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Honeymoon in Maui

By Executive Editor

It’s hard to go wrong with a honeymoon in Hawaii, especially when you’re spending it on Maui Island, awarded ‘the best Island in the world’ by most of the travel industry. Surrounded by romance, you get to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the privacy of your beachfront cabana, explore the undersea world with your other half, drive through dense bamboo forests, and behold the beauty of some majestic waterfalls. Read on for more temptation...

Maui has something for everyone. It’s not too busy or too slow. You can be as active or as relaxed as you’d like to be, which is why it is the most recommended of all Hawaiian Islands. Perfect begins to describe it, while each pair of lovebirds leave the island with their own treasured memories. Maui is as embracive as an island could get, giving you a memorable experience of everything from beachside pleasures to forest trails. To give you a brief of the best in Maui, we have picked out the places and activities you just must explore.


What to See and Do:
A Drive You Won’t Forget – Hana Road
Along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline is the peaceful town of Hana, considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. The legendary road to Hana is only 52 miles from Kahului, however the drive can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete since it’s fraught with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The Hana Highway (HI-360) has 620 curves and 59 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views, so get an early start and take your time on your drive.
The historic St. Sophia’s Church marks your arrival into Hana, where the pastures roll right up to the main street. The historic Travaasa Hana is a luxurious retreat in this village rooted in Hawaiian tradition. Browse the Hasegawa General Store and Hana Ranch Store for unique souvenirs. Swim and sunbathe at Hana Beach Park or Hamoa Beach, cited by author James Michener as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific. Snorkel at Waianapanapa State Park, a beautiful black sand beach. Or visit Hale Piilani, the state’s largest heiau (Hawaiian temple), in Kanahu Gardens, one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii. Beyond Hana, venture 10 miles south to the outskirts of Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. There you’ll find the popular Pools of Oheo, where waterfalls spill into tiered pools leading to the sea. View these tranquil natural pools or hike up the Pipiwai Trail to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.


Haleakala National Park
Explore cinder cones and old lava flows from within Haleakala, possibly the largest dormant volcano on the planet. Formed by erosion rather than volcanic activity, the valley at the summit of Haleakala boasts much to marvel at and the packed cinder and soil underfoot makes for a relatively easy hike. Here you’ll find the silversword, an endangered plant found nowhere else on Earth with an alien appearance that compounds the other-worldly appearance of this remote location. Ascending and looping up the mountain, the road to Haleakala National Park is equally spectacular, climbing through the clouds to the summit. Watch out for tour groups of cyclists on this road who freewheel down the mountain. These popular tours begin in the early hours of the morning so they can witness the sunrise over the island from the summit before they begin their two-wheeled kamikaze return back down the volcano.


Molokini Crater, Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Molokini is Hawaii’s only Island Marine Sanctuary. Molokini is a small volcanic cone (Caldera), located just a few miles off Maui’s shore. Scientists believe Molokini Crater formed about a hundred and thousand years ago. Molokini rises from 300 feet below the ocean’s surface and is almost half a mile wide. Molokini peaks at about 160 feet above sea level and half the crater appears to be missing.


The isolation of Molokini Crater creates a unique Maui snorkelling experience. There are significant reasons why snorkelling here is so special. The quality of the water surrounding Molokini is superb, providing unsurpassed clarity. Visibility is consistently excellent, often in excess of 150 feet. Molokini is rock, with no soil to wash down into the water. Deprived of sediment, the water is amazingly clear allowing excellent sunlight penetration. This enhanced sunlight feeds the algae living inside the coral. Offshore currents bring food, while flushing away what little sediment exists. The result is a uniquely healthy coral reef providing a matchless snorkelling experience. Located in the middle of Molokini, this reef is protected from waves and surge. Inside the sheltered arms of the crater, Molokini is an amazing underwater marine sanctuary. Underwater at Molokini is a flourishing coral reef, where thousands of fish and marine animals cohabitate. Molokini’s shallow reef teems with a wide variety of colourful and fascinating fish and marine animals. You will experience a rare opportunity to closely observe the marine life at the Molokini Crater. Because of its crystal clear sheltered waters, snorkelling here is a safe and unique adventure for the entire family.


Molokini Crater is seen above the surface as a crescent shaped Islet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and rare plants grow on its slopes. Seabirds crowd the steep slopes of Molokini. There are two primary species of nesting birds, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Bulwers Petrels. Over a thousand pairs nest in the rocky cliffs. The vast majority are Shearwaters, which feed at sea during the day, returning to their nests and chicks at night. Brown Boobies also roost at Molokini, along with very large Frigate birds, whose wing span can reach 7 feet across. The Frigate birds with superior flying skills harass other seabirds until they drop their food, which the Frigate bird recovers in mid air. Hawaiians named them Iwa birds, which translated means thief!
With over 200 species of fish, many endemic to Hawaii, exploring the coral reef is the experience of a life time. A rare treat is the gentle plankton feeding Whale Shark, known to visit Molokini. Whale sharks are very large plankton feeders (vegetarians) which are not a threat to humans.


Town Lahaina in Maui
Lahaina town is the second most visited place in Maui after its beaches. It is nestled between the calm waters of the Au’au Channel facing Lana’i Island and the fertile peaks and valleys of Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui mountain range). Lahaina has provided a home for many cultures over the centuries, always welcoming visitors to its inviting shores. The Campbell Park here comes alive with local ono grinds, baked goods, and desserts from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Lahaina is especially suited for a Maui Friday Town Party because of its intimate front street setting, cultural and historic significance, and reputation for hosting fun. Historic, ocean front buildings host a wide selection of eateries with casual takeout, family restaurants and fine dining. The lively art and entertainment scene, fascinating museums and historic sites co-exist with a bustling retail district. Do visit Lahaina once you’re done exploring the beaches.


Iao Valley
Meaning ‘cloud supreme’ and pronounced similar to “ee-ow”, this is a lush, stream-cut valley in West Maui, located 5 kilometres west of Wailuku. Because of its natural beauty and historical significance, it has become a popular tourist location. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1972. The state park is located on 6.2 acres at the end of Iao Valley Road (Highway 32). The Iao Needle (KIkaemoku) is a famous landmark in the state park, a vegetation-covered lava remnant rising 1,200 feet from the valley floor or 2,250 feet when measured from sea level. The “needle” itself is an illusion, and is in reality a sharp ridge that gives the appearance of being a spire when viewed end-on. The needle is an extension of and surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui Mountains, an extinct volcano. One can take a short trail (Iao Needle Lookout Trail and Ethnobotanical Loop) to a windy overlook.


Tropical Botanical Garden
On the rugged Hana coast, along the far eastern shores of the Hawaiian island of Maui, Kahanu Garden grows in splendid isolation, nestled in the one of the largest, untamed native hala (Pandanus) forests in the Islands. Hana Coastline Plant collections from the Pacific Islands are the focus here, particularly plants of value to the Hawaiian people as well as to other cultures of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. At Kahanu, one learns the cultural relationships between the people and these remarkable plants that were transported around the Pacific on ancient voyaging canoes. Among the different ethno-botanical collections that are housed here is the world’s largest collection of breadfruit cultivars, which serves as a germ-plasm repository for this important South Pacific food crop. Situated in the storied land of Honomaele, Kahanu Garden is home to Piilanihale, a massive lava-rock structure that is believed to be the largest ancient place of worship (heiau) in Polynesia. This awe-inspiring cultural site is registered as a National Historic Landmark.


Nakalele Blowhole and the Heart Rock
The Nakalele Blowhole is a spectacle to watch. The blowhole is the result of the ocean undercutting the shore and forcing water up a hole made in the lava shelf, which is why you’ll be warned not to get close. It could be tempting to get close to the blowhole, but heed the warnings. It can blast water 100 feet into the air! When the water recedes, it creates a vacuum, in which you can get sucked in if you get too close. If you look to the right of the blowhole, you’ll see the heart shaped rock. It’s more like a heart-shaped hole in the rock, but either way, it makes for some great photos!


Honeymoon Goals - Golfing in Maui
Among the many activities one can enjoy in Maui, golfing is a favourite of many. There are fifteen beautiful golf courses on Maui. The Plantation Course at Kapalua, famous as home to the Hyundai Championship every January, is touted as the best. Next comes the Bay Course, also at Kapalua. A close third best is the Makena Course. The Royal Kaanapali and Kaanapali Kai golf courses are less challenging. Wailea Gold, Emerald and Blue are also top ranking courses. Wailea Gold is home to the Champions Skins Game held every February. Among these, the Plantation Course and the Wailea Emerald course have some of the most beautiful views.


Charming Chants – Hula Dance
Scenic beauty is what Maui and Hawaii are known for, but there’s more. A beauty not to miss out on is the hula dancer, usually a youthful beauty with a dreamy smile undulating to the rhythmic strums of a ukulele. Hollywood has long capitalized on that image and the world seems to love it. In 1926, Clara Bow, one of filmdom’s earliest sirens, lounged in a grass skirt beneath dripping banana leaves in Hula. Cute little Shirley Temple, animated Minnie Mouse, road sidekick Dorothy L’amour and Elvis Presley were but four of the scores of other actors who have swivelled their hips in frequently farcical take-offs of Hawaii’s ancient folk dance.
Far different from these showbiz representations, the hula in Hawai’i — in all of its sacred and ceremonial forms — was an integrated system of poetry, movement and rhythm. The story surely wasn’t told in the lower body. And, forget the contemporary dictum to “keep your eyes on the hands.” The essence of ancient hula was in the words, the chant, without which, to the Hawaiian mind, there would be no dance. Gourds, drums, split bamboo sticks, and other instruments only supported the rhythm. Hula could be performed without instruments, but never without chanting. The chants themselves were complex, poetic and rich with multi-levels of meaning.
Currently in full swing is a creative debate on ancient hula — must it stand as a legacy pure and unadulterated or may it experience exciting and innovative interpretations? Modern hula, meanwhile, is pulsing with stimulating and experimental dances. The combination is a testament to the Hawaiian culture itself, both perpetuated and changed over the years, but steadfastly retaining its unique heritage and identity, which it continues graciously, with aloha, to share with all the world.
Sharing with the world reminds of another must-do for you; share with us you must, your own adventure of the Maui Honeymoon!

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