I had read that some rental companies will void your contract if they see on your GPS that you drove all the way around the southern part of the island. So I decided to just come out and ask someone when we got our car at Alamo. The lady said that yes, we were allowed to drive around the island, but at our own risk. There was not any cell service, buildings, people, nothing on that side. So you break down and you are on your own. And, since we were driving on unpaved surfaces, if our car got any damage we were responsible for it.
We weighed the risks and had decided to try it. And for the record, we were driving a compact, economy car.
But first, breakfast.
It looks like there were crepes this morning too.
We were on the opposite side of the island to the start of the road to Hana, so on the way we figured out the GPS app we were going to use. I had read about the GyPSy Guide app, and at only $5 it was a bargain for what you got. It uses your GPS and as you pass certain points, will begin to talk and explain spots. We felt it gave us plenty of warning for stopping at places and was very accurate. The narrator has seven absolutely-must-stop spots, but also talks about many others.
The road officially starts in Paia and the curvy part begins soon after.
We had talked to a few people that said they weren't driving it, but taking a tour. Two couples were from Australia and were concerned about not only navigating the windiness, but also being on the wrong side of the road for them. The other couple was from Kansas, and was not familiar with curves in roads at all.
Being from No. CA and having seriously curvy roads that we drive on in the foothills and Sierras, I can tell you that it is no worse than roads I have driven on here.
Our first stop was Twin Falls. Now our narrator had told us that these were okay falls, but everyone stops here and there were better things ahead. We decided, to ignore him. Stupidly. Well we weren't complete idiots - it was pretty, but there were better things ahead.
We walked down this path:
Only about ten minutes to find, Twin Falls.
Yup, they were falls, but not over the top spectacular. There was also some beautiful fauna.
We headed back to our car. Heads up - there are signs saying to not leave valuables in your car. And we did see one guy just hanging in the parking lot so I think they are being serious. This can be hard if you have lots of stuff that you brought, so pack accordingly.
On the road again.
Let me tell you, if we did not have GyPSy we would have not known where to stop. The entrance is not marked at all. And don't think you can trust the mile markers. They aren't visible sometimes, and at one point they stop and start up again with different numbers.
This place was beautiful.
Each of the plants were labeled. From our GyPSy narrator, we learned that lots were indigenous, but many had been brought to the island and were marked as such.
Me and my love.
The view vertical was amazing too.
There were so many different plants.
And on the side of the arboretum was this lovely stream.
I had brought my Nikon with me this day, and was so glad I did.
We reluctantly left, knowing we still had a long ways to go.
This was one of the you-must-stop places. You turn off of the highway and then just down the road you see a small building.
I had read about this place: Aunty Sandy's.
You cannot pass this place up. We got a shaved ice.
And banana bread to go.
We walked across the street to a cute beach, eating the snow cone. Which was a good thing because it really started melting.
This beach was so beautiful.
There were some ladies painting right near us, capturing the view. We stood a bit and watched the waves.
On the advice of GyPSy we drove down the road on the peninsula to another area.
This was one of my favorite spots.
The lava rock with the blue and white ocean spray was amazing.
We also saw this little guy, and I had fun taking photos of him with my long lens.
We found a quiet spot to sit and broke open the banana bread. Aunty Sandy's also thought to include lots of napkins and a plastic knife.
After our snack we walked the other direction, to see another amazing view.
I really could have sat here all day.
Behind us was this field with a church, built in 1856, and an accompanying cemetery. The Ke'anae peninsula was totally wiped out in 1946 when a tsunami hit it, killing 24 people. This church was the only remaining building.
So lovely and peaceful.
We turned around and got back on the Hana Highway. We stopped at the next vista point to take this shot, looking back at the peninsula.
Back on the road!
The Upper Waikani Falls was next.
Another nickname for these falls is The Three Bears.
The next place that we stopped was one that was not on the seven-best list, but sounded intriguing so we headed off the highway. We were going down a small road to Nihiku. Our GyPSy shared a fun story with us: George Harrison of the Beatles bought a house here to escape fame. Well one crazy fan found him and totally kept harassing him, way out here.
The drive down took about ten minutes. GyPSy told us exactly where to park, and where to walk. It was about a ten minute walk down to the beach.
Pretty soon after we started walking, there were barriers on the road, right before a bridge. This was on the bridge:
Yeah, watch your step.
When we came around the bend to the ocean we looked to the right and saw a waterfall, spilling right into the ocean.
This was another gorgeous spot.
Looking to the left:
No beach here, just amazing views.
We walked back, and saw this, straight out of Jurassic Park.
We walked back to the car, and then drove back up the road and met up with the main highway.
Right up the road was the Nihiku Marketplace.
There was a place here where you could get lunch, and then a spot where there were things to buy. Kind of like a mini flea market.
We joked that Howard's ship in a bottle could be here - you will only get that line if you are an Andy Griffith fan.
The next stop was by far, my absolute favorite of the entire drive. The Waianapanapa Park. This place was huge, we only explored a fraction of it while we were there.
We headed to the right, and down these steps to the black sand beach.
Yup. Those are black sands.
Up where we were walking they were black rocks, but down in the water, the motion of the waves turned it into course sand.
The view. Breathtaking.
We continued along the beach and up the well worn path.
Further up we could see where we had been.
We could also see the coral arch on the other side. We did not have time to head that way; I am sure there was beauty over there too.
On the path.
Around the corner.
Up at the point we were on, we looked down and saw this:
We had been hiking for a good half hour, and needed to head back. Looking at the black sand beach, and my favorite shot.
On the way back we found the cave, where the famous legend of this area takes place. You duck down through a small cave, and see this.
We were kind of feeling the scrunch of time at this point. If I remember, it was about 3:30 or so, and we technically hadn't hit Hana yet.
Just a few minutes and we finally made it into Hana. Our one goal in Hana was to find the red sand beach. We knew it was near the Hana Bay Beach Park, so we parked our car and walked around the point.
We collect sand, from different destinations that we visit. We got some here in this small spot: we could have gone further to a larger beach but stopped here for two reasons: first, we were stretched for time and second, the larger red sand beach can at times, be a nudist spot.
Back in the car, and down the Hana Highway. We were not at our destination though. We were headed to the Beyond.
On the way we saw Wailua Falls. This was a very short walk from the highway, down this path.
The falls were beautiful!
This would have been a great swimming hole as well.
We headed further down the highway and ended up again in Haleakala National Park. The park stretches from the summit down to this part of the coast. And we were still on the weekend of National parks day, so admission was free.
We stopped here; unfortunately the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe'o were closed indefinitely due to landslides. But we did park and hike up the Pipwai Trail for a while.
At this point My Sweetie had all intentions of trying to get up to the Waimoku Falls, but when we came to a direction arrow that told us it was 4 miles one way, we decided that would be a bit insane.
We settled for getting to the Falls of Makahiku vista point.
Not much to see, but it was still pretty.
We went back to the car and headed back down the highway.
At this point, it was just around 4:30 or so. We really did not want to be on the back road after dark so we flew past Charles Lindbergh's grave and when our GyPSy app said to turn around, we kept going.
So you know, on the way back, the GyPSy app doesn't stop, but every five to ten minutes, gives a really neat history of the Hawaiian Islands. You can access all of the audios manually, so we listened to this later today and tomorrow.
Pretty quickly after that we lost the paved road.
Duh. Heck yeah we were driving slow with caution.
At times we were hugging the ocean.
We were not the only ones out here. A couple of times we came up to someone coming the opposite direction.
So we actually ended up hating the parts that were "paved". Paved does not mean smooth, and there were tons of potholes. In the unpaved sections, at least it was even and easier to drive on.
We turned away from the coast and went inland.
After a bit we came over a rise and saw this: The great Beyond.
The roads were still pretty narrow...
....with lots of bridges.
The road began to improve. And then, low and behold, we had a white line on the side!!
We were still very isolated, and hadn't seen any buildings for at least a half hour. We came out of the forest and truly hit the dry, southern part of Maui.
I looked over to our left, up to Mt. Haleakala .......
saw something amazing, and got out my long lens.
This was the Air Force observatory! We were up there the day before and now, were looking up 10,000 feet to the summit.
There were many hidden gems over here:
A few times we lost pavement, but we survived.
Almost to the highlands, and the sun was just setting.
We came into the headlands, around the southern part of Maui, and saw something breathtaking:
Kaho'olawe and Molokini. In the sunset.
We had survived the road to Hana and Beyond.
We headed north through Kula, and came full circle back to Paia, where we had started. We got back to Paia by about 8:30 so yes, this was a 12 hour, round the island trip.
Dinner tonight was at the Paia Fish Market.
This place was neat. You ordered, and then sat at long tables waiting for your food,
The no-nonsense menu. Simple, yummy fish.
I ordered fish and chips. The fish was very fresh and delicious.
My Sweetie got a fish burger.
The cheese kind of threw us both for a loop. Both of our dishes were good, but just plain good flavoring. Not anything exotic or creative, just good fish.
We drove home, after driving all day, and hit the sack. Happy to be home.
Would I drive the Road to Hana again? In a heartbeat. I would even try to see if we could spend a night in Hana, just so we could explore more places. And I would consider driving the Beyond again. We drove straight through, but there were incredible sites and places where I would have loved to have stopped.
Day 1 ~ Arrival, Geste Shrimp Truck, Leilani's
Day 2 ~ Snorkeling, Mama's Fish House
Day 3 ~ Molikini Crater, Eskimo Candy, Coconut's Fish Cafe
Day 4 ~ Snorkeling, Nakaleke Blowhole, Haleakala, Da Kitchen