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7 Ways to Enjoy Maui
Also called the “Valley Isle,” the island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Here are seven spectacular ways to explore Maui’s beautiful scenery and culture
1. D.T. Fleming Beach Park
Nearby Kapalua Beach used to be called Fleming Beach (in honour of a local ranch manager, David T. Fleming) until the name was reassigned to this county beach that is located farther north along Route 30. Although confusion about the names has kept the park off the beaten path, it has long been a favourite with locals. Fleming is one of the most convenient of the area’s picturesque beaches, with showers, barbecue grills, and picnic tables-at least one of which always sees to be available (on weekdays, anyway).
Winds ruffle the ironwood and palms at the top of a sandy crescent, which slopes down to meet usually gentle ocean swells for some good swimming. When the waves pick up, body and board surfers turn out in force. Stay on the beach, though; when heavy winter waves roll in, there are strong rip currents and undertows. And when you stroll the beach, wear rubber sandals (zoris): Fallen ironwood cones can be rough on bare feet.
2. Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Rd, Kula
The Surfing Goat Dairy, which is set on the slopes of the Halekala Crater and operational since 2002, has become one of Maui’s top agri-tourism destinations. This dairy is as proficient at entertaining visitors as it is at making cheese. The fun-filled spirit of the dairy is reflected not only in its name but also in its slogan: “Da’ Feta Mo’ Betta!”
As adults taste their choice of more than two dozen goat cheeses, 16 of which have won national awards, children can pet the goats (“kids petting kids,” as the owners like to say). Tours of the dairy are offered daily, and anyone who wants to be part of the action can book an Evening Chore and Milking Tour, which is held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons.
Open daily. Admission fee for tours.
3. Puohokamoa Falls and Kaumahina State Wayside
Falls parking area is at an unmarked pull-off along Hwy 360, 2 miles west of Kaumahina State Wayside. Look for a green picnic table and low stone wall.
Visitors tend to drive right by this site, unaware of the lovely falls, which cannot be seen from the road. Park and follow the sometimes muddy path. You can eat yellow guavas that may be seen along the way, but avoid the oily kukui (candlenuts), which the ancient Hawaiians used for light-and as a strong laxative.
There’s another table and a barbecue pit at the falls, but no drinking water. If you decide to refresh yourself in the pool at the base of the falls, be prepared to find yourself a target of tourists’ cameras. If picnicking is a must and the tables at the falls are taken, drive a little farther to Kaumahina, where there are plenty of facilities and good views of the ocean and the northeast Maine coastline. Watch for the hala (pandanus) tree and several types of eucalyptus (including the shaggy paperbark).
4. Pua`a Ka`a State Wayside
On Hwy 360, 0.6 miles past mile marker 22
Pua`a Ka`a is a delightfully intimate park with two modest 25-foot waterfalls. A paved pathway takes you across the top of the first falls, then leads along a stream to the second. Both tumble into pools that are bordered by picnic tables, and conveniently situated a little farther along the road, near a second parking lot, are restrooms. The road crosses a small bridge, and if you walk across, you can still see more falls and pools, though they’re not really a part of Pua`a Ka`a Wayside. Pua`a Ka`a is an ancient Hawaiian name meaning “rolling pig.”
Tropical foliage is abundant here: banana palms, guava trees (often bearing ripe, ready-to-eat fruit), heliconia flowers, ferns, African tulip trees, red and green varieties of ti plants, and the giant-leaved ape-ape.
5. Helani Farm
Off Rte 360 about a mile west of Hana
The beneficience of the Hawaiian climate is beautifully demonstrated here. H.F. Cooper established these gardens as a wholesale nursery in 1975; now he has opened them to visitors, who are free to wander the five-acre lower gardens along paths called Main Drag or Six Bridges to Heaven.
The specimens, tropical and subtropical plants and trees from throughout the world, are generally well marked. But Cooper has added his own twist to the expected common, genus, and species names. Here you will find aphorisms, Bible and poetry quotations, or anonymous quotes he feels ought to be passed onto visitors. Near a bed of spider lilies, for instance, we learn that “Knowledge is power only when it is translated into direct and positive action.”
In addition to the plants and flowers, there’s a pond of Japanese carp (koi), whose churnings and gulpings are in noisy contrast to the peace that reigns in the rest of this quiet place, where the only other sound is likely to be the rhythmic clatter of bamboo blowing in the wind.
Picnic facilities and restrooms are located in the lower gardens.
Open year-round. Admission charged.
6. Tedeschi Vineyards
Off Rte 37, Ulupalakua
Few tourists heading for Halekala National Park think of stopping off in the cool, bucolic up-country region that is Hawaii’s only true wine country.
Tedeschi Vineyards lies at the end of a drive so spectacularly scenic that for many the journey itself is reason enough to come. All who stop are invited to try a Maui Blanc, a “light, dry pineapple wine,” which was the first Tedeschi product in 1977.
When Emil and Joanne Tedeschi moved here from California’s Napa valley in 1974, they and their partner Erdman entertained high hopes of reviving the island’s wine industry. These have been fulfilled. An award-winning sparkling wine they produced was served at President Reagan’s inauguration.
Visitors can tour the property, where Hawaiian royalty threw lavish parties when it was used as a cattle ranch and sugar mill. You can sample still and sparkling wines in a cottage that was built for Hawaii’s last king or tour the winery, where the wines are available for purchase.
Open year-round except major holidays.
7. Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm
100 Waipoli Rd, Kula
Gazing out over the blue Pacific from the foot of a lavender meadow is nothing less than heavenly. At Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm, a self-guiding tour on winding paths takes you through gardens filled with lavender, protea, hydrangea, and other ornamentals. On the hillside above are commercial lavender fields, a fragrant sea of silvery mounds.
The farm also offers five walking tours daily. A tradition at the farm is “tea at leisure.” Visitors buy tea and scones at the gift shop and enjoy them at a private nook or grassy spot of their choice. Lavender is a known relaxant. So where better than a lavender farm to enjoy a cup of tea?
Open daily except major winter holidays.