Maui, Hawaii’s Valley Island

This is the third part in my series about the different characters of the five Hawaiian islands I visited this time last year. So far I’ve dealt with Kauai and Molokai. This time we move on to Maui.

I wish they had this in my size!

I wish they had this in my size!

Maui is essentially two volcanoes that merged into a single island. The eastern side of the island is formed by the massive Haleakala volcano, which stands a smidge over 10,000 feet tall. Geologists believe the western volcano, today imaginatively known as the West Maui Mountains, used to be over 13,000 feet tall, but time and erosion have inflicted their toll, and the highest remaining peak is now roughly 5100 feet.

Sunset over Lanai from Lahaina, Maui

Sunset over Lanai from Lahaina, Maui

Between the two upland areas is the Central Valley, which I guess is the origin of Maui’s nickname: the Valley Island. This is where much of the population of Maui lives, and also where a lot of its agriculture takes place.

Entering the ‘Iao Valley State Park in the West Maui Mountains is like driving into the crater of an extinct volcano. Although a lot of people might not realise that’s exactly what they’ve just done!

Early morning in the 'Iao Valley

Early morning in the ‘Iao Valley

The Needle, 'Iao Valley State Park

The Needle, ‘Iao Valley State Park

One of the ‘must do’ things to do on Maui is drive the Road to Hana. And who am I to argue? The beautiful, 64-mile-long Hana Highway hugs the coast of the northeast part of the island, where the slopes of Haleakala meet the sea. The entire route is one spectacular view after another, comprised alternately of rock promontories and lush forested valleys. I particularly enjoyed the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park and the Ke’anae Arboretum.

Above Honomanu Bay, along the Road To Hana

Above Honomanu Bay, along the Road To Hana

IMG_7440

Ke'anae Peninsula, on the Road to Hana

Ke’anae Peninsula, on the Road to Hana

Wai'anapanapa State Park

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Unfortunately, with all our other stops, we got to ‘Ohe’o Gulch (part of the Haleakala National Park) too late to have more than a fleeting look around.

'Ohe'o Gulch

‘Ohe’o Gulch

From ‘Ohe’o Gulch, we continued on around the deserted south side of Haleakala, not realising until afterwards that we shouldn’t have taken our hire car that way. Ooops! Despite what some maps still indicate, the road is now paved the whole way. Perhaps the rental companies have yet to catch up with this fact. This is the shame, since this stretch of road offers a landscape unlike any other I saw on Maui.

The south side of Haleakala, with Kaupo Gap in the background

The south side of Haleakala, with Kaupo Gap in the background

Sunset view from the south side of Haleakala

Sunset view from the south side of Haleakala

IMG_7525While all the guidebooks talk about the Road to Hana, which was undoubtedly stunning, we were actually even more impressed by the corresponding coast road around the north side of the West Maui Mountains: the Kahekili Highway. That said, we once again discovered (after the fact) that our rental company didn’t allow their vehicles on the middle part of the Kahekili Highway (double oops!), which I could understand less-confident drivers finding a little hairy.

The secluded village of Kahakuloa, on the Kahekili Highway

The secluded village of Kahakuloa, on the Kahekili Highway

Kahakuloa Head, on the Kahekili Highway

Kahakuloa Head, on the Kahekili Highway

A friend I found along the Kahekili Highway

A friend I found along the Kahekili Highway

Olivine Pools, Kahekili Highway

Olivine Pools, Kahekili Highway

Our excursion out to Molokini Crater provided us with undoubtedly the best snorkeling I’ve ever experienced. I mean, we were snorkeling inside an extinct volcanic vent, for goodness sake… how cool is that?! Even the views back to Maui and Haleakala were incredible. And swimming underwater with the turtles at Turtle Town on the way back was just brilliant!

Molokini Crater from the air, with Kahoolawe in the distance

Molokini Crater from the air, with Kahoolawe in the distance

Approaching Molokini Crater

Approaching Molokini Crater

Haleakala from Molokini

Haleakala from Molokini

Inside Molokini Crater

Inside Molokini Crater

Shark!

Shark!

Wonder why they call it Turtle Town?

Wonder why they call it Turtle Town?

We spent a pleasant couple of hours in the historic centre of Lahaina, where I was particularly impressed by the old Banyan tree and its noisy bird chorus. We were fascinated by the nearby Olowalu Petroglyphs. And the Old Lahaina Luau was the perfect way to spend an evening!

Pagoda at Lahaina Jodo Mission

Pagoda at Lahaina Jodo Mission

Olowalu Petroglyphs, near Lahaina

Olowalu Petroglyphs, near Lahaina

The Old Lahaina Luau

The Old Lahaina Luau

View of the stage from our table, at the Old Lahaina Luau

View of the stage from our table, at the Old Lahaina Luau

Between the Central Valley and the lofty heights of Haleakala is Upcountry Maui, where we visited a couple of fun agricultural locations. The first was Surfing Goat Dairy, where the goats were so cute (especially the babies!) and the cheese was delicious. Then there was the entertaining tour of the Hali’imaile (Maui Gold) Pineapple Plantation. And to taste a pineapple picked and peeled right in front of your eyes (with a machete!) was out of this world!

Lunchtime for the kids at Surfing Goat Dairy

Lunchtime for the kids at Surfing Goat Dairy

IMG_7700

Pineapples don't come any fresher than this!

Pineapples don’t come any fresher than this!

Mmmm... Juicy!

Mmmm… Juicy!

Haleakala across the pineapple fields

Haleakala across the pineapple fields

Yet for me, the highlight (pun intended) was watching the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala. There simply aren’t enough adjectives or superlatives to describe the experience. although I’d probably start with, “Surprisingly bloomin’ cold!”

To begin with, staring up at the stars through the unpolluted atmosphere (relatively speaking) at the top of a 10,000-foot-tall volcano was incredible.

IMG_7542As was seeing the stubble in the sugarcane fields down in the Central Valley burning bright in the night.

IMG_7531But of course, the most spellbinding sight was the sun rising over the moonscape of Haleakala’s crater.

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

IMG_7635IMG_7644

If I had to describe Maui’s character, I’d say it takes the best aspects of all the other Hawaiian islands I visited and combines them in one place. Various parts of Maui reflect the green lushness of Kauai, the isolated solitude of Molokai, the metropolitan areas of O’ahu and the stark volcanic landscape of the Big Island. I loved it!

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

While you’re dreaming of Maui’s Pacific perfection, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Jaspa's Journey Logo (Bigger Bucket)

Advertisements

About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Environment, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, USA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Maui, Hawaii’s Valley Island

  1. Amy says:

    Beautiful photos of the fantastic island!

  2. jpeggytaylor says:

    Maui is amazing! What an incredibly beautiful place! I loved all of the images, but especially the banyan tree (what a fabulous tree!) and the sun rising over the volcanic crater – just wonderful 🙂

I'd love to hear what you've got to say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s