Aloha Maui: Things to see and do

If relaxing in the sun while cool, clear water laps at your feet is your idea of the perfect holiday, then Maui should be your destination.

I’ve been putting off writing about our trip to the Hawaiian island for months now, for one simple reason: we didn’t pack in as much as I’m used to when travelling. Usually I’m up at dawn and don’t get back to the hotel/hostel/dive with a bed until late at night.
But Maui was a completely different speed of holiday, and that’s actually okay for some people sometimes. While it’s not my style it was exactly what I needed at the time.
We stayed in Kihei, which has its share of hotels and resorts but they’re spread out enough so as not to feel like you’re battling a wave of other visitors. And, like most places on Maui, the beach is right at your doorstep.
I don’t want to cast aspersions on Maui though, if you want to get out and about and do things there is plenty of things to see and sink your sense of adventure into. But, equally, if forgetting the rest of the world is the aim, you can do it here too.

Food

If you do nothing else, you need to eat. The fresh seafood is delicious pretty much anywhere you go – but my mind is and has always been set firmly upon dessert.

Or, in this case, dessert as breakfast. That’s where the Cinnamon Roll Place comes in. Situated in a strip of shops just across the road from the beach, the Cinnamon Roll Place is a mecca for sweet-toothed locals and tourists alike.

I challenge you to find a better cinnamon roll anywhere in the world. The owners epitomise the friendly, easy-going nature that Hawaiians are famous for. Everything’s better with sugar in your veins, trust me.

Mr M and I got into the habit of spending the mornings on the beach, swimming and lazing around, then heading back to the apartment for a snooze and a trip out later in the afternoon.

Beaches

My favourite beaches in the world used to be in Nice, France. You head out to a white pebbled beach, kick back on sun loungers while cocktails and drinks are brought to you. Then you go for a little dip in the crystal clear water. It’s immense.
The downside is the pebbles. They’re kind of tough (and hot) on your bare feet. Then I went to Maui, specifically the beaches in Kihei, and I had a new favourite stretch of beach.
The sand is beautifully powdery – perfect for sandcastle construction, the water was like looking through glass, there was a notable lack of pesky seaweed, it was cool but not freezing cold and the sea life was everywhere! I saw turtles and fish whenever I went into the water.

Since I don’t see anything wrong with an adult building sandcastles, I bought my own bucket and shovel and we had a great time building turrets and moats and  planting leaf-flags. The best.

Adventure

As you’d imagine, most of the adventurous activities on Maui centre around the water. Snorkeling with fish and turtles, paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving and cruising on the sea.
Coordination is not my strong point by any stretch of the imagination. If you took a newly-born foal, placed it atop a surfboard and pushed it out to sea, I’m fairly sure it’d have a better chance of staying on said board than I do.
Pin me for later!
With all that in mind, we booked to go paddle boarding. I didn’t fall of once. I will say that it’s tough on your feet and leg muscles, trying to stay upright and steady on the water, but it was amazing.
We paddled out alongside curious turtles with our instructor, who mercifully, didn’t laugh at our wobbles all that much. It also helps that the classes are mostly in the mornings, when the water is calm.
If you’re not so much into liquids, you can always head out to Haleakala National Park to see the spectacular sunrise or hike the crater. The park covers the summit of the largest volcanic mountain that formed Maui.

One of my favourite parts of this trip was driving up through the clouds, then standing at the edge of the Visitor’s Centre looking out at the cloud cover below. There are 48 kilometres of hiking tracks within the park and some seem deceptively easy. Just remember you’re up high and the air is thin so everything feels much more difficult up there.

Luau

If you’ve never been to a traditional Luau, it’s something that you really have to experience for yourself. Mr M and I were lucky enough to score tickets to the Te Au Moana Luau in Wailea from his parents and while they were expensive, I think they were worth every penny.

A Luau is a traditional Hawaiian party or feast with food and entertainment. Sometimes the food is part of the entertainment. We were taught how to peel a coconut and shown how the Kalua pig is slow cooked in an underground oven, buried with hot coals for hours.
Obviously the entertainment differs depending on the Luau, but we were shown the story of Maui the demi-God of Polynesia. Dancers twirled, spun and gyrated dances from Tahiti, Tonga and the Cook Islands and a Samoan fire torch and knife dance rounded out the performance.

Banyan Tree

If you happen to make it to Lahaina (a more touristy part of the island where cruise ships dock), make a point of visiting the banyan tree.

The trees grow unusually, sending roots dangling from its branches and into the ground below, where they form new trunks to hold the gigantic trees up.

This tree was planted in 1873 to commemorate 50 years since the first American Protestant missionaries arrived on the island. It has now grown to 18 metres tall and its canopy covers 0.6 hectares, making it the largest tree in the US. It is bolstered by 16 major trunks apart from the main trunk planted 143 years ago.

Linking with Denyse Whelan Blogs for Life This Week and The Ultimate Rabbit Hole.


Wander Mum
Suitcases and Sandcastles 

54 thoughts on “Aloha Maui: Things to see and do

  1. We went to Maui on honeymoon 10 years ago and we only got as far as the beach, your trip sounds action packed in comparison. Maui is so beautiful, I would love to go back and explore a bit more, and of course, get my chops around one of those cinnamon rolls!

  2. Some stunning pics there and I'm the opposite to you in terms of travelling. I've not done any for ages but I don't know doing 'stuff' I like just vegeing and hanging about my accommodation and soaking up the atmosphere around town.

    I've not been to the US but the pics look gorgeous!

  3. Hawaii IS somewhere I have been! I stayed on Oahu and then ventured to the Big Island of Hawaii for 3 days. I was hoping to see the Volcano but ..too long as story, but it did involve me driving a hire car (mustang) and taking a left instead a right in the early morning light …and instead of arriving at the Hilo helicopter port I did the 360 back to Kona. I cried! Soooo much effort put into it and I stuffed up. Nevertheless I did have the confidence to drive and I saw lots of the black rock that forms the 'dry' side of the island. My trip was 11 years ago now but glad I did it! Your pics and style of holiday looked great. Thanks for linking up #lifethisweek 2/52 Denyse

  4. Oh man. Really wish I could go there. It seems every second Facebook friend of mine is always in Hawaii! Looks like it would be a family friendly place, too. And I need those cinnamon rolls in my life!

  5. Yay! I can't believe you hired a Mustang! How cool are you?!? I took to pointing out every single Mustang we saw on the road while we were there because a honeymooning couple at the rental place got themselves a really fancy one while we were there. I kept asking Mr M if that was the honeymooners. Poor man puts up with a lot from me.
    Oh man! you poor thing, and that's totally something that I would do as well. Take the wrong turn and not get there then cry. There's a lot of rocks and some wafts of steam I guess. Maybe they're just wispy clouds because you're up so high.

  6. When I was in Perth I felt like every second person was going to Bali so I know what you mean. Hawaii is great but a bit pricey. It really is family friendly and the locals are just lovely people. I wonder if it's the lifestyle.

  7. wow, this looks amazing! this time 11 years ago we were planning a trip to Hawaii but my husband freaked out with it being in the middle of the ocean and we never went. It looks amazing and I will definitely be bookmarking it for when we do visit! 🙂 #citytripping

  8. Maui would be lovely to visit one day. I've only been to Kauai and while it was beautiful, it was soo slow paced for me (then I was 16). I'd love to see some of the bigger, more exciting islands! #CityTripping
    (www.caliglobetrotter.wordpress.com)

  9. Hawaii is definitely on my wishlist- I never used to be one to veg out on the beach either but after four years running round with my daughter, it's fun to chill out by the sea… insofar as she'll let me. Would definitely love to try here. #citytripping

  10. Ooooh I've always wanted to go to Hawaii. I'm not normally a relaxing-holiday kind of person either, but I'm coming to realise that sometimes they are necessary! Maui looks beautiful and the perfect mix of relaxation/culture/enough to do so you're not bored. I hope I can make it one day!

  11. I've never heard of a "splat holiday" before. But now I know! Mr M has been going to Maui with his family pretty much every year since he was a kid so I think he's pretty much seen it all – which may explain why he was happy to kick back on the beach and veg.

  12. I totally know what you mean! Maui was my favourite of all the Hawaiian islands because it had so much to see and do – and was stunningly beautiful and perfect to just sit and relax. It was hard to decide what to do every day but it really did have something for everyone! #flyawayfriday

  13. Sounds like the perfect relaxing holiday – it's good to spread out some beach with culture, food and hikes just like you did. I'd love to try paddle boarding – I'm not very co-ordinated but it looks so easy and graceful done by other people. Maui is on my list as I've only been to Oahu in Hawaii. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

  14. I usually spend my vacations rushing around seeing things, but I agree that Maui is very relaxing. I couldn't spend long up at the summit of Haleakala as the altitude really affected me. Those cinnamon rolls look fabulous. Wish I had found them when we were there.

  15. Maui is definitely on my future wishlist. I have been to Oahu before but keen to explore more of Hawaii and its culture. It is certainly a very relaxing place from what I remember. Thanks for linking #citytripping

  16. I haven't been to Maui since I was about twelve or thirteen. We usually seek out Kauai or the Big Island. LOVE Hawaii. Glad you made it to a luau – has to be done at least once! I love the food culture in the islands – did you try the spam sushi? Musubi? Or poi at the luau? Personally, I still to the fresh fish and fruit! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles – Maui definitely feels faraway to me in Copenhagen right now! Cheers, Erin

  17. Yeah we tried doing a bit of hiking around Haleakala but it was just so tiring. And the uphills on the way back were absolutely brutal – I had to use my best motivational coaching voice to get us both back to the car! Thanks for visiting Michele!

  18. It's impossible to not like Maui, and i think a lot of people are surprised that it's so much more than beach — the volcanoes and rain forest is fantastic. Glad you got to sample some of it.

  19. I was just in Maui back in November and I LOVED it! Unfortunately we underestimated the time it takes from our hotel to the crater and missed that – so sad! But we did the Road to Hana and it was fantastic! Loved all your photos! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this weekend! xo

  20. Thanks for sharing a link to this page on my site! I loved reading all about your Maui experience and I can't wait to do and see some of the things you mentioned. Like eating a cinnamon roll. Yum! And seeing the top of Haleakala… and the luau … and sticking my toes in the sand! *squee* 🙂

  21. I did that everywhere we went basically. I guess because in my head, Maui is a small island, so I assume that it shouldn't take very long to get anywhere. Luckily I wasn't the one driving, I just had to navigate. Glad you got to do the Road to Hana, it's a little hairy, but nice.

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