The Road to Hana is one of those touristy things that nearly everyone does when they visit Maui. Not attempting this treacherous drive through ‘paradise’ would be synonymous with going to Hawaii and not spending a day at the beach.
Is the trip worth the hype? Perhaps, but once is enough. And you’re lucky if you survive because there are about 300 turns that could kill you and your traveling companions if you’re not careful. For the most part, the drivers are cautious but we did pass a few locals in massive pick-up trucks (think Ute) that came speeding down roads that are really only fit for one vehicle driving.
We decided to stay in Hana Town so that we could go at a leisurely pace. We also made a point not to stop at any of the mile markers suggested in the guidebooks to avoid the tourists — we also weren’t that impressed with what was suggested. Hana itself is an incredibly small town with few dining or entertainment options. Our hotel didn’t even have telly! So we drove around town for a bit, had frozen pizza and pot noodles for tea. Not exactly what I’d call fine dining!
A lot of people seem to drive to Hana and return the same way they came and don’t realise that the most beautiful parts of the drive lie ahead — if you go, do the entire loop and take your time. You don’t want to miss hiking through a bamboo forest, nestled within Haleakala National Park, and a beautiful waterfall at the end of the hike.
Although smaller than the waterfalls you’ll find in Iceland, tropical waterfalls certainly have their own charm and getting to them make for a fun adventure. We had to cross two gushing streams, with the water up to our knees, to see Waimoku Falls. Be prepared and bring rain gear/shoes as you never know what the weather will be like — it rained heavily off and on during our hike.
We loved how lush and green everything was — as much as I love the water, it’s nice to take a break from the beach and sun and experience a completely different island climate. This is not to say that we did not experience ‘scenic fatigue’ on the drive — after a while, as odd as it may sound, you do kind of get bored of all the beauty and long for a change of scenery. A lot is due to the far from ideal driving conditions and after miles of winding unpaved one lane roads, you welcome the sight of beautiful, black tarmac.