The 60-second guide to Maui

Get into the Aloha Spirit of Maui with your own car to explore all that this tropical Hawaiian island has to offer

In its own head
The second biggest island in Hawaii, we have the best scenery and the most relaxed people in the world. How could they not be? They live in paradise!

But more realistically
Maui’s natural beauty is in fact the result of an explosion, emerging from the sea after a volcanic eruption formed two islands, which then joined when the lava flow filled the gap.

The vibe
Have you not heard of the ‘Aloha Spirit’ of being nice to others? Haven’t you seen someone doing the ‘shaka’ sign with their little finger and thumb? It’s all pointing towards one thing: this is a heck of a cool island with amazingly nice people.

The natives
Caucasians are the largest ethnic group on Maui, making up 40 per cent of Maui’s population. Filipinos, Japanese and Hawaiians make up most of the rest, with Chinese, Portuguese, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Puerto Rican, African American and Okinawan adding to the cultural melting pot. English is spoken widely in Maui.

The weather
Erm, this is Hawaii, of course the weather’s great. It doesn’t get colder than 18ºC and in the south it’s unlikely you’ll see rain. Bliss.

The local speciality
Sup on a bowl of saimin, a noodle soup dish served with dashi – Japanese soup stock – garnished with green onions. Even more special is ‘dry’ saimin, said to be great for curing a hangover. Saimin is even sold in McDonald’s on Maui.

The celebrity
Oprah Winfrey has a sprawling multi-million dollar house in Hana.

Did you know?
You can stop road rage in its tracks by simply sticking your hand out the window and doing the ‘shaka sign’. Fold your middle fingers down, stick out thumb and little finger, then wave it back and forth. Used on the road it means thank you.

They say
“With two million visitors a year, you’d expect this Hawaiian isle to have been thoroughly combed over. But just 25 percent of the land is inhabited or developed… So surely a surprise or two yet lurks.” – National Geographic

Ask a Maui cabbie!
Take it slow. This is the land of stunning scenery, so take the time to enjoy the sights – but try to pull over if you’re going to hold up the traffic. One nice thing about Maui is that there are so few roads that it is very hard to get completely lost. A good idea though is to tie a ribbon on your car antenna, so you can find your car in the sea of rental cars.

5 to see in town…

Ahihi Cove, Wailea
Pull your snorkel on and swim with the turtles and brightly coloured reef fish in the glorious crystal clear waters of this rocky, remote cove.
Where to park?
You can park on either side of the cove, but wear sturdy shoes as you’ll be in for a rocky walk over the lava fields.

Wailea Golf Club
Golfers will be in seventh (and 18th) heaven at this championship 18-hole golf course in South Maui, where you have views of the sparkling blue ocean from every hole.
Where to park?
Leave the car (and the wife) at the hilltop SeaWatch restaurant at 100 Wailea Golf Club Drive.

Old Lahaina Luau
You can’t leave Hawaii without experiencing a traditional luau. Don a lei and a grass skirt, shake your hips to the tropical beat and hula the night away!
Where to park?
One of the most popular luaus is the Old Lahaina Luau on 1251 Front Street in Lähaina. The car park is small so you might need to park in the shopping centre across the road.

The Banyan Tree
Why would you travel just to see a tree? Well this is no ordinary tree. Planted in the courthouse square in downtown Lahaina when it was a puny 2.5m tall, the tree is now 61m wide, stretching the width of an entire block. Buy souvenirs from the craft stalls underneath it or unleash your inner child and get climbing.
Where to park?
There is plenty of street parking, plus more than 15 car parks in the area, which cost between £3 and £8.

Molokai and Lanai Islands
Just 10 miles off Maui’s coast are two islands that are undiscovered by the tourist masses, known as The Magic Isles. Molokai is known for its jaw-dropping, unspoiled raw beauty; Lanai for its posh hotels and history as a hub of pineapple production.
Where to park?
Leave the car at the public car park on Luakini Street in Lahaina, West Maui, jump on a ferry at Lahaina Harbour and you can be on either island in under 90 minutes.

And 4 to drive to…

Road to Hana
If you honk your horn every time you see another tourist on this popular route it’ll sound like the South Africa World Cup. This 100-mile road trip is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever go on, and takes you through pineapple fields, past spectacular waterfalls that you can stop to cool off under, a black sand beach, a red sand beach, a 14th century temple made of lava rocks and much more. Stop for lunch in the village of H?na.
How to get there?
Take the H?na Highway all the way. It’s a circle route so you can start from wherever you’re staying.

Haleakala National Park
Looking more like the surface of the moon than any national park you’ve been to before, the volcanic craters are an amazing sight – and even better for biking down, ziplining over and hiking through. Also in the park are the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of seriously stunning waterfalls.
How to get there?
Head towards Kahului airport and then take the State Highway 377 all the way. The journey from Lahaina/Ka’anapali is two hours, and just less if coming from Wailea.

Humpback whale watching in Maalaea
This is the time you don’t want to forget your camera! Every year from December to May the humpback whales fill the waters surrounding Maui. Get a boat out from Maalaea Harbor for so-close-you-get-sprayed-on views.
How to get there?
Maalaea Harbor is 25 minutes south on State Hwy 30 from Lahaina and 25 minutes north on the State Hwy 31 and N Kihei Rd from Wailea.

Iao Valley State Park
Maui is an island of natural wonders, and this imposing valley is no exception.
In the middle of the valley is Iao Needle, a 675m-high green lump of basalt and one of the most sacred places on Maui. Hike the luscious trails for an energising and spiritual adventure – the valley is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Hawaiian gods.
How to get there?
Iao Valley State Park is in the heart of West Maui, 45 minutes east on the State Highway 30 from Lahaina and 40 minutes north of Wailea on the S Kihei Rd.

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