For a beautiful and picturesque setting, be sure to see the Seven Sacred Pools at 'Ohe'o Gulch in Southeast Maui. It's about 40 minutes beyond Hana. There are really more than seven pools, and locals say that there is nothing sacred about them.
Once you reach Kipahulu, you will be within walking distance of Haleakala National Park and the Oheo Gulch (7 Sacred Pools.) The pools include a series of waterfalls and tranquil pools which flow through the O'heo Gulch going into the ocean which is nearby.
Starting two miles inland, the Pipiwai Streams feed these falls and pools. The nicest pools are located near the shoreline.
This land was donated to the Haleakala National Park system; therefore, the pools will forever to open to the public.
The area includes:
1. Cliff jumping
2. hiking (Hikers say that Pipiwai Trail, above the Seven Sacred Pools, is one of the best hikes on Maui) It takes 2 1/2-5 hours
3. historical sites
4. pool swimming
5. nature watching
It's better to go during the week because the weekends are so crowded. Either way, be sure to arrive early. The Pipiwai Trail includes INFINITY POOL with its row of thick rocks that keep people from plunging over the 200-foot waterfall. There are also several more great waterfalls along the hike route, with the final destination being Waimoku Falls, falling 400-feet down a sheer lava rock wall!
The area has portable toilets, concession on weekends, picturesque setting, numerous pools and waterfalls, and a large, gravel parking lot.
Lava rock is quite slippery when wet so wear beach shoes
Flash flooding is possible
Hidden rocks in pools so use extreme caution before jumping into pools!
The other side of Maui has a real pristine environment without any congestion or noise. It has stayed this way because of the dangerous 2-lane road leading to Hana. That road remains as it is to keep the pristine environment secure!
Once you reach Kipahulu and see the Seven Sacred Pools, take the four-mile hike along a jungle trail through what is called an enchanted BAMBOO FOREST. This area is made up of thousands of bamboo poles which make a "gigantic bamboo wind chime"!
Allan and I took this walk and loved this experience. It seemed almost spiritual in nature.
Still, to this day, we talk about that experience and how personally rewarding it was for both of us.
Allan took the photograph of me just as I was about to enter the Bamboo Forest.
There are only a few beaches on Maui that contain black sand. Black sand is formed as the lava from an active volcano flows into the ocean; the lava is shattered into glassy fragments by rapid cooling. Then, these fragments drift alongshore, being deposited to form black sand beaches.
Since there has not been a lava flow entering the ocean along the Hana coastline for at least 200 years, no new black sand beaches have formed. This black sand would be derived by the wave erosion of the existing black lava rock.
Hamoa Beach is a black sand beach. It is interesting to note that one night a week a down-home style luau is held beside the black sands of Hamoa Beach. It is celebrated with traditional food cooked in the imu (earthen oven), Polynesian music and hula. I was told that some people arrive on horseback. We did not see this Luau but would have liked to very much.
One of the highlights to our visit to Maui wascave swimming on the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park.
Waianapanapa (in a Hawaiian translation) means "Glistening Water." Allan is really great about finding interesting and fun "out-of-the-way" places. He told me about this park, and, at first, I was reluctant. The thought of swimming in an undergroud cave frightened me since I'm not that great of a swimmer. I'm glad he talked me into it.
The park is 120 acres which has been preserved by the State of Hawaii for camping, hiking, picnicking, and swimming. The Park claims that Waianapanapa has Maui's largest Black Sand Beach. There is also a wet lava tube cave to swim into.
While in the cave, I took this photograph into the opening/closing. I think it is unique.
And, by the way, I had a blast. I guess I have a adventurous spirit after all!
The IOA is a valley on the northern part of Maui which was carved out of a volcanic crater by eons of erosion.
This natural rock pinnacle presides over the IAO stream. It was once used as a natural alar; today, this 2,250-foot pillar is covered in green foliage and is the focal point for visitors to this peaceful, lush area.
It is also the site of a bloody battle in Hawaii in an effort to unite all the islands.
This area is quite small, but you can take an easy hike, enjoy the exotic plants and pristine pools.
I took the picture of Allan with the rock pillar behind him.
My daughter requested that we should go to a beach where Hawaiian residents swim. What could be the most secluded beach closest to Waikiki? (Other than going to the north side of the island).
We drove on the Kalana Ole Highway passing the Diamond Head, the Blue Hole, the Hanauma bay, Sealife Park and down to Makapu Beach!
The beach has a cove covered by mountains on the right and sloping hills. There were two sheds before getting down to the beach. I finally found out that these were actually two separate bathrooms!
I walked past rocks on a path between shrubs. There were several surfers and sun tanners on the beach. Some were just watching the surfers! My daughters and husband hit the waters and drunk a lot of sea water! Aloha! (A-loo-ha) Welcome to Makapu Beach! (This beach has huge waves and you need to be a strong swimmer or surfer! If you are not, you end up gulping sea water!).
Swim with turtles (it's forbidden to touch them!), trumpet fish, uhu (parrotfish), moorish idols, several types of tang, moray eels, and many, many more, right off the shore of Kahalu'u Beach Park. The waters teem with marine life, and a mask and snorkel opens up this underwater world to even the most inexperienced swimmer. The waters are very gentle, protected by what remains of a breakwater built by early Hawaiians to aid in fish farming.
Kahalu'u became a beach park in 1966, and has all the amenities one needs.
Hawaii is home to eight different species of dolphin but the most famous and instantly recognizable are the Pacific bottlenose. Up to ten feet in length, they are easily identifies by their rounded forehead, or melon, and amicable expression. Usually seen in small groups or singly, they spend most of their time in the channels between the islands but will sometimes approach passing boats.
Dolphin QUest, a marine research and education center based at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, gives people of all ages a once in a lifetime chance to experience the magic of the dolphin world with hands-on encounters with these beautiful animals. Close to a dozen bottlenose dolphins are protected in a special area of the Hilton's four-acre, saltwater lagoon. Dolphin encounters are availible for people of all ages but space is limited.
You can see the rain moving in from the shore and observe the riot of colors. To get to this vantage point, take the road up to the top and park in the last parking lot. Then head out on the trail. After an hour or so of hiking you'll reach this rim. Beautiful hike!
Nâ Pali Coast is one of the most breath-taking sites on Kaua‘i. Whether you hike the Kalalau Trail to be on it, view it from a helicopter tour, or see it from boat, you'll certainly be mesmerized by the dark green, lush, spiring peaks jutting from the deep blue ocean and sprinkled with a few small, isolated, white-sand beaches below them. It seems to be screaming PARADISE at you.
During our trip in 1997, we rode a hard-hulled, inflatable powerboat operated by Capt. Zodiac to tour this beautiful coast. We had launched from Hanalei in the morning and headed west. The highlight of the trip was when the guide took the boat into one of the seacaves. He had to time the ocean swells and then gunned it. Once inside, it was a huge cavern. On our return to Hanalei, we stopped at Tunnels Beach for some snorkelling.
Most, if not all, of these tours were halted by the State of Hawai‘i. The state was worried about pollution and erosion in Hanalei Bay. The tours then had to operate from a port on the south side of the island and riders had to endure a long trip to this side. All I can say is that you should hope they will resume these smaller tours.
***Update Nov. 2003*** It seems that they are back in business. Try these links. Capt. Zodiac: http://www.top-10-hosting.com/~zodiac/thetours.php
There are so many Banyan trees in Honolulu but the most gorgeous tree so far is found in Punahou Drive. There are also other trees in Waikiki but, because of limited space, the parks department usually cut the roots out. There are also Banyan trees in some parks of Oahu fronting the Ala Moana. The Banyan tree have roots that are huge and they sprout from the huge branches. The roots connect from one Banyan tree to the other that looks like a runner.
There are also Banyan trees in Lahaina, close to where you wait for your ferry boat.
The Banyan trees are good shades in the summer because the trees are thick with their leaves and they are gigantic trees!
I am not sure if this is native to Hawaii but definitely, it is a beautiful tree to check it out!
If you are able to make it out this way for the Christmas holiday, see about driving out to Waipahu (Robinson Heights subdivision) and check out the Yamaguchi house. This family has gone all out to decorate the outside, and the inside of their home. Each year it's decorated differently, and when complete, they open up their home to the public to walk through, and maybe talk story with Mrs Yamaguchi in the parlour! See my travelogue for a Christmas with the Yamaguchi's
Off the Beaten Path.... Well, maybe for Oahu, it is but still quite a few tourists get up here...
Pali Lookout is a nice place to get away from the crowds at Waikiki, though. On a clear day there are some beautiful views of the Koolau Mountain Range, and also of the Northern Coast of Oahu... Either just stop for the lookout picture, or there are also a couple hiking trails to follow up here to scout around a bit...
On The Big Island
You can see Mauna Kea's shadow grow as the sun sets. You will need to travel to the top for this unique sight. Why is this so unique here when there are taller mountains in the world? Because this mountain stands 13,797 feet above the flat ocean so there is nothing blocking its claim to what little sunshine is left as the sun settles below the horizon.
You could drive to the top yourself if you like as long as you have rented a 4WD since the road to the top is not paved all of the way and has a large section of loose gravel. You may also encounter fog, rain or even snow and ice so the driving conditions can be dangerous. You'll void most car rental agreements by driving up here so if you have a problem, don't call the rental company. Also, because of the high altitude, some folks may experience altitude sickness for which your remedy is only more oxygen. The tour companies carry oxygen tanks just in case. However, the real danger of coming up here is not the trip to the top. It's the drive back down. The steep grade may cause many to drag their brakes and eventually they will fade or fail. You may just end up making a straight path through the trees at the next turn in the road if you're not careful.
So, to avoid some of these pitfalls, we opted for the Sunset and Stargazing Tour with Arnott's Lodge http://www.arnottslodge.com/. We rode in their van to the end of the road by the observatories. Then I hiked to the summit with the rest of the group. I was quite winded for what seemed like such an easy hike up the short trail. The thin air really worked me over.
Be sure to pack warm clothes for this trip. It can be below freezing at this altitude while it is 80° F. at sea level. It was only about 40° F. with light wind while we were here but our trip to the top of Haleakala on Maui was much colder. There the winds were gusting to 25 MPH with an air temp already at 38° F. That put it below freezing with the windchill factored in.
On the Big Island.
Hâwî and Kapa‘au are two small towns very near to each other on this very northern tip of the Big Island. Most all of the tourists that come to this area are coming to see the sites of these very quaint, small towns. But the real draw for us was another 7 miles further at the end of the road: Pololu Valley.
You have to hike the switchbacks (cliffside trail) down the valley wall to get to the beach. It's an easy hike down but just remember that it is coming up that will hurt you the most. That 400+ feet of elevation change will really work you. So use your energy sparingly while in the valley.
Bring plenty of water and food since there is nothing down there but what you carry with you. Be sure to bring all waste back up as well.
The blacksand beach is just about a half-mile across and we had it all to ourselves the day we hiked down there. You get a real feeling of paradise at times like that. It made the arduous hike back up the cliffside trail truly worth it.
If you are very adventurous, there is a trail that goes up that opposing valley wall and on to Honokane Nui Valley. It is supposed to be quite a hike and quite a sight. We did not indulge.
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
The hotel room I had, had a balcony. When I looked to the right, I had a view to the ocean.more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
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