Hawaii!!!! Wooooo! I still can’t believe we got to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon *pinch me*. It has been on my travel wish list ever since 2010 when the revamp Hawaii Five-O aired #noshame.
For those who don’t know, we had two glorious weeks away after our wedding in April with one week each on Maui and Oahu. We picked Maui because it is commonly known as the ‘honeymooners island’ and Oahu because… all the touristy stuff!!!! Yay! Unlike my previous big traveling holidays, I didn’t do a daily photography blog of our adventures (I am missing that now… it seriously was so helpful to keep track of what we did everyday). A bit of what we got up to went up on Instagram and Facebook but I’m only now getting around to sorting all my photos to show everyone (yeeeeah that’s gonna take me a while!).
Compared to my overseas holiday to the UK in 2016, which was organised to the absolute top level (day by day planning, attractions to see and prices, distances to drive, maps and timings haha), this holiday was slightly more *um* relaxed? Totally unplanned? Haha. Now after planning a whole wedding in 3 months and moving house, also planning an overseas holiday was a lot to try and manage. We arrived at the International Airport having only booked our accommodation, flights, travel insurance and our ETSA visa. We actually only booked our car hire for Maui while waiting at the airport in Brisbane haha.
It was a massive learning experience for me to relax and let us just organise our plans the night before, or *shock horror* the morning of! But looking back we had an amazing adventure and I was completely happy with everywhere we went without needing to micromanage every minute. Jake, however, was in his element!
I’ve picked 5 of our absolute top highlights from our trip, there was so many amazing things we did and saw that it was hard to pick but these are just a few of the things we got up to!
1. Iao Valley State Monument
Tada… this stop really did feel like a magicians trick. Fun fact, this location was highlighted as a tourist point in Hawaii Five-O. I was so bummed thinking that we would miss out with it recently being closed on and off due to weather issues and land slides. But luckily I spotted that a local instagrammer had visited there only a few weeks before we got there and straight away I was on it to see if we could go… and YESSSS we could yay. (I seriously dunno why this location was a must see for me or that I would be so excited for it). It was nice to get away from the sea from a bit (although stunning) and to get into those mountain ranges.
This was stop number one on our first day of finally getting out of Kihei and our local hangs for a bit. It was only 40 minutes away but when driving on the opposite side of the road, it felt a lot longer.
There was only a few little places to see in this town because we had to keep moving to get to all of our locations for the day. First up was the Banyan tree… which was planted in 1873 and has thrived!! We enjoyed exploring under the branches of this perfect climbing tree, although we weren’t allowed to climb on them (sad face). There was tourists everywhere and some buskers which Jake looooved stopping to listen to. Fun fact, Jake loves live music and will stop (where able) to show appreciation where he can.
Next up was to try some the iconic shave ice that everyone raves about. And guess what… it was AMAZING! So now we rave all about it too! Apparently not all shave ice is the same so we made our way to Ululani’s, which has many awards for their shave ice. It’s all about the ratio of syrup, how covered the ice is (ie no white gaps) and that the ice is as fine as possible. Might as well start with the best, right? Tip for trying shave ice… if they ask if you want ice cream in the bottom, say yes!!! I had coconut icecream in the bottom of my Hawaiian Rainbow and it was sooooo good!! Think Splitz ice creams … but better.
Lahiana is a very touristy beach coastal town and a very long strip of big brand name shops along the main esplanade. It would’ve been very nice to try and explore more of the town, but we had places to be and things to see!!
3. Haleakala Crater
The colours of the crater!!!! But I’m getting ahead of myself, this was the end of the journey… we’ve got to talk about the trip up the mountain first.
We had umm’d and ahh’d about going to the Haleakala Crater because it was a good 1.5 hour drive through very windy roads. It is recommended to go for sunrise or sunset but with the unknown roads and overcast mountains we opted out of that option, but we still wanted to go. The first part of the drive was nice, clear sky’s and easy highway driving, but when we started climbing the range we quickly where in heavy cloud cover and rain. Driving on roads looking a lot like this…
Cool right! It brought me back memories of driving the Dingle Peninsula in heavy mist.
There are a number of hikes, walks and look-outs that start on the main road up to the summit. We decided to only stop at one of these ‘overlooks’, Leleiwi, and well you can see that we, um couldn’t see a lot haha. It was great to get out and stretch our legs but the cloud cover was very heavy, so back in the car we went. Hoping for glimpses of blue sky and that the summit would by chance, be above the cloud cover!
And there was blue skies!! Yay well blue skies that came and went very quickly, depending on the wind. The first crater was a stunning stop (when we could see it!) It was totally worth waiting 5 minutes to see if it would clear enough for another photo.
Can you spot Jake off in the distance?!
The second summit though – what a view! Haha. By this time the cloud cover had thickened quite and bit and it was even starting to rain. We pretty much couldn’t see a thing at all haha. But that didn’t stop me from posing in front of the view of nothing. It was super cool to be walking around at 10,000 feet. You definitely can tell the change in altitude and there was large signs everywhere saying – WALK SLOWLY because you might be affected by the altitude level. Haha I loved the feeling!
Now who wouldn’t want to have a photo with a surf board fence! I found this little photo spot after doing research on what to see in Paia and this popped up. It is a copy of one that is more on the road to Hana, but the colours were so gorgeous that we could’t resist stopping for some photos. I mean!!!
Also being in Hawaii means you can wear flowers behind your ear and you really don’t feel out of place at all!!
However the hightlight of Paia was that it is where we spotted our only sea turtle of the trip! (Seriously we need to go back to Hawaii just to see more of these guys!).
All in all Paia is a cute little surf town with some extremely awesome street art. Also it has another Ululani’s shave ice shop (nup we didn’t get any we were completely full after our seafood dinner!).
5. Beach Parks
We discovered that all along the West Coast of Maui, there is a massive stretch of the main road that has stunning mountain ranges on one side and beach parks with water less than 100 metres from the road on the other. Jake would prefer to spend all day looking at the water, while I was quite content with looking at the mountains! We decided to stop at one of the parks on our way back from Lahiana for dinner and to watch the sunset over the water.
I had spotted quite a few of the beach parks with huge pieces of driftwood just right on the beach and I was super keen to get out and try and capture some photos. Plus have a bit of fun climbing the driftwood and running along the sand!
So there are my 5 highlights! I’ve could’ve done so many more and there was plenty of places we didn’t get to in Maui this time around, like the Road to Hana (don’t worry that’s on the bucket list for next time!). Have you been to Maui before? What are some of your favourite memories??