Image Credit: Abigail Lynn (Unsplash)
If you're looking for a holiday destination that strikes the perfect balance between relaxation, romance and adventure, then the Hawai'ian island of Maui has to be it. With stunning beaches, beautiful mountains and a lush green interior, a holiday to Maui offers a true outdoor lover's paradise and is definitely worth the journey to get there.
The best way to explore is by hiring a car, with most people choosing to base themselves around the main tourist hotspots of Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Wailea; however the island is relatively small, so whichever Maui hotel you choose, you'll in a good place to enjoy all that the island has to offer.
Image Credit: Nathan Ziemanski (Unsplash)
Drive the Road to Hana
For a real Hawai'ian adventure, drive the legendary 'Road to Hana'.
The epic Hana Highway snakes along Maui's northeast coast, twisting and turning with mountains rising on one side and steep cliffs on the other. Whilst the road isn't long, with stops and the build-up of traffic, you'll need at least a full day or possibly two (depending on your pace) to complete the journey between the starting point in Paia, a laid-back surf town in the north and Haleakalā National Park in the south.
There are a lot of great stops on this route, however your first stop should be the Ho'okipa Viewpoint to watch the surfers in action and to get some shave ice from Bob's Dogs before continuing towards Wai'anapanapa State Park and Hana town. Some people choose to end their journey in Hana, but some of the most beautiful sights lie between Hana and Haleakalā National Park, so if you have time, I'd advise you to keep on going.
Just don't forget to fill up with fuel in Paia and stop and pick up some of Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread at Ke'anae Lookout at Mile 16.
Hawai'i is the home of surfing, so if you're going to surf anywhere in the world, then Hawai'i is the place to do it and Maui has no shortage of beautiful breaks for all skill levels.
Boards can be hired at any number of hotels along the beaches or from surf shops in the towns. If you haven't tried surfing before, there are plenty of surf schools to choose from and they'll be able to take you to the perfect spots to learn.
More experienced surfers might want to try out the infamous Peʻahi a big wave break, more commonly known as 'Jaws'.
Image Credit: Abigail Lynn (Unsplash)
See the Sunrise at Haleakalā National Park
In the southeast of the island, you'll find Haleakalā National Park, home to the Haleakalā Crater, an impressive sight at almost 7 miles across, 2 miles wide and 2,600 feet deep. The drive up through the park is spectacular, with several viewpoints worth stopping at. For those feeling more energetic, there are marked hiking trails, from short hikes around the viewpoints, to multi-day overnight trips.
Here you will also find Maui's highest point, making it a popular spot for sunrise and sunset, with the name Haleakala meaning 'house of the sun' in the Hawai'ian language. Watching the sun light up the sky from this point is a truly spectacular sight. Just be sure to take some warm clothes, a thick blanket or picnic mat to sit on and some refreshments so you can really savour the moment.
Image Credit: Jeremy Bishop (Unsplash)
Snorkel the Molokini Crater & Go to Turtle Town
Situated just off the coast of Maui lies the Molokini Crater.
The crescent shaped islet, makes for a great day trip for snorkelling and scuba diving, due to the beautiful coral reef, crystal clear water and abundance of fish that live there.Most companies also include a stop at a spot known as 'Turtle Town', where you are highly likely to see green sea turtles gliding through the water.
For those who like a little more adrenaline with your scuba diving, you can also take night dives, where you will have the chance to see the creatures that are often hidden during daylight hours.
Experience a Traditional Hawai'ian Luau
You cannot visit Hawai'i without going to a traditional Hawai'an luau and the Old Lahaina Luau is one of the best and most authentic around.
Visitors are adorned with a beautiful flower leis on arrival before being treated to a magical evening of traditional Polynesian dancing and music, accompanied by a fabulous Hawai'ian feast which includes the famous Kalua Pig, cooked in underground oven.
If you want the true experience book the seats on the floor, then relax, sit back, enjoy the show and sip a Mai Tai as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.