The Road To Hana
Tips for the tourist: The Road to Hana, an incredible 52-mile highway along 617 curves and 56 bridges through the breathtaking scenery of Maui.
While on the Island of Maui in Hawaii, it would be a definite "miss" to skip the Road to Hana. This 52-mile highway takes the tourist along 617 curves and 56 one-lane bridges through breathtaking the scenery of Maui on the way to "Heavenly Hana".
The challenge is getting there. The Hana Road meanders along Maui's coastline, hugging cliffs and plunging into lush valleys. There are streams and waterfalls tumbling into gorgeous blue pools of water. The journey itself is like passing through a beautiful botanical garden. At every turn the tourist can see bamboo groves, koa and kukui nut trees, banana patches, and cluster of gorgeous, lush, colorful flowers unlike anywhere else in the world.
Driving time is about three hours each way, depending on how many stops are made along the way. It is advised that the tourist gets an early start.
While on the road to Hana, there are some definite do's and do not's the tourist must remember:
--Fill up your tank with gasoline in Kahului or Pa'ia as there are no service stations until you reach Hana.
--Take food and drink. There might be an occasional fruit stand along the way, but that is all.
--Take a raincoat and plastic bags for camera equipment if you plan on exploring. This is a rain forest and that means occasional, unexpected rain.
--Make sure you stop to see the black sand beach at Wainapanapa Beach.
--Gas up again once you reach Hana.
--Watch your children as the ground is generally muddy and the rocks are slippery. The steep cliffs are extremely dangerous.
--Don't drink water from streams or water flows from pig-infested forests or cow pastures.
--Don't DIVE into pools.
--Don't swim in the ocean at Kipahulu.
--Don't walk too far from the road unless trails are established. (Much of the land is privately owned.)
--Don't rush. The road is poor, narrow, and winding (especially on the road from Hana to Kipahulu.)
--Consider purchasing a guide tape for your automobile or a guide book before leaving. It helps determine where you are and what to look for.
--Don't let children play on rock walls. Most are ancient and have special meaning to the Hawaiian people.
--Don't drive rental cars beyond Kipahulu unless they have 4-wheel drive and you are experienced handling that type of vehicle. (Some believe this piece of advice is the best and car rental agencies won't insure problems on this long, sometimes unpaved, stretch, however, it has been done by many and the southern stretch of road along Maui shadows the rest once this road has been attempted. It depends on how adventurous and experience the tourist is.)
--Be sure not to miss seeing the grave of Charles A. Lindbergh at Palapala Ho'omanau Congregational Church in Kipahulu.
In recent years, there has been repair work done on the Hana Highway where the road was closed for hours at a time which forced tourists to turn back. Check before you leave that this is not the case.