An amazing drive along the south-west coast of Eastern Maui (rancher land) provided some stunning coastal views
[Kyle]Never mind how we got to Hana. We just somehow got to the end of the road at the other part of Haleakala National Park. We were even there before the wall of tourists showed up.
The hike up the hill takes us past various waterfalls and a bamboo forest before reaching the largest of the falls
We started on the popular 'Road to Hana' from the wrong end, with the Papawai trail up to Waimoku Falls (in the lower part of the Haleakala National Park). The two-mile trail took us through a really cool bamboo forest up to the 400+ foot falls. My favorite part was the noise the forest makes as the wind blows through the bamboo. The stalks make a hollow clacking as they bang together.
And a short loop at the foot of the park diverts to freshwater pools (popular for swimming), more waterfalls, and a beautiful coastline
We then went through Hana against the tourist flow and then followed the road back to Kahului. This part of Hawai’i is impossibly beautiful. Our poor car never made it more than a mile before we were pulling out at a scenic viewpoint or a giant waterfall. The road takes all day.
Every new turn along the road provides a new stunning view and a reason to stop and explore a little, luckily we were in no rush
Scenes from Ke'anae
My favorite stops were the perfect little village of Ke’anae, with its frightening but beautiful beach of a’a lava being pounded by booming waves, and the Ke’anae Arboretum. The open air arboretum was hidden from the road on a path that required a few minute walk into the valley. There were lots of tropical trees from all over the world. My new favorite tree (behind the Giant Sequoia, of course) is the Australian Painted Gum. Gums are massive deciduous trees that are nearly equal in mass to the big Sequoias, but have much larger leaf canopies, making them cast an even larger shadow. We were privileged to see some of these on our trip to Australia in 2009, but we had not seen the Painted Gum, with its gorgeous rainbow-colored bark that looks like it belongs in the background of Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream”.
The beautiful painted gum (an Australian eucalyptus) amazed us both