The series of Married in Maui continues with tips to find the hidden gems of Maui.
Like a gem this trip is full of surprises, take-your-breath-away moments and once in a lifetime experiences. During this journey you will see waterfalls, black beaches, red beaches, lava rock pools, caves and coasts. The different aromas will fill your senses and the views will take your breath away. The locals call this "the road to hana".
The journey starts at mile marker 2 on the Hana Highway with the Twin Falls. Once you see the fruit stand on the side of the road (and all of the other cars) you have arrived. Following the gravel path you will experience a number of streams, mini waterfalls and at the end of the path you will arrive at the beautiful twin falls.
Attire for this experience: water shoes, swimsuit or athletic wear. You cross a number of streams so shoes that are not water-resistant are not recommended.
Have your camera ready as you continue down the road to Hana you will pass mile marker 6.7. As you do, look to the east at the painted Eucalyptus trees. You will see the most beautiful colored bark on these trees. The natural art of nature is worth a stop and picture.
If you miss mile 6.7 you will have the opportunity to see these beautiful trees again as you make your way towards the Garden of Eden Arboretum (mile 10.5) so keep the look out for them.
At mile 9.6 (or so) there is a bamboo and fern walking trail called the Waikamoi Ridge Trail. This trail provides an intimate experience in the rain forest with the bamboo trees and ferns. Note: this train I consider advance. There are many wet, slippery areas so proceed with caution and proper hiking shoes.
The drive between mile 12 and 17 offer an amazing view of the Hana coastline.
At mile 16.9 if you take the road leading to the left down to Keanae Village it will lead you to the coast where you can enjoy powerful waves crashing into lava rock. This area was nearly wiped out by a tsunami in 1946 - the only surviving building is the stone missionary church you can still see.
Mile 17 - 20 offer lookout points to stop enjoy, have lunch, and take a picture.
As you continue your journey you will drive past mile 19.5 in which you will see the Upper Waikani Falls. Also known as the Three Bears Falls.
Mile 22.6 the Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park there is another, smaller, waterfall to enjoy. On a hot day jump in a cool off in the pool at the bottom (if you are able to make the small hike sto the falls).
Just past mile 25 you can turn left off on Nahiku Road. Go down this road (when the road “T's” go to the left, past the church). Here you will experience a small waterfall flowing into the ocean (this is hidden however you can hear it from the parking lot so follow your senses and be prepared for the little hike down to the falls, cave and pool).
Mile 32 will take you to the black beaches! Wainapanapa State Park (follow the signs to the park even though it says for camping).
The waves here can be aggressive. It is an amazing experience. Enjoy this and then plan to walk around the park. It is beautiful.
At mile 34 you will see another set of waterfalls, Pua'a Lu'u Falls.
As you pass through Hana you will run into mile 51.7 (the mile markers start to count down after Hana). Turn left onto Koki Beach Road. It is a loop road. The first beach you will see is offers read and black sand. The next beach is worth the stop to experience. The sand is so soft: the softest in the World that I have walked on. It is like baby powder. Ah! Amazing.
Time for another waterfall. Mile 45 offers a 200 foot drop waterfall you can see from the road.
By this time you are ready for your last and final stop at the Haleakala National Park ($10 per car). Here you can experience 400 feet tall waterfalls, 2000 feet waterfalls and beautiful surroundings. You will also get to experience the Seven Sacred Pools to jump in and enjoy. Ah! This was one of my favorite stops.
There is so much more for this journey to offer. The Road to Hana has so many beautiful spots for a couple in love to take in and enjoy.
Advice: bring a towel, extra clothes, water shoes, hiking shoes, camera and cash. Most of the journey is "free"; cash is only needed for the local fruit/flower stands and shops. Lastly, take your time and enjoy the beauty of Maui at the "aloha" pace.