Tourist-free Hawaii

Tourist-free Hawaii
By admin


SEE HALEAKALA AT SUNSET

Hawaii is not the kind of place where you want to be getting out of bed at the crack of the dawn – however many visitors to Maui do exactly that in order to experience Haleakala Crater at one of its best viewing times – sunrise. That takes place around 7am, but the time spent in the tour operator's coach or minibus – driving to Haleakala from your accommodation and then driving up to the summit, means that pick-up is often as early as 4am.

Finding a nice quiet spot is difficult when you're among hundreds of other tourists, and there's no guarantee of decent visibility because if the weather is bad, the views are fairly non-existent. Plus, it's very chilly at the top.

The lesser known alternative is to visit Haleakala at sunset instead. It's said that more colours fill the crater at sunset than sunrise and you'll also get to enjoy the starry skies in all their expansive glory. The summit is much lesser frequented by tourists at this time and you'll be warmer too.

STAY OVERNIGHT IN HANA

With its exhilarating twists and turns set against a stunning backdrop of rainforests, waterfalls and coastal panoramas, the Road to Hana is one of the major highlights of a visit to Maui. Most tourists do it as a round trip in the one day. However, there's a lot to see and do in the town of Hana, so breaking up the trip with an overnight stay makes complete sense. It's the kind of place that feels like a step back in time and the town itself hasn't changed much in the last 100 years.

One of the town's attractions – the historic St Sophia's Church – greets visitors upon their arrival in Hana, where the pastures roll right up to the main street. They can also visit Hale Piilani, the Aloha State's largest Hawaiian temple, located in Kanahu Gardens. Visitors should also enjoy a swim at Hamoa Beach or do a spot of snorkelling at Waianapanapa State Park, a beautiful black sand beach.

Beyond Hana, visitors can venture just south to the outskirts of Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu, home to the Pools of Oheo, where waterfalls spill into tiered pools leading to the sea. View these tranquil natural pools or hike up the Pipiwai Trail to the 130 metre Waimoku Falls.

There are plenty of accommodation options in Hana, such as the historic Travaasa Hana – a luxurious retreat rooted in Hawaiian tradition – as well as the luxurious Hotel Hana-Maui and Honua Spa.

VISIT MOLOKAI OR LANAI

Oahu, Hawaii's Big Island and Maui get the most attention from travellers, followed by Kauai, but the islands of Molokai and Lanai can sometimes be overlooked.

Molokai is a tranquil island that is made for outdoor adventure. Kaunakakai, the island's main town, located on its southern coast, is the best place to start. A highlight here is Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park, which was planted in the 1860s. Elsewhere on Molokai, visitors can check out ancient fishponds along its south coast or visit Papohaku Beach on the west coast. Molokai's most famous attraction is the isolated Kalaupapa National Historical Park – you can either hike or take a mule ride to this scenic settlement.

The peaceful and intimate island of Lanai, meanwhile, has plenty of activities to try. However, on this island it's about doing things at a relaxed pace. The first place to visit is Hulopoe Bay on the south coast, offering great snorkelling, sunbathing and tidal pools to explore. Take a short hike from the beach to find the Lanai landmark Puu Pehe, then head up north to Lanai City for a spot of shopping and dining. Spectacular golf courses are another highlight of a visit to Lanai.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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