The Hana Highway of Hawaii – A Recommended Campervan Trip
For a campervan enthusiast, a visit to Hawaii is probably low on your priority list but it shouldn’t be. Whilst Hawaii flights don’t allow VW campervans in the aircraft hold, vans can be rented, saving you lots of hassle and several weeks at sea if you insisted on bringing your own!
The Hawaiian group of islands are brimming with natural attractions, enjoy a fantastic climate year round and harbour a brilliant road network, a perfect recipe for a campervan holiday. We’ve picked out the Hana Highway in east Maui as a 110 mile coastal drive recommendation!
This world renowned road, runs from Kahului to the town of Hana and is home to 620 curves and 59 bridges! Clinging to the cliffs with the pounding Pacific Ocean dropping away on one side, the highway is an amazing feat of engineering, having been painstakingly dug by locals using hand tools in the very early 20th century (around 1910 to be precise!). With spectacular coastal and mountain views the drive passes an abundance of waterfalls, streams and green, lush rainforest. Although the entire length of the Hana Highway can be driven in one day, an overnight stay in the township of Hana is recommended.
Let’s cover some of the highlights you’ll see whilst navigating the stunning Hana Highway:
Hookipa Beach Park
Possibly one of the best and most renowned wind-surfing spots in the world, although best left to the experts due to the power of the surf and the might of the offshire wind. This is an excellent spot to spectate all wind based sea sports whilst taking in amazing views of Maui.
Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail
About half a mile after the 9 mile marker, you can stretch your legs at the Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail. This half hour easy loop walk is a fabulous and accessible way to stroll through ancient Maui rainforest. There are several scenic lookouts and picnic spots along the way. The dense forest contains bamboo, ferns, eucalyptus and kukui trees to name a few.
Paia is a quaint, hip little beach town definitely worth a visit. The town is a old sugar plantation town and still hosts many of the original wooden plantation buildings, which are all still very much intact and as you’ll see, adds to the unique character of the town. As well as not being too far from the beach in either direction, there are fabulous places to eat, boutique and surf shops.
Waianapanapa State Park and Caves
Waianapanapa is a beautiful area of rugged, volcanic coastline at the 32nd mile marker of the Hana Highway. Honokalani black sand beach, in Pa’iloa Bay is a popular attraction but there are lots more things to see and do in Waianapanapa State Park. As well as fabulous hiking, camping and caving opportunities there are sculpted lava rocks, anchialine pool caves, a sea arch, lava caves and tubes, and even a blow hole!
The Oheo Pools are part of the Haleakala National Park, and is the name given to a series of picturesque waterfalls and swimming holes not far from the Oheo Gulch car park. There 7 sacred pools that are very popular with visitors and locals, for the brave folk amongst us, there are also opportunities for cliff jumping.
However, if immersing yourself in water isn’t quite your thing, you can walk the 7km Pipiwai Trail (alleged to be the best hiking trail on Maui) that looks down on the Oheo Pools. The Pipiwai Trail will eventually lead walkers to jaw dropping Waimoku Falls, which are quieter than the 7 Sacred Pools and a great reward for weary hikers!