Maui’s four must-drive regions

The sunrise in the Haleakala Crater in Haleakala National Park , Maui, Hawaii. A volcanic crater on the peak of the Haleakala Volcano on top of the island of Maui. Over 10,000 above sea level, an incredible view from the crater at sunrise. A popular tourist destination all day, especially at sunrise and sunset. Photographed in horizontal format.

As Hawaii’s second-largest island, Maui has everything from beautiful beaches and waterfall-rich rainforests, to rugged mountains and deep valleys, with wide stretches of land in between.

It makes for some of the most spectacular road trips, and here are four regions that are well worth exploring on four wheels:

Road to Hana

This 104-kilometre highway to and from the town of Hana is recognised as not only the premier road trip in Hawaii, but one of the top drives in the US.

Located on the far north-east side of Maui, the drive is a rollercoaster of twists and turns (620 curves and 59 bridges, to be exact), offering stunning views of the coastline and the island’s wild jungle.

The Road to Hana offers plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the beautiful sights along the way. For those needing to fill up the petrol tank and grab some refreshments before really getting on their way, Paia is the perfect pitstop.

Maui’s windsurfing hotspot, Hookipa Beach Park, is worth checking out before heading east on the scenic Hana Highway.

There will also be opportunities along the drive to hike in nature, swim under waterfalls, peer into an ancient lava cave, and sample the island’s fresh fruits and locally made sugar cane juice.

While a trip to Hana and back in a day is achievable, it’s much more worth spending at least one night in the town to fully capture its serenity.

Road to Hana

 

Haleakala

At 3055 metres tall, Mount Haleakala is a huge dormant shield volcano that makes up three-quarters of Maui’s landmass, and is the highest peak on the island and also the second-tallest mountain in Hawaii.

Mount Haleakala sits within Haleakala National Park, which is unique for its dark valleys, lava fields and silversword plants, and over one million visitors are attracted to its summit each year.

Travellers with a set of wheels can poke along the winding road to the mountain summit and take in a gorgeous sunrise or sunset over the crater wall.

It must be noted though that reservations are required for the sunrise viewing, and some visitors may have start making their way there from 3am, as the drive can take anywhere from one-and-a-half to three hours to reach the top. However, it’s totally worth it.

Travellers are also advised to dress warmly for the sunrise/sunset viewing, as this region is known for getting quite cold (it sometimes even snows).

Mount Haleakala

 

Kahului to West Maui

Home to Maui’s major airport and cruise port, Kahului is where most visitors begin their vacation. The drive from Kahului out to the West coast, where you’ll find Lahaina and the popular resort areas of Kaanapali Beach, Napili Bay and Kapalua, is also one of Maui’s most scenic driving adventures.

Travellers can take in gorgeous green hills in almost every direction along Kuihelani Highway towards Maalaea Harbor, before stopping at Maui Ocean Center to get acquainted with Hawaii’s unique marine environment.

There’s a chance that visitors may even see Humpback wales beaching offshore between December and May as they continue their drive on Honoapiilani Highway past the neighbour island of Lanai.

It’s also worth paying a visit to the bustling town of Lahaina, which offers a variety of restaurants, boutique shops and art galleries.

If more beautiful white sand and excellent snorkelling are what your clients are after, advise them to head north to Kaanapali Beach to soak up everything this resort area has to offer.

And what would a drive be without a stunning sunset? As the end of the day nears, visitors can jump back in the car and drive to The Point at Merriman’s Kapalua to bask in the early evening glow.

Maui Ocean Center

 

Upcountry Maui

Nestled nestled on the backslopes of Haleakala is Upcountry Maui, which is growing in popularity thanks to its fantastic farms, ranches, restaurants, and vineyard. Discovering this region is a great way for holidaymakers with a car to spend a day.

Upcountry Maui offers a plethora of local food and beverages for visitors to try along the way, from locally-grown coffee at the Maui Tropical Plantation and Hawaii farm-sourced cuisine at The Mill House, to chevre (goat cheese) platters at Surfing Goat Dairy, lavender-infused scones and hot tea at Alii Kula Lavender and freshly-picked strawberries at Kula Country Farm.

Travellers riding in the passenger seats also have the opportunity to taste-test pineapple wine at MauiWine and organic vodka at Hawaii Sea Spirits, all while enjoying sweeping views over Maui.

Upcountry Maui

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