a VirtualTourist member from Australia
I have noticed during my research that Hana seems to be a must visit spot. Research also tells me it is a big day. Is too much for one day? And a very important consideration for me are there guard rails along the side of the road on the steep parts. I ask because on a trip to Yosemite a couple of years ago there wasn't and the drop was spectacular! Very unnerving! Ha ha especially when you drive on the wrong side of the road!!
We are spending 6 nights on Maui and 5 in Honolulu. That uses up my 2 weeks school vacation time to the full. I am sure we will want to return. :)
Aloha, It is the road to Hana that is the real tourist draw. Make sure you have a full tank of gasoline in the car for the round trip. One of the most tropical scenic drives you will take. It all starts in the town of Paia and can end at the 'O'heo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). It is a return the same way for the safest way back by rental car. One full day, leaving in the morning and you can have a leisurely drive on the Hana Highway. See: [original VT link]
Time to do everything from breakfast to a lunch in Hana, a dip in the ocean or by a waterfall and return in time to have a great Hawaiian dinner at Mama's Fish House back in Paia. See: [original VT link]
We've always done it in a day. Just don't start too late. The road is narrow, but very well traveled. Not a lot of sheer dropoffs, or anything like that. There used to be a service station that rented audio tapes for the drive - a self-guided tour, so to speak. If they still offer these, you'll see them advertised.
We always stopped in Paia and got a picnic lunch. And make sure to continue on to the Seven Sacred Pools-I think it's the highlight of the trip. That's always where we had our picnic. Enjoy the trip!!
I can't comment on that it is a worth while "thing to do" because I have not experienced this. However, on our visit to Maui we experienced so many other things that I did not miss the road to Hana. My favorite part of experiencing the Hawaiian Islands is the snorkeling. The warm water is inviting and the fish, turtles and underwater landscape is amazing! We also had a bike ride that was a blast! You can see pics and tips on my Maui travel page. Enjoy your trip!
[original VT link]
Thanks. I really like the idea of the beautiful country side as you travel to Hana. Also the waterfalls and the pools. But our main aim is to swim, relax, eat, walk, explore and snorkel in no particular order.
I really need to know if there are guard rails on the steepest parts! Ha Ha
Many people on trip adviser recommend that you don't drive yourself but join a 12 seater bus tour so that you can both enjoy the scenery. I am not against bus tours as they can be a great way to see a lot when you cant drive yourself. But I am not really a fan of listening all day to someone regardless of how interesting they are. A little quiet goes a long way! I presume there are good maps and you really cant get lost? And that there are plenty of places to stop?
Aloha. Get a map from the rental car company. they may even be GPS equipped. On the Road to Hana there are many turn-outs to park and walk into the interior to see the waterfalls and even take a dip, if you like. Be careful and at the O'heo Gulch the ocean is down at the base of the falls and the sand is nice. You can swim and picnic on the cliff overlooking the base falls. It is a hike up the mountain to see all the pools, but if you are up for it then it is a great adventure. Don't miss this drive. Start out early and enjoy the entire day. There is even the birthplace of a Queen near Hana on the ocean side. A little bit of a hike to see it, but if you do, walk past the cave and to the other side of the hill to see the most spectacular ocean wave bay on Maui. Not many see this. Check out this very informative website for the Road to Hana sights not to miss. Relax and enjoy. No one should miss the Road to Hana. To go to Maui and not drive the road, stopping when you want to (if you can and be careful of traffic) see something off the road that many miss is like having a banana split without the banana. See Road to Hana website: http://roadtohana.com/sights.php
I do not think you should be worried about driving the road, it is very well kept and I find it very secure. I do not find it stressful and I am afraid of heights (in a big way.), I obviously wouldn't suggest thinking about going the way around / the off-road (the way around - which you aren't supposed to do anyway), there you will find some more damaged roads and steeper spots.
In my opinion, the drive can be a little exhausting for the driver, you do not really go at a fast pace, there are many many curves, you go up and down, you gotta concentrate on driving instead of looking everywhere at the beauty of the nature, etc. I think that is why people tend to say to take a bus tour, but I would personally hands down drive it and have a bigger 'liberty'.
I'd suggest, and maybe some people can agree or disagree with this, to drive all the way threw to O'heo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), without stopping, in the morning.
Over there, you will find the highlight of my Maui experiences, the Pīpīwai trail, which is 4 miles round-trip, is simply an amazing hike. It is a very easy one, and without spoiling anything, it is incredible for the start to the end (ends at a 400ft waterfall). In my book, this easy and fun hike is a complete Maui-must.
Then you can picnic after the hike and hit the Road to Hana upside down, without having to follow all the traffic. You will have seen a 400ft waterfall, so you might stop a little less often on the way back for less impressive waterfalls (which you will mostlikely stop each time if you do your stops in the morning), so you save a little time there.
Anyway, there is a billion of nice things to see on the Road to Hana, just keep in mind this last one, you will not be disapointed, and don't worry about driving it !
Thank you for the information. I was a actually thinking of driving straight to the pools as most people stop on the way. That way we can do the hike which really appeals and can look at the other sites on the way back with maybe less people. I think we would definitely enjoy doing it on our own at our own pace.