Aloha again! Or, as my little one likes to say, Helloha!

I have spent the last few days sorting through so many amazing pictures of our Maui vacation and reliving so many fun moments that it is hard to know which to share and which to keep just for ourselves.  I suppose that is the hard thing about this new blogging world I am exploring…what do you put out there for everyone and what things do you keep just for yourself and those that shared them with you?  Well, hopefully I have made some good choices and everyone will enjoy round two!

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We debated quite a bit on whether we would do the road to Hana or not both times we visited Maui.  The first time we chose not to because there was so many of us and we knew not everyone would love being in the car almost all day.  This second time around we decided we would go part way and see how things were going with the option to turn around at any time and just love the drive for what it was…no matter how far we made it.  The biggest concerns were our 4yo losing it during the trip (it’s a loooong time for her to sit in the car even with stops) and how carsick I was feeling.

The day before I had the opportunity to check in with a friends mom (who happens to be a Maui local) to get some recommendations from her and then of course spent time on pinterest searching ‘must-sees’ along the route.  My husbands number one thing was to swim at waterfalls and I really wanted to eat ice cream out of a coconut.  Wednesday morning we had a list of stops to make along the way so we packed up bathing suits, towels, some snacks and drinks and set out for our adventure!

We passed through Paia without stopping this time, but if you find yourself there in need of some lunch definitely try out the Flatbread Pizza Company – WOW! is really all I can say about it.  Just as we were getting to mile marker one the skies opened up and started pouring on us.  It was one of those rains that smell earthy and wet and fresh all at the same time.  It was actually a beautiful way to start our drive and seemed to make for a less crowded road.  Which was nice because some of those single vehicle at a time areas can be a bit sketchy.

20150617_103027_resizedWe passed by our first stop thinking we would catch it on our way back.  Right around mile marker two is a fruit stand and twin falls.  Even with the rain there were a ton of cars and people walking along the roadway.  We were hoping for something a little less crowded and thought later in the day it would thin out a bit.  Before we knew it we were passing by out second stop – Garden of Eden (mile marker 10 1/2).  We had been enjoying the scenery so much we didn’t even realize we had made it that far already.  We just figured that would be another one we would hit up on the way back.  We did keep an eye out for our next check point on our list though and happened to see the turn off in time to take it (just before mile marker 17).

Actually, well before we made it to the turn off we could see the scenic beauty of Ke’anae Peninsula.  The rain had started to clear up by the time we reached it and we were all ready to get out and stretch our legs a bit.  As my little adventurer liked to tell me “enough car adventure I want a foot adventure!”.  We didn’t stop and get banana bread (I hear it is the best though) or shave ice, but drove straight to the end of the road to get out and start a little foot adventuring.  There is no beach for swimming but the lava formations have created an amazing cove with great blue waves crashing amongst them.  This was the point where I thought to myself…”this is it; this is paradise”.  If I close my eyes I can still hear the music of the waves hitting the rocks and the wind brushing through the trees.

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IMG_4479 IMG_4486We stayed for quite awhile exploring the little tide pools and just listening to the beauty around us.  I was a little sad to leave, but knew there was more adventure awaiting.  When we left we drove a few more miles towards Hana, but our little one seemed more restless now that she had gotten out of the car once and I could feel my dramamine starting to wear off so we decided it was time to start heading back.

We were all a little hungry and there aren’t too many restaurants along the way, but we remembered passing a little taco stand so we decided to grab a bite there.  We pulled up to Uncle Harry’s and were the only customers in the parking area.  Which was nice because we only saw a single bench to sit on and didn’t want to eat in the car.  We ordered the pork tacos (two for $6 and a fresh coconut drink for $5).  The tacos were hot, fresh and delicious!  I am not a fan of coconut and the coconut drink was just that.  My husband picked out his coconut and they drilled a hole into it then give it back with a straw sticking out of.  He said it was delicious…I took his word for it.  We sat on the bench to eat and enjoyed another little down pour which my daughter had fun dancing in before we realized we’d left all the windows open on the rental car…oops!  Oh, well sitting on a damp seat was well worth the great food and relaxing lunch stop.

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Next stop was to be Garden of Eden, but my husband loves to take roads that look a little less traveled and as we passed back by mile marker 14 he made a quick turn down a road towards the ocean.  We drove down with thick bamboo on one side and trees with pineapples hanging from them on another to come out at a small black rock/sand beach.  There was one other family enjoying a picnic there and picking macadamia nuts that had washed up on the shore.  At one end is a fresh water stream that fed into the ocean that Roxy enjoyed splashing around in.  The water was a little rough so we didn’t swim, but enjoyed getting out and exploring the shoreline.  My husband was so excited about the pineapples growing in the trees and spent several minutes trying to get a great picture.  We started to go into the bamboo forest to explore, but quickly changed our minds.  Holy mosquitoes!  I was bitten approximately 20 times in less than five minutes.  My husband and princess far less…apparently I am just super sweet snacking for the little buggers!

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The pineapples were up high enough that we weren’t able to pick any, but I’m sure they would have been the most amazingly delicious things ever if we could have.  I did a little research and I think this may have been Honomanu Bay.  Definitely worth a drive down to to hang out and relax for a bit…just stay out of the bamboo if you don’t want to be eaten alive!

After leaving here we finally made it to Garden of Eden.  This is a 26 acre botanical garden filled with trails, sitting benches, statuary, the most beautiful plants, ducks and peacocks.  There is a beautiful waterfall overlook and great views of Keopuka Rock (seen in Jurassic Park).  You can feed the ducks and the peacocks wander all around – we even had one chase our car.  We think he was trying to challenge his reflection he saw in it.  The flowers are of course beautiful, but I think our favorite plant was the Rainbow Eucalyptus.  There really aren’t even words to describe how beautiful a place it is so I will just share some pictures.IMG_1411 IMG_4501 IMG_4505 IMG_4508 IMG_4509 IMG_4510 IMG_4511 IMG_4513 IMG_4515

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Total picture overload, but I’m sure you can see why with how amazingly beautiful this place was!  And check out that Eucalyptus tree; I have never seen anything like it before.  I should mention that if you go there was a per person fee.  I can’t remember what it was for adults vs children, but if I remember correctly it was around $32 for all of us to go in and spend as much time as we wanted exploring.

By the time were ready to leave the botanical gardens it was getting a little late in the day, but Roxy kept asking when we were going to go swimming so we kept our eyes out for a swimming hole.  We pulled off somewhere between mile marker 10 and 5, but not really sure where.  My husband saw an area for us to swim with a little rope swing and best of all no one else was there.  We grabbed out suits and towels and headed down to relax and swim.  Always the adventurer though, Zack left Roxy and I to hike back further.  Next thing I knew he was hollering for us to come back with him.  The going was very slow with a wet 4yo climbing across slippery rocks, but after about a ten minute hike we met up with him, climbed up one more set of rocks and ….secluded waterfall amazingness waiting for us!

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So, it wasn’t the biggest of waterfalls, but we had it all to ourselves and had an amazing end of the day swimming and playing.  When we were hiking out there was another family just getting to the first swimming hole that is visible from the road.  We told them about the waterfall and they were quick to start packing it in to head back.  I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did!

Overall the Road to Hana was an awesome trip.  I don’t mind that we didn’t make it all the way to Hana (or eat ice cream out of a coconut).  We will just have that much more to explore next time.  If you are planning a road trip while in Maui I hope this gives you some ideas of things to see and wish you an amazing journey.  Mahalo for enjoying my blog and the next one will wrap up our Maui adventure.  Aloha!

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