Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maui: Highway 30 (Honoapi'ilani Highway)

The Road to Hana provides arguably the most beautiful drive in Maui and has even been listed as one of the 12 Amazing Drives Drives in the United States and is listed first in America's Most Scenic Roads. As impressive as the Road to Hana is, I found the drive and scenery along Highway 30 (Honoapi'ilani Highway) in west Maui to be particularly impressive in its own right.

Highway 30 forms forms an oval around the northwestern portion of Maui and includes cities and towns such as Wailuku and Lahaina. We didn't do the complete circuit, but mostly limited ourselves to the "reasonable" portion of this road (Wailuku through Lahaina to Kahakuloa). We had a few things we wanted to see on Highway 30 and felt like the day of the morning ride on the Atlantis Submarine and our visit to Lahaina was a good opportunity to see some of these sights.

Heading north out of Lahaina on Highway 30 takes one past fancy resorts near Ka'anapali Beach and Kapalua (Honokahua). As you drive north on Highway 30 past Kapalua, the view gets especially impressive as evidenced by the two previous images and the next photograph.

One of the highlights on this route is the Nakalele Blowhole. The next photograph shows that from a distance. We did not go closer because of time constraints based on the morning Submarine ride, lunch in Lahaina, and other activities planned for the day. If I ever get the opportunity to visit Maui again, I'd like to spend more time and get closer here.

Another highlight of this drive is the so-called Olivine Pools.

We only looked at the pools from above because it was a windy day and it didn't look like we'd be getting in or near the water in those pools that day anyway.

The Olivine Pools are another Maui attraction that I'd like to spend more time getting closer to on a future visit.

We ended our travel in that direction in Kahakuloa near the gorgeous Kahakuloa Bay.

The road is narrow (one-lane) for a bit here and falls and rises rather quickly.

The last photograph and the next photograph attempt to demonstrate this narrow road at this point, but the photographs don't do it justice. To get a much better idea of what it's like to drive on this section of Highway 30, see the YouTube video Honoapiilani Hwy.

We turned around at Kahakuloa Bay and headed back to Lahaina and ultimately to where we were staying in Kihei. However, I thought this drive from Lahaina to Kahakuloa and back was fantastic. We didn't complete the entire circuit and others have provided warnings about how harrowing it can be. These include Driving Maui’s Wild Highway and Death Road of Maui.

Like the Road to Hana, I found Highway 30 to provide exhilarating and inspiring views. Also like the Road to Hana, this route has its curves and narrow roads requiring the driver to focus sometimes on the drive more than the beautiful surroundings. This route is shorter than the Road to Hana and can be covered in less time. My suggestion for anyone visiting Maui for the first time is to do both!