Hana is a town on the East coast of Maui. I'm sure Hana is worth visiting in its own right, but the big excitement is the Road to Hana and the sights along the road. There's really no excuse for NOT having a convertible on scenic routes such as this. We ended up with a Ford Mustang. It's no Elly (my baby, my VW Eos), but it worked! I don't know the history of the road, but it is old and treacherous with 54 one-lane bridges. In the past one-lane bridges might have made me somewhat nervous, but not after driving in New Zealand! In NZ, one lane literally means one lane and add in driving on the 'wrong' side of the road....the Road to Hana was nothing!
If you read travel websites, there's a lot of discussion about whether it is "worth it" to drive the road to Hana if you only have 1 day to do it in. In fact, I was questioning whether we should do it. I work hard to make sure we have enough down time on our trips (although my husband doesn't think I always succeed), so I worried that the Road to Hana would be too much in too short a period of time. But I'm glad we did it. It was great. As long as you remember that your goal is to have fun and not to do and see EVERYTHING, it's all good!
I'm sure there are million great stops along the road. Here are the ones we enjoyed:
Adam in the bamboo forest of the Waikamoi Nature Trail. A nice 30 minute hike at the south end of the road (so beginning of journey).
Ke'anae. A tiny town of 30 people on a beautiful peninsula. This was the first taste of the blue, blue water and the crashing waves w/ palm trees in front. It got me really excited for the rest of the trip. If you go, you should stop at the Ke'anae Peninsula (not just the 'lookout') for sure!
Our next detour was completely unplanned. We were looking for the Wailua Penninsula lookout and ended up on a one lane road leading to the village of Nahiku. We decided to just go for it and drove down the one lane road to goodness knows where. And we were rewarded with this:
I'd recommend the detour for sure!
After this we stopped for lunch at Up In Smoke and I had kalua pig tacos. Yummy! There are no big towns b/t Pa'ia and Hana, just a few villages w/ small roadside restaurants. Nice and quiet.
Our final stop ended up being my favorite place on the whole trip: Wai'anapanapa State Park. This place was wild. So diverse, from dramatic crashing waves and blowholes through lava rocks:
To crazy trees. I'm still not sure if it was all one tree or a tangle of trees. It was cool though.