First stop on my tour of the Hawaiian Islands was Maui! Here’s a little bit about what I got up to over the two weeks I was touring around.
I’m a cheap skate when it comes to accommodation so I opted for the cheap and cheerful Banana Bungalow Hostel in Wailuku. I also couldn’t rent a car (left my driving license in the UK – d’oh!) so Banana Bungalow was ideal: they offer free daily tours to all the most popular sites in Maui included in the room rate of $49 for a bunk in a 4-person dorm. Still crazy expensive for a hostel if you ask me but that’s Maui for you!
It’s known as a party hostel so the crowd is pretty young – every night they throw a party in the back yard with music, beer and debauchery. I’m way past that stage of life now but thankfully my room was the opposite side of the hostel to the party zone so it didn’t bother me at all. They also enforce quiet time from 10pm – hats off to them!
On the famous Road to Hana (a road trip along a coastal road on the west shore of Maui) we stopped at all the most popular spots: amazing banana bread from the roadside stalls, red and black sand beaches, waterfalls and bamboo forests.
Whale watching off the coast of Lahaina is a must-do. This time of year is mating season so there were plenty of humpbacks frolicking just a mile off shore…so close you could see them clearly from the beach! The backdrop as you’re sailing along on the boat is the beautiful Iao Valley State Park. Lahaina has some lovely little shops and cafes, as well as my favourite beach in Maui: complete with white sand, clear turquoise water and its own resident sea turtle.
The landscapes on the Haleakala Crater hike are unlike any I have ever seen. At 12 miles long, it’s a good hearty trek, especially in the blazing heat – take a LOT of sunscreen! For the first 4 miles it felt like we were hiking on Mars, then the landscape changed dramatically as we walked through clouds and rainbows and ascended onto this lush, green path. And watching the sunset from above the clouds at the end of the hike…it was breathtaking!
As an astrophysics nerd, the highlight of my Maui trip was without a doubt renting a Mustang convertible and driving to the summit of Haleakala volcano to go stargazing. The silence at that altitude is astounding: I felt like I could almost hear the Milky Way singing as it twinkled in the sky.
I also loved Paia town! It’s full of yoga studios, health food cafés and craft stores. If I go back to Maui this is where I’ll choose to stay if I can find a reasonably priced option.
Next stop…the Big Island!
Thanks for reading friends. Love Nat x x x