and lush forest behind you.



One of the beaches along the road to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



One of the beaches along the road to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



One of the beaches along the road to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



One of the beaches along the road to Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Red sand beach near Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)

Waterfalls

Dotted along the route are several waterfalls. It had been quite dry when we drove to Hana, so many of the waterfalls were slowed to a trickle. If you have a choice about when you go, try to go after a day of rain if you'd like to fully appreciate the waterfalls.



The Ohea Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) past Hana
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Derek and I at one of the many waterfalls along the Hana Highway
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



The Blue Pool
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)

Ke'anae Arboretum

Just past the 16-mile marker on your way to Hana lies the Ke'anae Arboretum, a free garden with many endemic plants. The short trail leads through labelled trees and flowers, along a riverside, and on towards kalo (taro) patches.



Giant eucalyptus trees in the Ke'anae Arboretum
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



River through the Ke'anae Arboretum
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Derek inside a giant palm at the Ke'anae Arboretum
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)

Lava tube

We decided to forego the "pay to get in" more popular Lava tube cave along the Hana Highway, but we found a small roadside cave to explore which had one giant tree root running for several metres right through it.



One of the exits of the lava tube
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Derek inside the lava tube
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)



Our rental Hummer outside the lava tube
Road to Hana, Maui (March 10th, '08)

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