A few weeks back I was asked to make the drive out to Hana to take some photos of a property there. A lot of people get tired on the road and just focus on the facts. The Hana Highway is 68 Miles long, has 620 curves and 59 bridges that are mostly single lane. After thinking for one second, I jumped at the chance. I called a good friend, threw some supplies into the back of my truck and headed out for a day of fun on the Hana Highway. The trip out was uneventful as I had work to do when I got there, but after the whole 20 minutes it took to take my photos it was play time!
First thing I always do when getting into Hana town is run up to the old Hana Ranch Store to grab some ice, cool beverages and get a cup of the BEST Chili and Rice I think on the island. We then headed down to the beach at Hana Bay to fortify ourselves and prepare for our adventure. It was a perfect sunny day and the park was full of local families enjoying themselves. After a quick swim in the cool water we headed back the highway towards civilization to visit friends along the way. Not far from the center of Hana town is the Hana Airport. There we found Hans who runs Hana Glider Tours. Hans retired to Maui after a life as a ship captain around the world He now spends his days flying guests up to see the Haleakala crater then are you ready, shuts off the motor and swoops and glides silently in his glider all the way back to Hana. This is a “Must Do” for both visitors and residents alike. After our fligts and spending a couple hours talking story with Hans at the airport we hit the highway again towards Nahiku.
Nahiku is a small community about 20 minutes out of Hana that stretches all the way down to the ocean from the highway. This is the area where George Harrison had his place. One of my favorite stops there called Kak’s Café up on the highway. This unassuming hut sits on the side of the highway decorated with twinkling lights and has some of the most beautiful views of rainbows arcing over the ocean. Take a look at the photos on the walls and see how many celebrities stop by for a snack! Sundays can be fun when sometimes Kak might whip up a meal from her native Thailand. Of course, my favorite times are when impromptu jam sessions start and everyone just hangs out late into the evening laughing, singing and playing music. After we loaded up on her yummy coconut candy and banana bread we continued on our meandering way home.
Our next stop was the Garden of Eden in Huelo. My dear friends Bessie and Mike are the managers of the property and two of the nicest people you could meet. If you don’t have a lot of time to go all the way to Hana, this beautiful property is just 45 minutes from Paia town on the North Shore. The Garden is a 19 acre sculpted tropical oasis perfect for the whole family. The property features pristine hiking trails, ocean overlooks, picnic areas, an enchanted forest trail for the kids and one of the most amazing collections of rare tropical plants from all over the world. There is also an art gallery and a little café that has fantastic gourmet pizza and they even make their own ice cream! If you are ready for a dip, the property now also has exclusive access to two of the best waterfalls and swimming holes along the Hana highway. I try to swim in the ocean everyday so this is a real treat. When you get a chance to jump into cool fresh water and swim under a waterfall it is like going to Eden! By now it was getting late and time for us to head back home but we had big smiles, sun burns, full bellies and great memories of a fun day. Of course, we did make some stops on the side of the road to harvest wild Strawberry Guavas to take home for breakfast… that is those we didn’t eat on the way home! The Hana Highway is more than just a winding road. It’s a great adventure that I love to share and a lot more than something to put on a T Shirt that you just survived. My only regret on this trip is this time we couldn’t spend a couple days there camping under the stars. Well….there’s always next weekend!