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Magnificent Maui - Our Top Three Essentials

By:
Ben Hall
 

“Stand up! Stand up! That’s it, woo-hoo!” The surf instructor successfully gets another visitor to his feet, while nearby his partner scrambles to her feet to photograph the momentous occasion. It’s smiles and whooping all round, and it’s hard to know who’s the most “stoked” of them all. There’s no doubting Maui is a surfing haven, but there’s more to this island than its endless aquatic pleasures. Maui is the second-most-visited island in Hawaii with around 2.5 million visitors each year, and it’s the second-largest landmass in the Hawaiian island chain. It’s also been dubbed the "Playground of the Wealthy," catering to travellers looking for more expensive accommodations, and who wish to avoid the crowds of Oahu. Maui is blessed with an abundance of beaches, especially along the West Coast, while the eastern sides of the island are a lush and green paradise with waterfalls dotting numerous valleys. Here’s our top three key essentials for anyone who’s planning a visit. 

Where To Stay 

Spend any time in Maui and you will quickly see why it was voted “The Best Island in the World” for 12 years straight in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards Poll. Tom Selleck (Magnum PI) has a large estate on the road up to Haleakala, and other celebrities call the island paradise home include Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, actors Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson, and the former talk show queen and entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey. When it comes to resorts, Maui has it’s fair share of choice. Our top picks include the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, which overlooks the golden crescent of Wailea Beach and features an adults-only infinity pool, the Montage Kapalua Bay, which is set along the picturesque waters of Namalu Bay on 24 acres of tropical paradise, and the Ho'olei at Grand Wailea, a breezy retreat on Maui’s southern shore which blends residence living and resort amenities for the ultimate ‘home away from home.’

Haleakala National Park

You can surf, snorkel, scuba dive, swim, windsurf, parasail, go deep sea fishing, hike, and horse ride much of Maui’s 180km coastline and 50km of beautiful beaches, but towering regally over the island is one of the Pacific’s most stunning natural wonders - Haleakala. It’s the world’s largest dormant volcano at 3,000 metres, boasting a massive crater that stretches 12 by four kilometres. Visitors to Haleakala National Park are warned to rug up for the ascent to the volcano, but many refuse to believe there are parts of the Hawaiian Islands that can drop below freezing. Forget sarongs and frangipanis, this place is all about skivvies and fog. And it’s just one of the islands’ many surprises. The summit of this active volcano (it last erupted around 1790) possesses an other-world atmosphere with deeply sculpted mountain ridges carpeted in rich colour which literally changes hue in the varying light. From brown to orange to red, the cinder desert landscape puts on an evocative show, and it’s a stunning contrast to the tropical postcard-version of Hawaii which can be seen from the summit. 

The Hana Highway

Rent a car, and make sure you allow time to enjoy this spectacular scenic highway - it’s one of Maui’s must-dos. The Road to Hana is famous for its stunning coastal beauty, as well as a diverse lineup of parks and gorgeous waterfalls. It’s undeveloped Hawaii at its best, from its towering verdant cliffs and lush valleys bursting with waterfalls, while the road curves and hugs the coastline offering unmatched views across black, red, and white sand beaches, and out over the Pacific Ocean. Although you can drive the Hana Highway in a day, it’s recommended that you take at least two days and spend one night in Hana, as this means you can enjoy the highway at a much slower pace - the way it was meant to be experienced - and see more of its many attractions. On a two day trip you can spend the first day visiting the sights between Paia and Hana, and the next visiting everything between Hana and Kipahulu. And from there you can return along the Hana Highway. 

Five Other Maui Experiences For Your List

Go snorkeling at Maluʻaka in Makena and Turtle Beach, where the underwater scenery is spectacular.

Visit Old Lahaina Luau, Maui’s most authentic luau, where Hawaiian history, culture and culinary delights are the focus.

Dive Molokini Crater, which sits about six kilometres from the South Maui coast, and has shallow waters packed with coral and and more than 250 species of fish. 

Visit Big Beach Makena State Park, an idyllic Hawaiian beach with gleaming sand, and sparkling blue water. It’s wild, vast and in a completely natural state.

Go whale watching if you visit in winter, as thousands of humpback whales descend on Maui’s western coast to court, mate, calve and breach.

 

Maui Nui - Maui, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i 01:34

Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is dotted with quaint towns, artist communities and local favorites that have been around for generations. Head to Wailuku for pastries from a “mom and pop” bakery, or head to Lahaina for a taste of Maui’s famed farm to table cuisine. From shimmering beaches and sacred Iao Valley to migrating humpback whales and sunset on Haleakala, it’s not surprising Maui was voted the “Best Island” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for more than twenty years. http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/ Lana‘i is an island of intriguing contrasts. Hike the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) or picnic overlooking Pu‘u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), named for a maiden Pu‘u and her handsome warrior. Two Four Season Resorts pamper you — one along the seaside, the other in the misty mountains — while Hotel Lana‘i in Lana‘i City welcomes you with old plantation charm. Whether you’re hiking among native ohia lehua trees on the Munro Trail or making your way to the 18th hole, Lana‘i is easily Hawai‘i’s “Most Enticing Island.” http://www.gohawaii.com/lanai/ “Hawaiian by nature,“ the island of Moloka‘i remains true to its island roots. There are no traffic lights — just aloha — in the harbor town of Kaunakakai, where fisherman haul in their daily catch and farmers showcase fresh-picked produce from neighboring fields. Quiet your spirit and you’ll feel the mana (power) that protects the island, from an area near Maunaloa said to be the birthplace of hula to the indescribable beauty of Halawa Valley. Or, descend 1,700 feet on a surefooted mule to the remote settlement of Kalaupapa and change your perspective forever. http://www.gohawaii.com/molokai/

  • Maui Nui - Maui, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i
    Maui Nui - Mau...
    Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is dotted with quaint towns, ...

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  1. Posted by on 11th Mar 2019 Verified Customer

    LOVE Maui 5 Star Review

    I've been to Hawaii several times too as my husband surfs and we love Maui the best. In fact, we renewed our wedding vows there last trip! I think it's way less touristy than Honolulu, also way less busy and Hana Highway has to be done......it's brilliant!

  2. Posted by on 11th Mar 2019 Verified Customer

    Love Hawaii 4 Star Review

    We've been to Hawaii a couple of times and one time we split our time between Ohau and Maui.....we preferred Oahu. I think Maui is quite touristy but in a different way from the other islands. My favourite is the Big Island of Hawaii becuase we love to hike and do adventure stuff. Right now though it's pretty expensive with the exchange rate.

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