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Visiting Paia & Haleakala

After a magnificent week on Oahu, we shifted gears to Maui.  The island is the second largest of the Hawaiian archipelago and home to Haleakala National Park and the famed Road to Hana.  Before embarking on our Hana drive, we decided to head to the mighty dormant Haleakala volcano. I have a degree in Geography so there’s no passing up a chance to see one of these!  It’s hard not to spot Haleakala, as it towers over the island of Maui. The top sits at 10,023 feet above sea level and the name Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian.

Most visitors wake up early to drive up and catch the sunrise. We are not early people and had also allocated our next day to start the ‘Road To Hana’. On collecting our hire car from Kahului Airport Hertz and decided to head straight for Haleakala National Park. This was a wise move as the journey took us far longer than expected. There are numerous hiking trails and also a bike tour. If Jetlag & Mayhem were older, we’d definitely consider this.

The winding drive from Kahului to the Summit took us nearly two hours one way.  Make sure you have layers with you as on a sunny day it can be cold up top.  You’ll need buy a Daily Pass, which is valid for three days. Don’t do what I did and lose the ticket/receipt. If you are driving to Hana, the Kipahulu District (e.g. Pipiwai Trail) is also within the Haleakala National Park. Therefore you don’t have to pay twice. Unless you’re me.

The summit is extremely impressive. The colours and textures evoke a feeling that you are on the moon. The Pa Kaoao Trail- is a short trail (less than .5 mile round trip) that leads to the top of Pa Kaoao, a small cinder cone. There’s another trail that starts from the Haleakala Visitor Centre, the Sliding Sands trail, which is rated as the best. I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE DONE THIS! But we ran out of time.  So instead, read the beautiful words of Musings Of A Rover….

We had several reasons for rushing back down. Driving the return leg in the dark, would have been dangerous and more importantly, I had a reservation at the acclaimed Mamas Fish House. Is this the most famous restaurant in Hawaii? Quite possibly.  Set in a beautiful cove on the outskirts of Paia, try to get a reservation for when it’s still light so you can enjoy the view. Despite the hype, the place isn’t overtly fancy, more Polynesian shabby chic. It is expensive and we had an excellent meal. I was expecting to be blown away by the food and I wasn’t. You can eat delicious food across so much of Hawaii. That said, I would still recommend it as a delicious Maui dining experience.

After an overnight stay in our Paia airbnb, we spent some time strolling the quaint streets of this North shore Maui town.  Cafe Mambo served up flavoursome goods so we could then get on our way to the legendary Road To Hana….

  • Scarlett Roitman


    A visit to Mama’s Fish House sounds like a must and love the sound of the sliding sand trail (although perhaps exhausting after a while!) I’ve wanted to visit Hawaii ever since I read The Descendants, it paints such a beautiful picture of the place. #farawayfiles

  • California Globetrotter


    Oh I am easily a morning person to catch a beautiful sunrise if I were in a beautiful spot like this! My husband would be grumbling next to me haha #FarawayFiles

  • Wilbur


    A beautiful place, Hawaii certainly has a lot of wonderful scenery. I hope to get there one day.

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)


    Great to read your honest descriptions of your travel mishaps, Nicola! Losing tickets is always annoying and when a restaurant is raved about you really expect it to be incredible, don’t you? Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

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