Maui: Living the Aloha Life in Hawaii

Maui: Living the Aloha Life in Hawaii

These are some of my most memorable times on the island.

went to Maui to stay a week, and remained five,” wrote Mark
Twain when he visited the island in the mid-19th century. “I never
spent so pleasant a month before or bade any place goodbye so
regretfully. I have not once thought of business or care or human
toil or trouble or sorrow or weariness and the memory of it will
remain with me always.”

Over a century and a half later, I could write the exact same of
this blissful Hawaiian island. Anxieties melt away as you embrace
the aloha way of life.

It was midday during a very windy September when I landed in
Maui. Before I’d even collected my luggage, I was sporting a pink
lei (flower garland). I mean, when a charming local with a
contagious smile greets you with an “Aloha!” and a freshly made
floral necklace it’s hard to say no. Hawaiian hospitality is
irresistible. Sometimes it’s worth succumbing to the tourist

By the time I left Kahului Airport in my rental car – public
transport is almost non-existent here – the blue sky had faded to
grey and my first Maui rainbow was melting into the Pacific Ocean.
These are some of my most memorable times on the island.

The Road to Hāna

Located on the northeastern shore of Maui, the busy Hāna Hwy
(highway) is far from a hedonistic drive. The road winds over 52
miles and 59 bridges – many single lane – without a petrol station
en route. Taking an estimated two-and-half hours without stops,
one-way, this is a day-long excursion.

Thankfully, it makes up for this by being one of the most scenic
drives in the US. Grab a fuelling in breakfast in the former
sugarcane town of Pāʻia, not far from the airport – just don’t give
in to the temptation to linger idly with locals too long. Around
nearly every bend you’ll want to stop for one jaw-dropping photo
opportunity after another. The lush green vegetation together with
the bulging cliffs and waterfalls is overwhelming.

En route, between mile markers four and five, try a smoothie at
Huelo Lookout organic fruit stand and later, between markers 18 and
25, keep your eyes open for stunning waterfalls. Take a break on
the Wai’ānapanapa black sand beach before arriving in Hāna where
you’ll find the spectacular red sand Kaihalulu beach.

After the long drive back, you’ll thank yourself for having
booked ahead for dinner at Mama’s Fish House, Pāʻia, for some of
Hawaii’s finest seafood.


It was at a luau, a Hawaiian party, that I wore a fresh lei for
the second time this trip. Even today, I can still smell it. The
memory takes me back to a banquet of food, music and traditional
hula dances. I was at the Feast At Lele which, along with the Old
Lahaina Luau, ranks most popular among locals. Make sure to book

Haleakalā National Park

Holidays and early mornings should rarely be used in the same
sentence. Except that is, when a 3AM start is to catch the sun rise
through the fog over the peak of the world’s largest dormant
volcano, Haleakalā. Its name, fittingly, means ‘house of the sun’.
The surrounding landscape, a patchwork of craters, is home to some
55 endangered species. If a crack-of-dawn get-up isn’t your thing,
watching the sunset here is equally awesome.


Adventuring upcountry to Makawao, you enter paniolo – Hawaiian
cowboy – territory. The drive there navigates a narrow, empty road
dividing vibrant green fields before entering a ranching town with
a thriving arts scene. Head up the scenic hills and you’ll reach
the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Grill – part of a 20,000-acre ranch
– offering organic elk burgers.


The secret to life’s happiness is found on the beach in Maui.
Read, walk, swim, eat, repeat. Sunsets here feel like a show
specially put together for you by nature; the sky is awash with all
shade of red, orange, purple and blue. All the clichés you heard
are true – particularly when you’re watching from under the canopy
of a palm tree, cocktail in hand.

Discover Big Beach in Makena State Park. Here the current is
strong and surfers ride the wave as the sun creeps towards the
horizon. And do keep your eyes out for sea turtles, something of an
obsession in Hawaii.

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