We woke up super early on the morning we were due to fly to Maui and managed to catch the sunrise and a beautiful hazy view of Mauna Kea before the cloud descended. We were both sad to leave the Big Island but at the same time we were excited to see what Maui had to offer!
As we landed in Maui we instantly knew we were back into civilisation - the roads were busier, people were bustling around and the whole island is just so much more built up than the Big Island. We checked into our hotel, which was okay - comfortable but nothing amazing - and then decided to have a bit of an explore and a lazy afternoon. We checked out the nearby restaurants, sizing up where to go for dinner and the shopping centre which although it was under construction it had pretty much everything you could need. The hotel we stayed at was right next to the beach, which was the perfect location.
We went adventuring in the hire car and took a drive to the north of the resort which was a beautiful place called Honokahua Bay which is a place of true natural beauty and a popular place for snorkelling!
On our way back I was craving coffee (nothing new there!) so we pulled into a place that Americans call a 'strip mall' which is basically lots of shops along the side of the road and discovered a coffee shop called Island Press Coffee which had the most amazing coffee! We loved the coffee there so much that we brought our friends Daryl and Kayleigh some beans back from the shop. I chose to have the (indulgent) espresso frappe which was amazing!
We ended the evening with a lovely meal out at one of the nearby restaurants however, I had left my ID in the hotel safe so of course what happens? I get IDed! I was super flattered, couldn't get a cocktail but the water was more than likely better for me ;)
One thing we both really wanted to do while we were on Maui was the 'Road to Hana'. The Hana Highway is a 64.4 mile long stretch of road which connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. The drive passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are one lane. The highway has approximately 620 curves and you travel through lush, tropical rain forest and it has many waterfalls along the road. Sounds amazing right? Yes! Well this is why we really wanted to go. So off we set on our journey and as we drive down the coast line the weather starts to get gradually worse - I said to Matt 'Are you sure this drive is a good idea in this weather?' and he answered saying it might be totally different once we get to the north of the island. Well, lets just say that 12 miles along the road to Hana, after a hair raising journey, hitting potholes and being unable to see any of the beautiful views we were supposed to we decided to turn back. A tropical storm had hit the island! So. Much. Rain. So much rain in fact that the bridges we had driven over on the way there had turned into waterfalls themselves on the way back!
So not to get disheartened we decided to chase the sunshine and ended up at Big Beach. Which really did live up to it's name.
On returning to the hotel we decided to drown our sorrows with cocktails during Aloha Hour, chips and salsa!
While watching the weather report that night we found out we really did make the right decision to turn around when we did as further up the road there had been a landslide which would have left us stranded. So the following day we decided that we would have a beach day. It was the most blissful, lazy day spent on the beach, swimming in the sea and watching the sunset.
The following day we had itchy feet and set off exploring once again. This time we didn't stray too far and headed down the coast to Lahaina town which is one of the most historic towns in the state of Hawaii. As we had a guide book we followed the suggested walking tour which took us around all the sights the town had to offer.
For lunch we decided to head to the Cool Cats Cafe where they boast about serving the best burgers on the island, and they did not disappoint! I loved the vibe - typical American diner with good food, bottomless drinks and comfy seats.
We spent our evening over drinks and the sunset. I don't think I will ever get tired of the sunsets!
For our breakfast the next day we decided to head back to Island Press Coffee before checking out of the hotel and heading back on the road again. We took a drive up towards the crater of Haleakala with the plan to head to the Kula Marketplace as we figured it would be a great place to find some last minute gifts.
We then headed back to the airport to island hop back to Honolulu as we had an early flight home the next day and wanted to be close to the airport. However, we made the most of the last night by discovering Big Kahuna's Pizza which is a real hidden gem and the best pizza I have ever eaten! And I have eaten a lot of pizza.
Goodbye Hawaii, we will miss you but hope to return one day soon.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my little travel series for Hawaii. If you ever get the chance to go don't hesitate!