Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Our Maui Escape

Hello Lovelees!

Just returned from a holiday in Maui and Honolulu in Hawaii. I had a wonderful time!  We spent a week in Maui and about 3 days in Honolulu.

Some friends have asked me for recommendations because they have plans to go or hope to go soon , so I thought I might as well side track a little and write this memoir of my trip.  My memory is actually quite poor so I'm glad I'm motivated to make notes. Otherwise I'd probably forget the details of what I did.

I’m going to concentrate on Maui because we spent more time there and explored it more thoroughly J  I do hope to go back and spend a little more time in Honolulu or another island  some other year.

I've attached a map I'd salvaged from my trip and taken a phone picture - sorry if it's not the best map but it's what I have left...
I just want to give you a rough idea of geography but really you should google your addresses before you get to Maui!!

These are my highlights worth talking/knowing about:

Day 1
Explore Maui Whalers Village (near Lahaina- E6 on map) and Wailea beach (down south around I12 on map), Shops at Wailea.   These have high end stores including LV if it tickles your fancy and some basics eg ABC stores.  Whaler's have Sephora :p  If you're from Australia - stock up your cosmetics here!! So much cheaper. Next to Wailea beach we had dinner at a high end restaurant- Spago (Four Seasons hotel) - DELICIOUS and exquisite food/service.  We don't really drink alcohol so our bill was about $200 for the 2 of us for 2.5 course meal because we shared dessert.

Day 2
45min Helicopter tour to the East side including Hana and the Haleakala Crater with Blue Hawaiian $230pp for the premium seats (better helicopter and a company that's won lots of awards for various achievements).

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter's Maui
Thaz me!!

 It was incredible because we were lucky to get the front seats of the helicopter and they give you noise cancelling headsets that will either be letting you hear your helicopter/tour guide or flowing crescendo orchestral music that fills you with the emotion of exploration and discovery...that's seriously what i caught myself thinking - that was the more intelligent observation.  My other thought was that I thought of Harry Potter and how I would love to fly on top of a Hippogriff...

At night we went to the Old Lahaina Luau on Front Street   in Lahaina (E6 on map).  Front street is a historical area and shopping buzz area.  We also went to have the famous Uluani's shaved ice there.  At the Luau they roast a pig in the ground oven, have a buffet where food was pretty good, and a dance show that tells the story and traditions of Hawaii.  They had guys that could give Channing Tatum a run for his money with their butt shaking abilities but the hottest thing were the hula girls -of course in coconut bras and draped in flowers and leis.   I later found the style of dance that I was more jealous about and wanted to learn was actually Tahitian dance and not Hawaiian, where they shake their asses at like 200revolutions per minute.  I know the difference because I was so inspired i went to a polynesian dance workshop to try learn this stuff.  The Luau was about $100 pp.  You should book ahead/early.

Day 3
Haleakala crater at sunrise. M13 on map. Not only do you need to allow for driving time because it is a very windy road - best to ask your concierge how long the drive would take you to get there.  We left Kahana at about 3am, and got there probably 45min to an hour early to sunrise so were front of the pack and slightly stupid for it.  We slept in our car for a while.  If you shave it too close to sunrise you wake up early for nothing, that and it is a surprisingly popular activity to do. They even have rangers that help people triple park etc to fit people in, after which no more can come in.  With so many people you have to stand and wait so that you can hog your vantage point like the fireworks.  BRING WARM STUFF. It is like 10 000 ft above sea level and it is friggin cold.  I think like 0deg Celcius cold.  Let's just say we were under prepared and less than glamorous from sleep and warmth preparation by sunrise...but hey, how often do you get to see sunrise from ABOVE THE CLOUDS??

DT Fleming beach for boogie boarding. (F1 on map) It has decent but not drowning waves that are perfect for the sport.  If you don't how to ride, the concept is : hold the board in front of you facing the beach.  Jump onto the board on your stomach and start kicking when a decent wave is coming and about to hit you from behind. You should hopefully be riding along with the wave on top of it.  Take care you lift your knees high so you don't scrape your knees on the sand when you get washed abeach.  A lot of hotels rent out boogie boards for guests for cheap.  Caution for ladies: this is from own personal experience (nothing scarring but I have imagination...). I suggest you wear some tight hugging swim suits or one-pieces because boogie boards can- shall we say -" dislocate" your swim wear.  I did not run into that problem because I learnt from my mistakes a few years ago.  Just saying: look down to check and stay down in the water before you decide to stand up or disengage from your board :p

In the evening we went to Mamas Fish House dinner in Paia.(M7 on map) The bill was also about $200 for 2 people and 2.5 course meal. Vanilla prawns, Polynesian Black Pearl and stuffed fish were highlights. You also need to book a couple weeks in advance to get an earlier dinner preferably before sunset.  We didn't, so had a late dinner, but it was great food!
Polynesian black Pearl dessert at Mama's fish house
Polynesian black Pearl dessert at Mama's fish house
Even the back of it was amazing and true to life!

Day 4 
Snorkelling tour towards Lanai with Captain Steve's rafts.  I like going on raft tours because they are smaller than the bigger tour boats but faster and smaller groups.  No one wants to have to wait for all these other people to get on and off the boat in their snorkels, peep over heads for the sights and try not to crash into another couple snorkelling.  The down side is they are bumpier rides so may not be so great for children or fragile people, and there are no toilets (but there is the ocean around...).  Ginger tablets/candy help with motion sickness if you are prone - I brought my own in case.  I had a super time  - we swam with green sea turtles, made waves for the spotted dolphins to dance in and raced around to catch up with them in our raft.

We also spotted some humpback whales and listened to some Hawaiian stories and legends.  We had only a small group that day of 12 and it was very intimate and flexible time too with Captain Steve  (he didnt take us out but some other crew did but they speak highly of him). $139pp.  Look in some tour books there are discount vouchers for them so we used it.

Day 5

Maui Ocean Centre (that was fun but if you're going to Honolulu I discovered later when I got there it is way cheaper and probably bigger aquarium there too!)

Whale watching with Ultimate Whale Watch. 2hr $45pp.  These people have underwater sound amplifier (i forget proper name) so you can hear if the whales are singing.  Rafts also can zip around places faster so if you find one whale boring you can get to the next one pretty fast haha (Winter is Whales season so there are plenty around).  On the brochure they guaranteed 18 people or less on it, which I liked, and that they say they've taken out National Geographic cruise and onboard naturalist for whales.  I personally don't like it when people lie about group sizes because that is a selling feature that should be adhered to. We had 20 people which is really just a bit over , but by principle - don't put it on the brochure as a selling point if that's not true!!  We actually intended to go snorkelling with this company too but they were booked out and that's why we went with Captain Steve . I was happy with the end result really with Capt Steve.  On the whale watch we saw 2 whales breach (you know when they jump their head and body vertically out of the water and then backsplash) - one happened so early on (as in we just pulled clear of the parked boats) we missed capturing it.  It happened again out of nowhere somewhere else we also missed it.  Basically I video'd and my husband had his camera on multi-burst setting. I thought that worked well. 

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Day 6 
Road to Hana – another big tourist attraction that will take a whole day to do, starting from Paia.  There are audio CDs and GPS that will guide you through the sites you can buy/rent from hotel.   Twin Falls waterfall is one of the earlier sightseeing stops where you take a short easy hike and you get to a small pool with 2 waterfalls spilling into it.  First time I've been in freshwater swimming in a waterfall.  It's cold but ok once you brave that first submerge as always.

twin falls
Twin falls
The Wahlua falls near the end of the trip at mile marker 45.  These are by far the biggest and most impressive falls that you don't need to hike on foot to but can't swim in haha.   These are the falls that  usually feature on brochures etc.  Those for me are the 2 highlights.  I heard Hana is a small self sufficient town (because the road getting there is so difficult) that wouldn't attract much fascination, but your target is not so much the destination but enjoying the things on the journey.  Don't rush.  One thing not sightseeing related is to stop at "Halfway to Hana" - a little food store that really is halfway to Hana and they are famous for their banana bread. Delicious.
Things to bring on this activity: Watershoes for uneven underwater/slippery surfaces, wetwipes, sun protection, rain protection (though scattered rain), bug repellent, thongs, sneakers, towels, swimming gear, food and water.

Other things I did: 
Free Whale watch lookout at  Pacific Whale Foundation lends out binoculars.   Do this here at the place marked with red star - Papawai Point.

Kahana Beach is across the road from where I stayed and its a super calm and clean beach perfect for an easy dip or even ocean/distance swimming if you were keen.

Recommended to do but didn't get time :( 
Sailing with Trilogy to Lanai

Other yummy things I ate: 
*Ono Tacos (and burritos)@ Kaanapali $3 tacos, burrito $10, the place is like a hole in the wall/BBQ on the side of a residential house??! I suspect they even live in it haha.
*Ululani’s shaved ice (Front St, Lahaina) $9 large size
*The Fish market  Maui@ Kaanapali/Honokowai area, fish burgers going for about $10+, but they have $1 oyster shooters that come separately in plastic cups in a red sauce/dressing.  I generally prefer fresh lemon juice oysters sweet and simple but hey, its $1.
*Pizza Paradiso at Honokowai - they're decent, not awesome but I really liked their fruit sorbets especially the Pineapple one $20ish pp,
*Gazebo @ Napili shores for brunch $20-25 bill for 2 of us- ate alot. It has tons of awards. You need to line up here super early because it's always a massive line.  Like, allow for half hour 45minute wait plus time to eat.   If you are pushed for time or it's a short trip you may find this wait overrated. It's a nice ocean view there when you're waiting though , so don't despair. 

Hope you enjoyed my report on Maui, Hawaii and have a blast when you're there :)
This is to share with my friends and yours so feel free to share the link with them if they're heading that way!

;)Connie Follow on Twitter @MakeYouLoveLee


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  2. Yeah! I enjoyed Maui too!
    Love those fish tacos!
    On sunday I paddleboard in Kihei, and there were 100 dolphins swimming out there for at lest an hour!
    from Boston

  3. wow that sounds amazing...!hope you got some good shots in!