We leave the bustling metropolis of Honolulu for the slightly quieter island of Maui to the east.
Sheer relaxation is the name of the game here. There is a common misconception amongst my comrades that I have spent the most part of this trip on beaches, but this is mos’ def’ not the case so I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my book and my iPod, two of the best travel companions a girl could have.
An even better travel companion than that is Buffie; usually London-based she has joined me for the west coast portion of proceedings. We scoop up our motor at Kahului Airport, and meet fellow traveller Brian, currently saving for his next trip by working at Budget. He gives us countless awesome recommendations on how to enjoy our week on the island. Brian – if you’re out there, you are wasted at Budget…
We drive to Kaanapali Beach and check into our hotel then set out to explore the massive garden grounds that lead all the way to our private beach. Of course, at this point it would be terribly bad form not to explore the cocktail menu comprehensively.
After a couple of days of what can only be described as Olympic-standard extreme lounging, we make our way to nearby town La Haina to a luau. It is called the Feast at Lele, the old Polynesian name for La Haina. When we arrive, fresh leis are draped around our necks and piña coladas are thrust jovially into our hands.
We are right on the water, and the backdrop is stunning.
We are treated to an indescribable Pacific sunset, which we enjoy as we work our way through the liquid specialities.
The only real experience either of us have of a luau is the one that you see Baby’s sister Lisa rehearsing for in Dirty Dancing. As a result, we have had Lisa’s rendition of ‘Hula Hana’ in our heads all day. Thankfully, it is nothing like this. If you need reminding, find it here.
Each dinner course centres on a different country in Polynesia from Aotearoa lamb, Hawaiian Kalua pork, Samoan fish in banana leaf and scallops served in their Tahitian shells. Performances also underline the traditions of each country.
It is an exquisite evening, and soaked in rum and culture we make our way home.
Later in the week, we decide to take the car out on the open road by driving it to Hana on the east side of the island. To prepare us for this all day road trip, we take on board a truckload of carbs in pancake format at Napili Bay’s Gazebo Cafe.
Our accomplice on this trip is Hawaiian Harry. He is the voiceover of the ‘Road to Hana’ CD we buy that delivers the lowdown as we drive. His factoids are of such a high standard, that we name him after historical fact-deliverer extraordinaire Harry Mellotte.
This road needs such particular assistance as it is over 60 winding miles through lush rainforests along the coastline, with multiple waterfalls, parks and sights along the way.
More importantly, the road is a difficult one to negotiate. It looks like a polygraph might if Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale was to deny looking for transfer options this summer.
It has over 60 bridges, 50 of which narrow to single lane traffic, and countless switchbacks along the way. Buffie and I show our cultural roots by automatically tooting the horn before crossing each bridge. You can take the girls out of Scotland…
Our first stop is Ho’okipa State Park. This is a blustery bay right at the beginning of the Hana Highway where we perch atop the cliff watching the surfers impress their audience.
Not far from here, the windsurfers try to steal their limelight.
Next up is the Garden of Eden arboretum. We walk up to the lookout over the Puohokamua Falls below.
We continue through the myriad walkways until we are back at the water where we find Keopuka Rock, made famous when it was featured in the opening scenes of Jurassic Park.
Clearly we spend the next half hour trying to remember the Jurassic Park theme tune…
The gardens are beautiful and after a walk, we hop back into the motor to venture onwards.
The Makapipi falls surge right beneath the hairpin roads, we pull in for a closer look and a game of Pooh sticks.
Not far past there, we swing into a roadside cafe where some incredibly stoned hippies are running a homemade ice cream emporium. All of the flavours are made with fresh coconut milk, we sample the pistachio and rum ‘n’ raisin variants straight from a coconut shell then gaze above us in awe at the single biggest rainbow we have ever seen. It is jaw dropping for us, and we aren’t even the ones on drugs.
Just ahead of Hana is Wai’anapanapa State Park, home of stunning lava rock formations and a black sand beach nestled in a cove along the bay.
The current here is strong and over time the lava rocks have created blowholes that the Pacific Ocean sporadically bursts through.
This place is beautiful, but it has a note of eeriness about it. The ocean is deafeningly loud and ominous sounding.
Perched right on the hill is a fresh grave, adorned with toys and whirring windmills, obviously that of a child. We pay our respects by not joining the throng of tourists gathering to take a photo.
There is time for some coconut shrimp at the Island Chef at Nihiku Marketplace before we head home from Hana.
The rest of our week looks a lot like this…
Then Buffie sadly has to take her leave to return to London, and I to Portland. It is time to leave the luaus, mai tais and coconut bras behind.
Mahalo and Aloha Hawaii.
And the soundtrack was:
Primal Scream ‘Screamadelica’
The Black Keys ‘El Camino’
Dirty Dancing Soundtrack ‘Hula Hana’
Cat Stevens ‘Tea For The Tillerman’
The National ‘High Violet’
Kings of Leon ‘Sex on Fire’
Luscious Jackson ‘Electric Honey’
Interpol ‘Our Love To Admire’
Johnny Cash ‘The Man Comes Around’
David Kitt ‘The Big Romance’