Our Decision to Experience Road to HanaOur journey for our Road to Hana was ahead of us. We chose to drive ourselves, but there are many different tour options as well (for those not comfortable driving). There are so many travelers who advise not to take young children (our aged 2 & 4) along on this journey, as it’s an exhausting day across 59 miles, 620 curves & 59 one-lane bridges. Some adults can’t even handle this trip! We then figured we traveled 9 hours from Chicago with them, so at this point we were going to attempt to tackle this once in a lifetime journey.
Start of Our JourneyThe morning came early, but we decided to make it through to Hana. The car was packed with plenty of water, snack and car toys for the girls and were on the road by 6:30a. Although we wanted an earlier start, we were happy to be moving. Our path took us through central Maui before starting off on the Hana Highway. Let’s go! As a tip, we highly recommend using an audio guide along the trip to Hana. The narrator that we recommend is GyPSy Guide Road to Hana. It’s an amazing guide and the prompts aligned perfectly with our location as we drove along. It doesn’t require cell service or internet after you download the tool, which is important as you will not have service in certain areas along this long trip. We also followed the 7th edition of Maui Revealed and also some recommendations from others as well. Hana was in our future and we were ready to go. Our trip meter was reset to zero (as prompted on our audio guide at the proper position on the journey)!
On the Road to HanaWe started the trek with a beautiful rainbow over the highway. The scenery to begin our trip was absolutely stunning. I snapped a few pictures and the girls (and adults) were amazed by the rainbow. The picture doesn’t do justice for the depth of colors that were presented in this rainbow.
We kept moving after seeing the rainbow. At the advice from our guide book & audio narrator, we passed by the Twin Falls (which is the first opportunity to visit a waterfall on the journey) when it was still a little cool and misty and continued on down the road. Our stop was about a half mile past mile marker 10. All the markers are labeled on the way out to Hana, so pay attention to where you are on the road.
First Waterfall – Haipua’ena FallWe parked the car in a tiny pullout and carried the girls down a steep and rocky hill through the lush rainforest to our first waterfall of the day – Haipua’ena Falls. It was a decent waterfall and very tranquil. We were the only people there for the first few minutes. We put our feet in the cool water and enjoyed the view before a few other showed up.
; Our next stop was a quick look out over Kaumahina State Wayside, mainly for a bathroom break. The view is supposed to absolutely impressive if there isn’t any cloud cover. Unfortunately we were experiencing a little bit of rain and clouds, so we moved on quickly from this area. Still a stunning view.
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Keanae AroboretumWe almost missed our next planned stop, but fortunately we found the path to the Keanae Aroboretum. The paved paths wound around following a stream and passed by the most surreal Euclyptus trees. The trees were multicolored as if painted by an artist. A real highlight of our day. Maui pineapple. This is a must stop for both of those items! Extremely fresh and addictive! We continued on towards Ching’s Pond just before mile marker 17. The area was just below a bridge with a small waterfall. We were already hungry again, so our next stop was another banana bread stop at Halfway to Hana, also warm and tasty. Maybe even a little better than our first stop at Aunt Sallys.
Wailua Valley State Wayside ParkAfter stopping here, we continued our journey to the Wailua Valley State Wayside Park. There is a nice lookout here. We took turns climbing the stairs for a quick look and got out of there as traffic was starting to build. The parking lot is small and it’s right by a tight curve, so be careful in this area!
Upper Waikani FallsOur next stop was to the Upper Waikani Falls or Three Bears Falls. We had an easy view from the bridge but scaled a steep ledge to get a closer look and it was definitely worth it. Our biggest kid (Ari – 4 years old) fell asleep on my back as we hiked past the soothing waterfalls. We boulder hopped to get closer and stayed to enjoy the views. This was definitely a highlight on the journey, as the area is stunning and the falls are simply amazing to visualize. We would have taken a nice dip in the pools below if we didn’t have the kids strapped on our backs (but we at least dipped our feet).
As we left that area, our next stop was just past mile marker 25, we quickly stopped to take a video of the Makapipi Falls plunging straight down to the pools below. This was a different angle from other waterfalls, as we were literally on top of the waterfall with a view looking down. Very cool (see video above).