We’ve all seen the pictures of magical sunsets on Hawaii.. You know, the bright orange sky with the silhouettes of palm trees on the horizon, but what about sunrise? Well.. We thought we’d go and experience it from the summit of Haleakala, and it was the best we’ve ever seen!
The island of Maui in Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places we have seen, with gorgeous coastlines and some of the best beaches in the world. But the large, dormant volcano within Haleakala National Park is great for an alternative view from the highest point on the island. Scaling up over 10,000 feet, Haleakala is a great place to get your fill of hiking while in Hawaii. We didn’t opt to do this as we were going for sunrise, which involved leaving our hotel to drive there at 3am as it was! But going there by car is a fun road trip, with lots of twists and turns in the road. The journey took us just over 2.5 hours from Kihei, so I’d recommend taking some snacks and drinks with you, and have a full tank of gas as none of these things are available in the National Park. It is a pretty slow drive due to the roads and the fact it is all uphill, so be prepared to pull over and let people pass you on the road if they seem in a hurry. There are speed limits on the road, one for safety and, two, to protect the endangered species whose natural habitat you will be driving through.
As you get closer to the top you will have some absolute stunning views over the island with plenty lookout points available. You will come to the park entrance where a member or staff will take your money and give you your ticket. Click here for entrance fees..
A short while later you will arrive at the Visitor Center
car park where an attendant is on hand to direct you to the restrooms or the car park at the summit, just under 300ft further up. When we attended the entrance to the summit was on a first come, first served basis (we were the 6th last car allowed up!) However, you now have to book this in advance for a $1.50 per person additional reservation fee! Click here for details..
From here there is a short stairway to the viewpoint, where you set your cameras up and get in position. We were advised that it is FREEZING at the summit so to take warm clothing with us. While it was cold by Hawaiian standards we didn’t find it that bad, but then again we are from the Highlands of Scotland and pretty used to cold weather!
Then all that’s left to do is wait for the sun to make its way up over the sea of clouds, that were now below us, on the horizon..
This is a gradual process and there is an amazing change in the colours on the skyline as it makes its way from black to pink, pink to red, red to orange, orange to yellow and by this point the sun is now peeking out from above the clouds, which are now visible as a lumpy, white carpet rather than just a black horizon, and you hopefully have some pictures to put on Facebook and Insta that are going to make everyone jealous that you have just seen undoubtedly one of the best sunrises in the entire world!
On the way down there are plenty signs to use low gears and you should pay heed to these. We ended up with smoking brakes due to overworking them and had to stop until they cooled off and had to stop for 10 minutes for them to cool down before we could take off again. Out with the National Park area we stopped at Kula Lodge for breakfast which felt like lunch given we’d already been up about 6 hours and it was only 8.30am! This was so good and I highly recommend the omelette.
Trust me, these photos and this blog post do not do justice to how cool it is being up there and seeing it for yourself. But this blog post isn’t me trying to sell it to you, just a guide to prepare you as to what to expect and how to see this magical daily occurrence.
So, here are our hints and tips to see the best sunrise in the world when you visit Hawaii:
- Book online to avoid disappointment
- Hire a car and leave early
- Drive carefully and obey speed limits
- Wrap up warm and take a waterproof jacket (unless you’re from Scotland, then you’ll be fine with shorts – joking)
- Bring food, water and lots of caffeine since you will be leaving at stupid o’clock
- Take a good camera to capture the moment. Memories will live forever but you will be so glad you did this and want to share it with everyone!
Hawaii has so much more to offer than just amazing sunrises and sunsets. Need more info about the USA’s 50th State then who better to ask than Hawaiian Brian?! Please Click Here to view his website featuring useful guides, the best things to do, and even a 12 Day Itinerary to help plan your visit!
Mahalo nui loa!