Saturday, December 30, 2017

MAUI - OTHER NEAT LOCATIONS

VISITED AUGUST 2017


The ALOHA SURF HOSTEL gals get artistic at the OLIVINE POOLS

To make your use of this page possibly easier, there are 8 places below: 
DT FLEMING BEACH (25% down page)
HONOLUA BAY (20%.down page),  
LAHAINA (45%) 
NAKALELA BLOWHOLE (5%)
NAPILI BEACH (30%)
OVILINE POOLS (10) 
PAI'A (65)
WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL (80).


The thing about MAUI is there is SO much to see - I was there for over 3 weeks, went somewhere interesting every day - but STILL DIDN'T SEE EVERYTHING WORTH SEEING. Maybe next visit. 
On other pages of this blog you will find stuff about what is regarded as the BIG TIME MAUI MUST SEES - well most of them.
 Even though IMHO, no place is a MUST see the following are what I regard as SHOULD SEES (if you have the time).



THE NORTH WEST CORNER


The NORTH WEST CORNER of MAUI has a bunch of attractions - above are the ones I made.
For perspective it is just over 11km /7mi between the western most and eastern most place markers in a straight line (22km/14mi by road). NAPILI BEACH is about 10km/6mi by road north of tourist-central KA'ANAPALI BEACH.
Place names will be clearer if you click-expand. Sorry abt the spelling of NAKALELE at top.

NAKALELE BLOWHOLE....
....starting at the northern most point....


Here's the thing - blowholes need the right conditions (I live 200m from one in Oz - every time it blows the front door-knocker ...um...knocks). Needed are high tide and a good sea swell. I'll leave you to speculate the initial conditions when my ALOHA SURF HOSTEL'S  free trip called by.


WHY IT PAYS TO WAIT

These are more like it. Worth waiting 10 minutes for some larger swell although online pics show much better blows.


It's a 10 minute scramble down from the main road car park - but only the mobility impaired should have difficulty (although my circumferentially enhanced pal SLIM SAM, the only person still alive who has completely surrounded a DOMINO'S 18'' SOUTH SEA SUPREME in under 20 seconds, will need a couple of rest stops).


The rock platform around the blowhole has a moonscape appearance.
Can't say I'm whelmed by the latest semi G-string swimsuit trend - takes a svelte derriere to cut it, something which most current young ladies who are worshipers of KRISPY KREME, RONALD MCDONALD and KIM KARDASHION can't do.

OH MAMA!
How's that old question go? "DOES MY ASS LOOK BIG IN THIS?" 
Well YES but it sure DON'T LOOK GOOD.
And I don't even want to think about the dopey (maybe HILARIOUS is a better word) tan lines.
Excuse me for being so outspoken on this, but DUMB FASHION plus things like equally nonsensical NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS and THE CARGO CULT MENTALITY OF MODERN CONSUMERS/VOTERS are subjects that really get me going. I'll have to start a BLOG.



From halfway back to the NAKALELE BLOWHOLE parking area


This is a pretty rugged section of coast. Although the sea was not too bad when I called by, lotsa notices warn of DANGER: LOST LIVES DUE TO ROGUE WAVES (this is the thing about big swell - you think you are in a safe position and every now and then a huge one comes thru and washes you off the rock platform. Don't ask how I know this).
It's 600m in a straight line between the CAR PARK and BLOWHOLE place markers.
The car park at left is at the 39.5 mile - marker. Labels may be clearer if you click-expand image.


OLIVINE POOLS
Head another 4 miles east along twisting hwy 340 to mileage marker 16 (they are counting from a different direction here) to reach the high roadside parking area of the OLIVINE POOLS with a similar hike down a rugged rocky path to the to a couple of those tidal pools common to lava-formed seaside rock platforms.


Similar trek in length and difficulty to that at NAKALELA


The POOLS area has a WORSE record of drownings than NAKALELE, so take care. Once again, conditions were benign for our visit. 
These PANORAMA shots click-expand nicely.


I was expecting ALOHA SURF HOSTEL to be packed with surfer-dudes, but instead it was running 80% female (in summer at least - maybe the surfers appear for the big winter swells) - most French Canadian or Aussie. As a 72 yo dude, I didn't mind.


The rock-jumping was from no-where near the height of the HANA ROAD waterfalls, but once again....

.....with an emotional age of 11, I just had to give OLIVINE POOLS a go.


With the sea relatively calm, I also tried some ocean swimming (I surfed for over 30 years, not very well, and mostly before good leg ropes - consequently got plenty of practice swimming in big nasty seas - chasing my board).
 Above was fine, but the haul up the sharp rocks was a tad difficult. Not recommended.


Back to the parking area at the OVILINE POOLS is a good workout.


The OVILINE POOLS are about 450m down from the HWY 340 parking area.


HONOLUA BAY 
From the northern most NAKALELE BLOWHOLE head WEST along the coastal hwy abt 10km/6mi to the first of two small  gully-located roadside parking areas for this great place. Somewhere along the coastal road it turns from HWY 340 to HWY 30 - you are looking for mileage marker 32.

I've already dealt with HONOLUA on my BEST BEACHES page - gave it the award for BEST BEACH HINTERLAND and an also mention in the BEST SURFING BEACH and BEST SNORKELLING sections. Click to there for more info....


.....but this is a pic I didn't show....


....and I didn't modify a GOOGLE MAP of the place. Note those 2 PARKING spots are pretty limited capacity wise - you can also park up at the higher VIEWPOINTS and walk to the rocky beach.


D T FLEMING BEACH PARK


I wasn't whelmed by D T FLEMING - it didn't make my list of BEST BEACHES by a long shot. Main problem I had was with its ORIENTATION - as you can see below it faces largely north unlike most west coast beaches, has poor headland protection on its east side and is thus more exposed to the blustery NORTH EAST TRADES which blow on MAUI 95% of the time. This exposure leads to choppy seas and some sand blowing around on the beach. Not to mention bigger surf on those rare days when swell from a NORTH PACIFIC STORM arrives.
Big surf is good for surfer dudes but for normal holidaymakers it can create dangerous waves and rip currents.
On other days when the NORTH PACIFIC STORM SWELLS are not ariving but when the north-easterly trades are blowier than normal you will get more ocean swell hitting this exposed beach.


D T FLEMING is only 2.4km/1.5mi south west of HONOLUA BAY. Look for the turn in at mileage marker 31.1 on HWY 30.


A plus is that this is a bigger than normal beach for this part of MAUI - 450m long and plenty wide even at the top of the tide (at leadt 35m). Also vegetation in back of the beach gives shaded sand areas in some spots. I noticed too when I moved back there that the wind seemed less blustery. 
Note the LIFEGUARD TOWER mid beach (better seen if click expanded) - there are change sheds/showers near the parking area behind this - not to mention picnic tables, bbq grills and even a burger concession.
Not very crowded on this nice mid-week AUGUST day but I have heard things can get busy on a weekend.
Note the chopped up water in the bay. But surf swell was pretty benign the day I visited.


The ALOHA HOSTEL GANG take up position on the sand. This was a kind of dumb location suggested by our tour leader - I thought the section up adjacent the eastern headland (see shot above this - far end) would be much more sheltered from the wind - but above was a shorter walk from the parking area plus our leader had his hand spear and wanted to snorkel the western headland mid-left background. He didn't get any fish but reported okay fringing coral and plenty of smaller piscene. No swimming turtles which are not unknown here.
Note lotsa palm needles and twigs towards the back of the beach. Suggests impact of wind.
That's MOLOKA'I island in background.


Body-boarding kids waiting for the big shore break. One report I read talked about great body-surfing waves at this beach. Um, not this day dudes. 
I had a swim - off the sand the bottom shelved gently and on this fairly benign day swell-wise (chop is not swell - ocean nerds call chop "SEAS": thus weather reports often mention "2ft SEAS on a 5ft SWELL" etc. Good fun when they are coming from different directions (chop is caused by local winds - swell by more distant [often storm] winds). In the above shot I reckon we have "1ft SEAS on a 1ft SWELL") but swimming is not much fun on choppy days - turn the head to breath and get a mouth full of water. As mentioned I didn't find any rip currents. There is probably a mild one along that far headland in the shot above this (maybe not to mild when the surf is bigger) - these are spots to avoid if you are not an experienced ocean swimmer.


HAWAIIANS are very big on extended-family beach picnics even mid-week.


Note more surf on D T FLEMING in this GOOGLE EARTH image.

Being on the northernrural-urban fringe of the LAHAI-KA'ANAPALI-KAPALUA built up area, D T FLEMING has plenty of unbuilt areas adjacent - there is a nice park-like area behind the beach and the western (left) headland is open and an okay place to stroll.

Note the high end RITZ CARLTON KAPALUA resort about 200m behind the beach - looked pretty nice to me; and not too many MAUI resorts have their "own"beach.

Note TOO the WALKING TRAILS beginning at the beach - one reason I'm returning here even though not gruntled by the sand itself. The MAHANA RIDGE TRAIL climbs 16km/10mi into the Western Highlands, the COASTAL TRAIL extends (despite my marking) left out of frame and south to KAPALUA BEACH (only abt 2.6km/1.6mi one way) and that POINT TRAIL (aka DRAGON'S TOOTH TRAIL) has a good outlook back over the beach. Details of some of the trails can be found here.

The beach in image to the WEST (left) of DTF is ONELEA BEACH, by all accounts a lovely little place - that long headland would give it more shelter from the north-easterlies.



NAPILI BEACH

The small bays to the south of D T FLEMING have some very nice beaches. NAPILI is one of the more popular. It is indeed very nice - although it didn't make my list of BEST BEACHES. The thing is MAUI has so many nice beaches that there has to be something outstanding about one to make the list.


This is about 300m long and fairly narrow (down to 15m from the high water mark to back of beach in middle areas). Gradient fairly steep, continuing into water so it shelved fairly quickly. Abt 60m out a band of rock joins rocky areas adjacent both headlands - I took my face mask: some fringing coral and nice smaller fish - didn't see any turtles although they are not unknown at this place. 
Orientation is more to the west so and there is a long eastern headland so NAPILI is nicely protected from the north-east trades. Thus calm sea conditions in this pic - some waves apparently comes thru when the relatively rare winter storm swells arrive from the NORTHERN PACIFIC. There was more of a SURGE when I visited giving kids on body boards a great time. I found this surge combined with soft sand and the steep beach profile made exiting the water surprisingly difficult.
Some vegetation in back of beach for shade but taken when I visited. No lifeguards. No public change sheds/toilets - those off the north end of the beach were for adjacent HALE NAPILI RESORT guests (this beach has no dominant resorts or hotels - HALE is spread out and low rise as are several smaller resorts and condo buildings in this area. This is a laid back beach - unlike busy KA'ANAPOLI further south, no jet skis, no cruise boats pulling up on the sand or learn to surf classes/commercial snorkeling groups. This is family holiday country. Nice.


Yellow paths are public access routes. Blue is a headland walking track - Hawaiian families were laying out picnics on the limited lawn areas along here - no public picnic facilities at the beach itself. Limited parking in the 2 lots shown but I got the impression most beach goers simply walked in from their nearby condos.
Note big expanse of KAHULUA GOLF CLUB BAY COURSE in hinterland. Plenty of other courses in the near vicinity.
For scale it's 600m/660yds between the bottom left BUS STOP on the top right PARKING place marker.


ACCESSING THE NORTH WEST FOR BUDGET TRAVELERS.
The only one of these north-west destinations not visited by the ALOHA BUNGALOW trip was NAPILI. At the time I was staying 15km/8mi south at LAHAINA - I jumped on BUS #28 and rode to the first of 2 stops near the beach. Public Access walkways allow beach access from the main road.
You can reach the other destinations above using this bus for the first part of the journey and then walking or bicycle riding the remainder:
D T FLEMING - bus right to the end of the route (the HONOLUA STORE in KAPALUA just north of NAPILI) from where it is a 1km walk to D T F. IF you don't feel like walking grab a rental bicycle and take advantage of the FREE BIKE RACKS on each bus.
HONOLUA BAY is 3.5km/2.2mi from HONOLUA STORE - note the road gets a few steep pinches north of D T F.
NAKELE BLOWHOLE is 13km/8mi from the store. More than a few steep pinches.
The OLIVINE POOLS are 19km/12mi - even more low gear stuff.

GOOGLE EARTH'S IDEA OF WALKING/CYCLING TIME FROM THE HONOLUA STORE BUS STOP (in minutes).
Not sure why I included NAPILI BCH - its own bus stops are adjacent: abt a 2 min walk. Note I've found GOOGLE EARTH'S walking times a bit optimistic - but then as a 72yo geezer I stroll along in no hurry at all. 
I forgot a linear scale - it's 11km/7mi in a straight line between far left and far right place markers (but 19km/13mi by road).

Buses cost $2 a trip. A daily unlimited-rides ticket is $4. Other buses connect LAHAINA with central north and central south MAUI including the AIRPORT and PAI"A. Routes.


Tezza's rent a wreck from Wailuku's NORTH SHORE HOSTEL in pride of place on front of a MAUI COUNTY PUBLIC BUS. Wasn't a bad bike (I was amazed how much beer it could carry back from the supermarket) apart from the frozen gears (I jammed it in HIGH - not much fun up hills - but this beater was half the cost of excellent bikes available from MAUI'S many bicycle-rental outfits and I'm a dedicated cheapskate).


LAHAINA
LAHAINA central harbour area and south beach from offshore - backdrop of western highlands pretty impressive.


Much the same area at night. Lady lower-center doesn't seem too impressed with this happy snapper.

Most MAUI visitors make a point of seeing LAHAINA. At first it was the HISTORICAL factor of this old whaling town (later a surfer-hippie haunt) with lots of restored old buildings, ruins, museums yada which drew people from around the island. 
These visitors attracted the retailers - street-front on main st (FRONT ST) is a bunch of attractive shops offering resort-wear, surf and dive stuff, the usual touristy t- shirts/hats/trinkets, and a surprising number of high end boutiques, jewelers and art galleries (maybe not so surprising with KA'ANAPALI BCH a few miles north being the HONEYMOON CAPITAL OF AMERICA - new husbands tend to be in a generous mood). 
For people needing refreshment there is a big selection of places from fast food thru upstairs/downstairs bar/diners to high-end restaurants.
With this influx of people we have the situation today where many people go just to be seen (I mean SANDRA from SACREMENTO has carted that hot little black number a long way - this is the big chance to show it off). Or to see those wanting to be seen.

LAHAINA is also a tourist destintation in itself - but accommodation is small time compared to the KA'ANAPOLI - KAPULUA strip to the north: nowhere near the quantity or quality.
I stayed 4 days in the place on the basis of reasonably good value backpacker dorm accommodation, a good transport (bus) focus for the rest of the west coast and the fact that the guidebooks and fellow travelers mentioned the town is a bit of a SCENE.


LAHAINA is kinda central to MAUI'S west coast. It was this area's original tourist destination but from the 80s-on the KA'ANAPALI-KAPALUA strip has been the focus and these days acts as a major feeder of visitors to LAHAINA - for sure, KA'ANAPALI-KAPALUA  hasn't a major shopping area: plenty of small boutiques, malls and places for visitors to strut their stuff - but no focus for these like at LAHAINA.
YELLOW ARROW shows INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT at eastern KAHULUI - there is a smaller airport between KAPALUA and KA'ANAOPOLI. No doubt the movers and shakers fly in there.  Land area bottom left is the fabulous island of LANAI.
Straight line distance LAHAINA to AIRPORT ARROW is 24km/15mi but by road you are looking at 38km/24mi - for budget travelers this is a 3 bus trip which will cost you $4 if you buy a daily unlimited-ride ticket.
Now most of you dudes will catch the airport RENTAL CAR SHUTTLES to adjacent lots and pick up a MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE or something similarly cool - jeez it's not so much fun being a bottom-budget bus traveler sometimes. Note there are other AIRPORT SHUTTLE BUSES which can get you to LAHAINA a lot quicker than the public buses and considerably cheaper than a RENTAL CAR or AIRPORT LIMO.

MUSTANG SALLY DOES LAHAINA.
 The above seemed the go on MAUI - silver or red MUSTANG convertibles whereas in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA last year it was yellow CAMAROS. Could be a rental car company thing - but no complaints from me: did I mention I'm a car-nerd? I was kinda disappointed in not seeing many STREET MACHINES/RODS, you would think LAHAINA OR PAI'A would be the perfect places to parade  - no doubt the island has them, but nowhere I went.

LAHAINA
Actually the town extends along Hwy30 to the north out of image for a km or so - note too how it is spreading up lower ridges of the western highlands. Neat break in offshore reef allows for compact harbour, originally attracting the whalers: now tour boats and leisure craft,
 Details may be clearer if you click-expand image.

THE DOWNTOWN AREA
The central shopping strip extends abt 700yds/1km from adjacent the harbour to the FRONT ST placemarker. Buses terminate at the WHARF COMPLEX one block in from FRONT ST. A big FREE PARKING LOT is located under the B of "HARBOUR" (yes Yanks, that's how we Aussies spell it).  There are numerous paid parking lots behind FRONT ST businesses. FOODLANDS is the most central large supermarket - there is another (a SAFEWAY) about 1km north just past the turn-in for BABY BEACH (see map above) - both marts have purchase-validated free parking. 
TIKI BCH HOSTEL was my elcheapo digs.


FRONT ST ARCHITECTURE
Any time after abt 1100 FRONT ST is pretty busy - I managed to get a lull in traffic to take this late afternoon shot to give some idea of the old restored whaling town architecture. Pretty nice and not overdone as are a lot of heritage towns.
The above area contains a huge variety of retail activity - heaps of fashion boutiques plus joints selling surfwear-surf equipment/dive-snorkel stuff/t-shirts/touristy trinkets: lots of restaurant/bars (many with upstairs areas where you can check the passing parade - and the passing parade is pretty good: plenty of people come here just to be seen); no shortage of fast food outlets; and a disproportionate # of jewelery joints/art galleries/florists. And of course there is no lack of tour counters selling excursions of all types to places all around MAUI. These tend to be very competitive - often cutting their margins to beat the competition.


FRONT ST AT NIGHT
This is a pretty attractive place to wander after dark. Once again I waited for a lull to get this shot so it;s not representative of the number of people who come here - the sidewalks tend to be crowded with shoppers, people-watchers, people wanting to be watched, revelers on their way to somewhere good and just normal holiday makers out for a stroll.

 Upstairs at the DIRTY MONKEY (sports/karaoke bar with food and other music) tended to draw the revelers, but....


.....my favourite watering hole (with food and sports on TV) was the basement level DOWN THE HATCH.

I couldn't get over Americans' keenness to line up for fast food. I wouldn't line up if it was free - and I'm a world class cheap-skate. These people were queuing for shaved ice (Aussies call them snow cones). There has to be a dozen shaved ice places in town.



 If you fancy some HAWAIIAN artifacts, several stores and sidewalk places can meet your wants.

BANYAN TREE PARK
One problem with strolling FRONT ST is a lack of street seating - but just off the foot path near the southern end of the shopping strip is this leafy area with plenty of seating in the shade or sun - your call. The is the biggest BANYAN TREE in the US, about 60m across - it's all the one tree; BANYANS put down supplementary trunks as they spread their canopy giving the impression you are in a forest - this is enhanced here because lots of climbing woody vines link ground and canopy: real tropical.

LAHAINA HARBOUR
Immediate seaward from BANYAN PARK is the harbour - I spun 180 degrees from the previous shot, fixed in a bit of telephoto, for this. Telephoto accounts for seeming closeness of fabulous LANAI ISLAND offshore - it's actually 9miles/16km, maybe twice the appearance. That's the EXPEDITIONS LAHAINA FERRY in shot - an excellent, relatively inexpensive and fast way to check the place. Recommended. 

The harbour is not real big. Strolling the  main concourse is an interesting 10 minutes - TRIP BOATS are line up with details re costs/inclusions/destinations on a board which remains when the boat is out. No doubt the trip counters in town can better a lot of these - I saw some very good value excursions being offered. 
There's a marina area at the far end - stocked with some very flash cruisers and yachts.

Two of the more interesting along the concourse were these mini-submarines which can show people deeper coral and fish than traditional glass-bottomed boats and snorkeling.


LAHAINA HISTORICAL SITES - lotsa old colonial time and cane farming day ruins in the area. I'm not a history buff and so checked none, but heritage nerds will find plenty to interest them.

LAHAINA HARBOUR AREA FROM OFFSHORE.
Click-expand will make things clearer. If you look at lower right corner......

....you  may be able to see surfer dudes working over small wave breaking on outside of south-harbour reef. 
Note at far right LAHAINA'S only high rise hotel, the understated (compared to the big flash jobs a few km north at Ka'anapali) LAHAINA SHORES BEACH RESORT. There's other tourist accommodation in town, much in low-rise refurbished 50s style resorts; a number of guest houses; rooms to let; plus 2 actual backpackers' - but LAHAINA accommodation is small time compared to the KA'ANAPALI-NAPILI-KAPALUA strip to the north.

BUSTING THE LAHAINA BEACH MYTH
When staying in MAUI'S central north WAILUKU hostels I kept overhearing people returning from a LAHAINA visit saying "GREAT TOWN BUT NO BEACHES". Well that is not quite correct....

....SOUTH LAHAINA BEACH....
....starting immediately south of the harbour break-wall is nothing to write home to mum about. It's so narrow that many parts are non-existent at high tide and if you are looking for white-yellow sand you may be disappointed. The offshore reef ensures it's pretty well protected from waves. Length wise it's not bad - extends south 1km/1100yards from harbour - maybe 700m/770yards behind camera. 

BABY BEACH....
....is a much better bet. This shallow C-shaped 600m strip of sand is also fairly narrow but has enough sand at highest tide to lay a towel/sarong. Sand is more yellow (a bit grey towards the far northern end). Very protected by the offshore reef and the bottom shelves slowly making it an ideal kids' beach (but not as good as PAI'S BABY BEACH on the BEST BEACHES PAGE)
As can be seen there are pretty sweet sunsets all along this west coast.
LAHAINA BABY BEACH isn't perfect. No parking lot and street parking is limited (the big SAFEWAY purchase-validated parking area is not too far), no lifeguard, no change sheds/showers and plenty of broken coral on the sand/in water.
ACCESS - turn  off HIGH ST into PUUNOA PLACE a few hundred meters north of the end of LAHAINA'S shopping strip - go 200m down to the beach.


TIKI BEACH HOSTEL
Only a few hundred meters south of the harbour, this HIGH ST addressed joint was actually in a side lane (with a narrow alley at the end onto SOUTH LAHAINA BEACH). 
This is my kind of joint - with average LAHAINA accommodation in August north of $US200 (and the flash KA'ANAPALI joints $350-500+) I could get me a dorm bed for under $50. 
This joint seemed to be an old 4 holiday-unit place - one given to the management/owners. Each had its own kitchen-living area, bathroom + 2 three-double bunk dorms. Worked a charm although there seemed to be a lot of local guys-chicks tuning other local guys-chicks (if I was a local guy I'd be tuning backpacker babes of which there was no shortage. However as a 72 yo geezer, I was tuning no-one).

The back garden area was a real nice place to hang out at the end of a busy day. TIKI has a lot of extras - check the website.


PAI'A

Typical of this central north coast surfer-hippy town. For the uninititiated, a GROM is a JUNIOR SURFER.

PAI'A is the north shore's smaller version of LAHAINA - this old surfer-hippy town has similar restored 30s-50s wooden buildings where retail space in the main st has been given to similar trendy boutiques/surf joints//bar diners/fast food/tourist clothing-hats-trinkets yada.. 
I gotta say I only saw one hippy the 7 days I stayed here - I got the impression trendy PAI'S high rentals have pushed them out to smaller HALEAKALA FOOTHILLS and ROAD TO HANA towns. Surfers? Well I was surprised by the lack of these dudes - but I'm thinking it may be a different picture in WINTER when those big storm swells from the NORTH PACIFIC start to impact MAUI'S North Shore. Thing is, SUMMER surf on MAUI'S north shore (as elsewhere) is pretty underwhelming.
Not too much going on off nearby HOOKIPA BEACH'S eastern headland (abt 3 km east of town) in August - but this would be an excellent right-hander in any big winter swell. Not as good as one of HAWAII'S legendary big wave locations JAWS abt 5km further east.

HOOKIPA is a must visit if in the area - makes my BEST BEACHES page as MAUI'S best wind-surfing and a great turtle-sunning beach
Actually HOOKIPA is a WORLD CLASS windsurfing venue. Dudes had a real good circuit going at the western end of the beach.


PAI'A CEMETERY BEACH
Even better for checking turtles sunning on the sand mid-late afternoon was what I name CEMETERY BEACH, behind the grave-yard just past the east end of PAI'S shopping strip. Because it's a bit daggy and has difficult access few people go there, offering turtles more seclusion.

BALDWIN BEACH AND PAI'S BABY BEACH
The PAI area's nicest beach is 1400m long BALDWIN. Pai's BABY BEACH (not to be confused with the west coast's Lahaina BABY BEACH) is at the yellow-arrowed western end - the blue arrow shows the BALDWIN BEACH PARK area (excellent facilities) which can be walked to 10 minutes west of town central. Both beaches figure on the MAUI'S BEST BEACHES page.

TOWN CENTRAL
Typical architecture and traffic in PAI'S main street.


MILAGROS BAR-DINER
PAI'A is not short of bar-diners but my favourite was right in the center of town adjacent the HANA HWY-BALDWIN ST traffic lights - MILAGROS.

MILAGROS' corner terrace offered excellent people viewing - something a single traveler tends to do more than most. Like west coast's LAHAINA, PAI'A seemed to attract people from all around the island. It is an excellent pit stop for folk doing the HANA ROAD trip or checking out HALEAKALA volcano, but if you want to spend time at BALDWIN/BABY/CEMETERY and HOOKIPA beaches it is a destination in itself.


MILAGROS food trends to Tex-Mex but I had me some cheesy fries - inexpensive and yummy. Place has a good line of beers too.

ALOHA SURF HOSTEL
This excellent place was a little over 10 minutes up BALDWIN ST from the main intersection. I rated it the best of my 4 MAUI hostels - and all were above average. One plus is the FREE EXCURSION each day of the week which only Wailuku's BANANA BUNGALOW could match (that place was a little more crowded). White van is excursion vehicle.
I was expecting the place to be overcrowded with surfer-dudes but not in summer apparently - 80% of guests were female.

ALOHA SURF had a nice back garden area with bbq and hot tub facilities. Great for socialising.

PAI'A LOCATION
PAI'A is on the central north coast abt 6mi/10km by road east of the airport (4/6 in a straight line) and another 2/3 to central KAHULUI - MAUI'S biggest town. Bus 35 runs from KAHULUI'S central terminal via the airport to PAI'A - but only every 90 minutes.
YELLOW ARROW shows BALDWIN BEACH which is just out of frame-left in the image below.

PAI'A TOWN
The darker yellow (dumb colour I know - sorry) around the HANA HWY/BALDWIN AVE focus depicts the funky shopping zone. 
I forgot to add a linear scale - it's 1000yards/910m in a straight line between the ALOHA HOSTEL and CEMETERY BCH place markers.


The cross-road lights plus heaps of holiday traffic heading to/from HANA saw an extended traffic line both sides of town anytime between 0930 and 2000 in busy August. This is shot from almost the access lane into BALDWIN BEACH PARK west of town.


WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL

INTO THE CLOUDS


Gets pretty high towards the top (the turn around is approx 2500ft/760m)  - a fair bit before this we were frequently surrounded by cloud - sometimes with light drizzle. The WESTERN HIGHLANDS are like that (as one of the wettest places in the world rain is not always light drizzle: we were lucky. It was clear and sunny when we left BANANA BUNGALOW in WAILUKU only 6mi/10km away in a straight line - ditto when we returned 4 hours later.
Apparently cloud tends to build during the day - an early start is the go: the parking area opens 0700 (closes 1900). We started abt 1100.

WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL LOCATION
WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL is on the north-east slopes of the heavily eroded eastern highlands which was MAUI'S first dome volcano. The TRAIL's car park is just under a mile/1.6km up an access road which leaves narrow-winding HWY340 opposite the MENDES RANCH. The ranch is abt 8mi/13km by road north-west of downtown KAHULUI and 13mi/21km south-east of NAKELE BLOWHOLE, Straight line scale? Between the last two places it's half road distance - ie 6.5/10.5.



Oblique Google Earth of the trail - I might have cranked in too much vertical exaggeration but the WESTERN HIGHLANDS are pretty rugged. Labels will be clearer if you click-expand image. Deep valley to the LEFT of trail is the WAIHEE VALLEY.
You are looking from the EAST to a few degrees south of WEST in this image.


From the sizable parking area the trail is abt 5mi/8km return and climbs 1500ft/460m starting at 1000ft/305m.


Unfortunately for budget travellers, no public buses run anywhere near MENDES RANCH. Fortunately BANANA BUNGALOW HOSTEL runs a free weekly guided excursion and vans participants to the trail head. I'm a sucker for uphill climbs, particularly when guided and free so I joined the mob. At 72 I shuffle along and found I was towards the end of the queue lower on the trail but I keep on keeping on and was pleased to notice I was second behind our guide at the summit. Won't comment about the descent - worn out 72yo knees HATE descents.

Track conditions varied - this 400m paved section from the parking lot is the steepest of the whole trail (well, there may be a few short steep scrambles higher up). I would classify the above as STEEP - but way below my VERY STEEP, HEARTBREAKER and DON'T SEND FLOWERS categories. Other sections ranged from MODERATE to FAIRLY STEEP - there were even a few FLAT and DOWNHILL parts.
SURFACE WISE the above was as good as it gets - most of the track was UNSEALED, sometimes SMOOTH GRAVEL, other times with ROCKS and ROOTS and in a few of the steep scrambling sections MUD MADE SLIPPERY with the drizzle - this proved tricky on the way down and several of us went for a slide. I'd like to say I avoided this but can't tell a lie. I was not gruntled. I reckon hiking poles would have been useful descending these sections.
As the not so proud possessor of worn-out 72yo knees which HATE DESCENTS, I was pleased to note NO STAIRS in the trail - maybe one or two step-ups/downs.


Before hitting the clouds was this pretty good view of MAUI'S central north bay area. That's the northern part of WAILUKU (a companion suburb to KAHULUI) lower mid-distance. The AIRPORT area can just be seen at higher right frame-edge. The beaches around PAI'A are top-center.

MAKAMAKAKAOLE VALLEY

About half way up we got this good view of a tributary of the MAKAMAKAOLE STREAM feeding into the valley of the same name.

WAIHEE VALLEY

A little higher was this outlook into the adjacent WAIHEE VALLEY. It continues up to the right and deepens but unfortunately we were in cloud by then and I didn't get any pix.

DOWNHILL!

I took these shots LOOKING BACK DOWN the trail - as you can see there are a few short sections where the gradient flattens out, even becomes negative for people heading up.
Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of flora and fauna. Apparently tweeters love this area.

GEEZER TAKES A BREATHER
At the top was a viewing platform - unfortunately the outlook into the upper WAIHEE VALLEY and adjacent peaks was hindered by cloud. Took our group about 100 minutes to climb, 80 to descend.

CAVEAT: I'm not sure BANANA'S mountain hike is always at WAIHEE RIDGE - the pictures on the website suggest it could often be at the fabulous IAO VALLEY. However that place was still closed for repairs to flood damage the week I stayed at BANANA - fortunately some sections reopened temporarily a fortnight later which allowed me to do a more formidable ridge climb there.

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IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE POST BELOW.
BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK THEM IN THE FORUM SECTION WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT THESE INDIVIDUAL DESTINATION PAGES.


2 comments:

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