Is it the journey or the destination that is key to happiness and adventure? On Maui, the Road to Hana is the journey and the destination. It is an adventure all unto itself. 50 Miles along the North coast of Maui from Kahului to Hana that should take about an hour to drive. In reality with all the twists and turns, the single lane roads and bridges and the dozens of lookout points along the way it can take almost three hours. I suggest you make a day of it, take your time and enjoy the journey that is also a destination and an adventure.
I’m spending a few days in Hana so once the rental Jeep is all packed up it is time to say goodbye to Kahului. The first part of the road is pretty straightforward and easy. We drive through Paia and past Hookipa Beach where there are dozens of surfers out enjoying the waves.
Once we’ve passed this stretch is where the road gets interesting. It narrows from a highway to a single lane in each direction that follows the coastline. In many places, two lanes become one. I was driving all of this time so I wasn’t able to snap any photos but my good friend John Biehler was in the car with me and filled a lot of it. Some of the footage in this video is from other parts of Maui but most of it is from the Road to Hana, including all the waterfalls we stopped at. Check out 2:38 for us driving on the road.
Speaking of waterfalls, there are lots of them along the route. I should have counted but I know that there are at least a few where you can stop and go swimming in the ponds created under them. The busiest has to be Twin Falls. Best to get here early if you want to avoid the crowds. We had to park about 300 metres up the road it was so busy when we arrived.
The falls are on private property, but there is public access as long as you respect the landowners and don’t venture off the trail. It’s about a 1-mile hike in, but it is flat and very easy to traverse. At the end is a massive pond that a powerful Waterfall empties into. Filled with people and even a few jumpers from the waterfall above. It was fun! Check out the footage at 6:40 for video of the Twin Falls waterfall.
There are lots of other great waterfalls to discover as well. Some you can swim in and swim you can just look at. My advice is to take your time and when you see the opportunity to stop at a pull-out, take it. There is usually something around the corner worth seeing.
The other reason to stop on the Road to Hana is for Banana Bread. I know that sounds crazy but for every waterfall we passed on the journey I saw at least one Banana Bread stand. At $5 to $6 a piece it can add up if you want to stop and try them all. My favourite was the stop at Halfway To Hana. According to them, they are the first and the best for 35 years. I can’t verify their claims except to say it was my favourite Banana Bread.
The closer you get to Hana, the more Banana Bread stands you will come across. That is the clue you are nearing your final destination on this adventure. Honourable mention for Banana Bread goes to Hana Farms, which is just a short 5-minute drive outside of Hana. On the weekends, they also serve up wood oven fired pizzas that I hear are amazing.
Name another road that offers so much excitement. Waterfalls, scenery, swimming, Banana Bread and the list goes on. You can’t help but experience at least one of these on your journey. We did them all and since we couldn’t drive faster than 15 miles an hour at most spots it was very leisurely, at least for my passenger. I may have had a pretty tight grip on the steering wheel for part of the way.
You have to do the Road To Hana at least once in your lifetime. If you visit Maui and you don’t experience it, you are missing out.