Maui Destination Guide
Having been a regular haven for surfers and sunbathers, Maui is one of the best Hawaiian islands to visit if you're planning an itinerary firmly around the beach. North, south, east and west; the island is fringed with golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Its coastline has something to offer everyone with sheltered shores and big wave breaks, while its hotels and resorts are just as renowned the world over. An island with an equally fantastic landscape to explore, make sure to spare time to marvel at Maui's giant stretches of green valleys and volcanic landscapes.
Although Maui's biggest attraction is beaches such as Kaanapali, Kapalua and Kahekili, those that can pry themselves away from the sand will be rewarded. One of two volcanos that created the island, Mt. Haleakala, is the world's largest dormant volcano and towers over the island at more than 3,000 metres in height. For a scenic drive, hire a car and take route 620 to explore secluded black sand beaches and tropical landscapes on the way to Hana. While you're on the road, head to the Iao Valley State Park and take in some of the waterfalls and lush rainforests, or return to the sea for a cruise to the sunken Molokni Crater.
Eat And Drink
Tasty dining spots can be found right throughout Maui, but if you are looking for a rowdy night out, you’d best island-hop over to Oahu. The closest you’ll find to bustling in Maui is Lahaina Town, home to several standout establishments, serving farm-to-table cuisine. Don’t miss a classic American meal at Lahaina Grill or some unique Hawaiian food at Lahaina Lune Cafe. Lahaina is also where you'll find one of the three Ululani's shaved ice stores, a Maui institution, while for something stronger, Maui Brewing Company is where to quench your thirst on handcrafted local ales.
Where To Stay
Unlike Oahu, Maui's accommodation options are less centred, with options scattered right across the island. The island is divided into a few areas, with each location having its own pros and cons. If amenities, such as a greater range of shops and restaurants, are what you seek, then West Maui particularly around Kaanapali Beach is an ideal base. The South Coast is less developed and offers a bit more seclusion with Wailea home to a number of luxury hotels. Another option is to stay upcountry at one of the handful of mountain retreats. The Hana area on the rugged eastern coast, reached by a dramatic seaside road, has a handful of hotels, cottages and retreats.
The amount of shopping you can do in Maui is surprising considering how no-fuss its beaches are. The island is home to numerous galleries and boutiques, as well as international stores and shopping malls. The most extensive is The Shops at Wailea, home to more than 60 shops, while in Upcountry Maui, Baldwin Avenue is where you'll find a great range of unique gift shops. Lahaina has a big share of the options too and is where to find the Lahaina Cannery Mall, The Outlets of Maui, and Front Street, a touristy strip lined with boutiques selling everything from fine art to aloha shirts. Also check out the swap meet next to the car park at Maui College in Kahului on Saturday mornings, for local farm produce, handcrafted jewellery and more.
Like A Local
While a large proportion of dining for tourists is centred near the beachside hotels and resorts, why not take some time to get off the beaten track and sample some authentic local cuisine? Start your local food adventure with some lomi salmon at Local Food in Lahaina; a fusion of all the foods brought to the area since migrants started arriving in the mid 1800s. Next head for the Kula hills to sample a famous local elk burger at Ulupalakua Ranch, then for some typically laidback Maui atmosphere and mouth-watering food. Finish the day with some fabulous Hawaiian fish tacos at Coconut's Fish Cafe in Kihei.