Carrying on our island hopping experience we flew over to the beautiful island of Maui. Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island after Big Island. The flight to get there was an experience itself, we flew over the other islands and were able to see Maui from the air which was a pretty spectacular sight!
There are lots of areas to stay in Maui and it can be pretty tricky trying to choose where to go. We stayed at the Aloha Surf hostel which was located in Paia, a cute little beach town popular with surfers. Paia was perfect for us as it felt a lot more local than other places can do and it was really close to the Road to Hana and the west of Maui. We rented a car during our stay and highly recommend doing so to make sure you see everything. If a car is a little out of your budget then the Aloha surf hostel is a great place to stay because there are organised trips around the island every day. Other places that are popular to stay include Kahului, Lahaina, Wailea/Makena and Hana.
The Road To Hana
The Road To Hana is one of the most popular attractions in Maui; it is the Great Ocean Road of Hawaii! We hired a car for a few days so we could take our time driving down it. Usually it only takes one very long day (10-12 hours) so we decided to split it up over two days, which turned out to be a great idea! We love slow travel and really hate having to rush, especially when it’s so beautiful! Here are some of the most popular stops on the Road To Hana:
Twin falls are a super popular and busy stop, they are one of the first on the drive. It is worth setting off early to ensure you get a parking space, otherwise you will be waiting around for someone to leave. Setting off on the walk you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get to the first waterfalls. They however, are not THE Twin Falls. If you carry on down the track you will come to a sign that says ‘experienced hikers only’ the path is super easy to walk down but at the end you will have to cross a river, so as long as you are steady on your feet you should be fine!
Depending on whether you walk to twin falls or not, we would probably recommend giving yourself about an hour and a half to be able to go for a swim and appreciate the beautiful walk! You used to be able to go on a rope swing across the waterfalls, but it has been taken down due to flash flooding in the area.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
As you drive along the road you will see lots of cars parked in a seemingly random place, if you see this then be sure to park up and jump out so you don’t miss anything! This is exactly what we did, and we were so happy that we did. We found some beautiful Rainbow Eucalyptus trees by the road side and they are the most beautiful tree I have ever seen! As the bark peels off the trees a bright green layer is exposed, as the tree matures if changes colours leaving beautiful multicoloured stripes.
Take a quick stop at Waikini Falls, otherwise known as the ‘three bears’, three waterfalls all varying in size! Stopping here gives you chance to stretch your legs and gives you a break from the windy roads, just be sure to park out of the way of other cars as this is a particularly narrow stretch of road! It is possible to climb down under the bridge to access the falls’ plunge pool but we were happy enough staying at road level for this one.
Waiʻanapanapa beach (Black Sand Beach)
We found the Black sand beach a little disappointing when we went because the tide was in really far. Because of the tide being in it meant that there wasn’t really any black sand, just black pebbles! There is a really cool cliff that you can swim out to and jump off, if you’re feeling brave, if not then there’s an awesome look out so you can watch people belly flop into the water below!
If you take the walking track it has some great views of the beach and leads you up to a blow hole with beautiful turquoise waters and volcanic rocks!
Just before you arrive in Hana there is a delicious (but overpriced) dairy free coconut ice-cream stall! We got the salted caramel, vanilla and chocolate flavours and highly recommend them all! You can park up in Hana and have a wander around all of the cute shops, they are filled with touristy souvenirs and also vintage and boutique items. If you aren’t already full from the banana bread and coconut ice-cream then Hana is a great place to stop for a bite to eat.
When we went to visit this waterfall it unfortunately had no water! When it is flowing it is a beautiful 80ft waterfall that can be seen from the road! If you’re feeling adventurous you can park your car and hike down to the plunge pool at the bottom.
Seven Sacred Pools
This was once a super popular tourist attraction, but due to land slides they are now too unsafe to allow swimming. To gain entry to the national park it costs $20 per vehicle, the ticket will last for three days and also allows you entry into the island’s Haleakalā National Park to explore the Haleakalā crator. We highly recommend paying for the pass even if you only do the hike to the waterfall like we did!
The two hour return hike takes you down to the spectacular 400 foot Waimoku Falls through the most magical bamboo forest! The walk is pretty easy going and not too intense, although make sure you take lots of water with you if it’s a hot day. There is a wooden path on most of the walk which makes it a super easy hike compared to most Hawaiian hikes, on the way to the waterfall you will pass a huge Banyan tree which is so worth taking pictures of!
Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach)
If you want to get the best out of the red sand beach make sure you get there early in the day, ideally before 1pm the sun goes behind the headland and shades the whole bay! On a sunny day the waters here are a stunning turquoise blue and contrast beautifully with the red sand. This is one of the most amazing beaches I have ever been to, but be aware the sand gets super hot! Make sure to take your snorkel and go for a swim, the water is crystal clear.
There is lots to do in the east of Maui but also plenty to do in the west too! We found some spectacular beaches and views on our journey.
Be sure to check out Dragons Teeth, amazing feats of nature which show what happens when lava flows into the ocean and is met with powerful crashing waves! If you’re into meditation, be sure to go in the meditation labyrinth in the most serene setting.
This is another super popular tourist beach which is also well known amongst surfers as it has great waves! You can see this beach from Dragons Teeth if you don’t fancy visiting it in person!
Honolulu bay is a pretty little beach which is great for snorkelling, but not so great for sunbathing! You will be surprised to find a very rocky/pebbly beach which isn’t very comfortable! We came here in hopes of spotting a turtle or two, but unfortunately we didn’t see any. The reef is pretty here so it’s definitely going for a swim even if you don’t see any turtles.
This is a world class beach that was once named America’s best beach! It is however a very touristy beach, so be prepared to share the beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water with lots of other people.
If you happen to find yourself in the west of Maui at sunset then be sure to head over to Lahina, where you will be treated to the most amazing sunset. Every day is different, but most days the sky lights up with a beautiful array of colours, the west coast is the best place to see the sunset in Maui.
Sunrise at Haleakalā
Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to go up to Haleakalā. You have to pre book a parking space online before being able to go up for sunrise but by the time we realised it was too late – they had sold out! You can book up to 60 days in advance if you want to… madness! You will need to purchase a pass for $20 which allows you three consecutive days of visits to the national park. The views from the top are said to be amazing, so if you can get a space in the car park we highly recommend going!
If we had time and energy to do this hike we definitely would have! It looks like a fantastic hike, it takes you high up above sea level. If you get there before the clouds do, you will be treated to amazing panoramic views, as well as a beautiful and unique walk.
Head over to the south of Maui to see turtles! There are lots of beautiful beaches to go to and spend the day topping up your tan. If you are going on a boat tour to Molokini Crater then this is usually where you will depart from. Molokini Crater looks like a fantastic place to snorkel, but we personally didn’t think it was worth the money for the tours. However if you decide to go you won’t be disappointed. It’s a very unique submerged volcanic crater which is home to lots and lots of sea creatures.
Makena is a very commercial place with lots of fancy hotels and golf courses, but if you go down to the beaches you are pretty much guaranteed to see a turtle! We went to a place called ‘turtle town’ to snorkel and saw heaps of turtles! At one point there were three of them all sharing the camera lens!
The beaches there are lovely on a sunny day, if you stay until sunset you won’t be disappointed. We stayed for sunset on two separate occasions and got to see the sun plop right into the ocean!
There is so much to do on Maui, we had such a fantastic time. The Road to Hana is so unique and gives you the chance to have a bit of action in between basking in the sun and snorkelling with turtles!
Follow us on our journey to our next location, Kauai!
Kay and Dom
*All views and opinions are our own. We are not sponsored by any company(s), we just want to create great travel guides for people who want to know more about locations around the world.