Road Trip USA 2002: Maui, Mar 22-25
This page chronicles my epic overland journey of the United States from landing in New York on January 28th 2002, to my departure from Oahu on April 7th 2002 for New Zealand.
Maui: From Oahu on to the The Big Island.
We wanted to go somewhere more exotic than Oahu, especially when it was being very windy while we were there, and knew that we had to book flights to the Big Island to take up our friend’s generous offer of accommodation and guided tours. So, why not a quick detour to Maui?
Normally interisland air travel is very reasonably priced with fares ranging from $60-95, and a whole range of discount coupons and air passes with Hawai’ian, Aloha and Island Air. However we booked our flights at very short notice and were affected by returning during the Easter break, and the after effects of 9/11 which still meant route cancellations half a year on.
As we needed a hire car and accommodation as well, we got a ‘package deal’ of flights to Maui, the Big Island and return to Oahu, three nights accommodation in Kahului and a hire car for an all up price of less than $800 for two people.
Landing in the morning at the small Kahului airport, it was a simple task to clear baggage and pick up our hire car and be on our way within about 15 minutes, which has to have been one of the fastest airport turnarounds in my long experience!
The airport is very close to town and an easy drive to our hotel, the Maui Beach Hotel on Kaahumanu Ave in the centre of town overlooking Kahului bay where cruise ships dock. The hotel was fairly average, but was good value and well located for Maui, right in the middle of the island’s attractions.
As the major town on Maui, it has the cheapest amenities such as food, petrol and shopping than the tourist resorts. Also, as it’s more like an everyday town than a resort, the accommodation is much more reasonable too. If you plan on visiting Haleakala or Hana, staying here easily knocks an hour off your travelling times each way! Our favourite activities were:
Whale Watching from Ma’alaea Bay with the The Pacific Whale Foundation as it is a non-profit making organisation whose proceeds are ploughed back into the study and protection of Humpbacked Whales. We had a good time and saw a number of whales and dolphins, unfortunately we weren’t treated to any breaches, but it was well worth the time going!
A leisurely evening stroll of Lahaina , parking a little east of the Banyan Tree and taking in the historic waterfront before stopping to eat at the Pioneer Inn, which was very nice indeed! Followed by some window shopping.
Viewing the Sunrise at the summit of Haleakala - When it came, the dawn was utterly breathtaking, it was one of the best and most moving experiences I''ve ever had...
Exploring Upcountry Maui and visiting the Island’s only winery, one of only two in all of Hawai’i and we managed to visit both in the end!
Attending the Maui Marriott Lu’au, although apparently not quite in the same league as the Old Lahaina Lu’au, was still great fun nonetheless featuring performers from seven different Polynesian nations and an awesome Fire Knife Throwing display as its finale…
It was with a heavy heart that we left Maui as three days was obviously not enough to cover the whole island and we had to make the difficult choice of not doing the Hana road – something for next time perhaps, when we can also visit Kauai and Molokai?