Hawaii is a loooooong way away from Scotland (Literally one of the furthest away places you could go to), but it is one of those places everyone dreams of visiting, well at least it is to us. We started researching Hawaii more thoroughly and were surprised to discover that it not just one place. It is in fact made up of many islands, 137 to be exact. There are 6 main islands in Hawaii and they all offer something different. We wanted a mix of relaxing and the city so we chose to visit Maui and Oahu.
We travelled to Aberdeen the previous night to make our very long journey a little shorter. Our flight route was Aberdeen to London Heathrow, taking around 1 hour 30 mins. Then an 11 hour flight to Los Angeles International Airport, followed by a 5 hour layover. If you have been to LAX airport before and had to clear immigration you will know that this amount of time is needed. The final stretch of the journey was a 6 hour flight to Maui. We landed around 8PM Hawaiian time after travelling for more than 24 hours. At the airport we picked up our rental car. (It is highly recommended that you rent a car while staying on this island as it is the best way to get around as public transport is not very good) We had booked the car before we arrived but the one we had reserved was not available so we got a Jeep Wrangler for the same price.. score. Before arriving at our accommodation we stopped at a nearby supermarket to get some supplies before relaxing with a well deserved wine on the balcony.
We stayed at the Aston Maui Hill. Our accommodation was really nice, the condo was huge and had everything we needed from cutlery to sun loungers. We had two balconies, one of which overlooked the ocean. The reason we chose to stay here was because they do not charge you extra service fees that many condos on Maui do.
We were up early the next day, partially due to excitement and partially due to jet lag since Hawaii is 11 hours behind the UK. We woke up to the most spectacular views of the ocean that we were unable to see the night before because it was dark when we arrived. Enjoying the views we had breakfast on the balcony which consisted of brioche toast, cheese and a selection of meats. We were entertained by watching and listening to wild love birds nestling on the roofs of other condos. After breakfast we checked out the beach just down from our hotel before driving to Lahaina Town. The front street of this town boasts many restaurants, shops and a very charming character. It is a culturally rich area with a Whaling museum, Courthouse and many missionary homes. It also features an ancient banyan tree which is pretty spectacular. It was also in Lahaina that I fell in love with.. Hawaiian Shave Ice. This is an ice based dessert that can be topped with endless flavour combinations making a very tasty treat in the hot temperatures. Get to Hawaii to try this ASAP!
In Maui there are hundreds of beaches dotted around the coast, none of which are crowded. You can go to a beach and literally be the only person there. We stopped at one on the way back to the hotel to enjoy the sun. It was so peaceful with the only noise being the waves.. and me talking. In the evening we had dinner at Maui Thai Bistro (we still miss Thailand), before getting a fairly early night before our early alarm the next day.
3AM is when our alarm went off. I know we are crazy. Today we were driving to the Haleakala Summit, located 10,023 feet up a dormant volcano to watch the sunrise. The road up to the top was very steep and there were no barriers on some sections but I thought it was fun as we climbed up the mountain. Before we went we read that we should wrap up well, because of the high altitude it is very cold at the top. When we got out of the car it was cold but unsurprisingly still warmer than Scotland. We were really lucky to get into the car park at the top because we were the 12th last car to get in so getting up early does pay off. We waited underneath the stars which were so bright and visible because we were so far away from any light. As the sky became lighter we could see that we were actually standing above the clouds and watching the sun appear from beneath them was one of the most amazing things we have seen. From this height other Hawaiian Islands were visible, such as Big Island located 100 miles away.
When we left it was now daylight, going back down the road there were many tire tracks which looked like cars has skidded. Our brakes started smoking so we had to stop for a while at the side of the road. We later realised because of the constant descent many cars end up having brake failure on the way down.. wait, what? Fortunately, we made it back down in one piece. We celebrated by having breakfast at Kula Lodge, a great place to stop after exiting the national park. I tried a traditional Hawaiian dish Loco Moco which is white rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and gravy. It was okay, but I didn’t have it again. Stuffed and very tired we headed back to our hotel where we spent the afternoon lazing by the pool and jacuzzi before heading out for dinner in the evening.
As we were tired from all the travelling and our early start from the previous day we decided that we would spend the majority of the day at the beach. We opted for Kamaole Sands II which was located down the road from our accommodation. This beach has a fantastic stretch of golden sand and really warm water. It was a bit choppy when we were there so we avoided swimming in it. A week later a woman was actually attacked by a shark near this spot so kinda glad we never. Across from this beach is a Shrimp Truck where we tried the most amazing fish tacos, this was washed down with a fresh coconut cut right in front of you.
Up early again today.. who said holidays were for lying in? Today we were driving the Road to Hana. This is a 52 mile stretch along Hana Highway but with 620 curves and 59 bridges this takes a while to get along. The purpose of the trip is about the drive rather than the destination. There are so many stops along the way to visit, these are usually signposted by mile markers. Some stops we visited included countless beaches, swimming in waterfalls, botanical gardens, National Parks and even Lava tubes. In Maui we were staying in Kihei, located in south of the island and a very dry area. We were driving to the north of the island which was tropical and wet resulting in very lush greenery.. and bigger insects. The Road to Hana was amazing and was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Maui. I will be going into it in more detail on a separate blog entry as it was a very long day and I want to share everything we did in detail. If you plan on doing this journey leave very early, around 6AM, or alternately stay the night in Hana before returning the next day because there is so much to see and we didn’t have a chance to do it all on the way up.
Today we were going on a snorkelling trip with Redline Rafting. We chose this company for its good reviews and because the pier that the tour left from was literally across the road from our condo. The snorkelling trip took us to several locations including Molokini Crater which is a crescent shaped volcanic crater sticking out of the water. The views underneath the water were incredible here, it was so clear that you could see hundreds of feet below you while surrounded by different coloured fish. We also stopped at Turtle Town, where we got to swim alongside giant sea turtles in their natural habitat. It was an absolutely amazing experience and one I will never forget. I highly recommend this tour, the staff were very friendly and professional and we got breakfast of fresh fruit and cinnamon buns and sandwiches for lunch.
Back on shore, we returned to our condo to chill for a few hours and then got ready for the evening as we were going to the Old Lahaina Luau. This is a traditional Hawaiian dinner with a show set along the beachside in Lahaina. We also got Laid! No.. not what you are thinking, this is when you are presented with a tradition Hawaiian garland of flowers known as a Lei. At the venue we pre-booked traditional seating which is tables close to the ground and cushions for our seats. Personally, we loved this as it felt authentic and we were right at the front near the stage but it could get a little uncomfortable. The ticket also entitled you to a free bar which we took full advantage of, so we took a taxi instead of driving. The cocktails were delicious. My favourite was a lava flow, which is a twist on the classic pina colada. I highly recommend going to the Old Lahaina Laua while in Maui, we had the perfect evening. The food was amazing and it was great to try lots of traditional Hawaiian food as it is served buffet style so you literally just help yourself to whatever you wanna try, and the service was superb.
This was our last full day on Maui, we spent it down at the beach, lazing around the hotel pool and packed our bags so we had everything ready for sadly and excitedly leaving to fly 25 minutes to the Island of Oahu the next morning. We ended the evening watching the sunset on the beach, the colours of the sky are fantastic. After that we headed for another dinner at Thai Bistro as it was great the first night and had a few drinks at Mexican restaurant Moose McGillycuddy’s.
Maui was absolutely incredible, and I highly recommend visiting here on your first trip to Hawaii. It is a laid back Island with plenty to do, great restaurants and the most breathtaking scenery. See you in Oahu!