Dominated by the massive shield volcano Haleakala, whose surrounding crater is recognised in Hawaiian folklore as the home of the grandmother of the demigod of the same name, Maui is a geologically diverse island that is known for its windswept shorelines and undulating terrain.
Cascading waterfalls, hidden pools, lush rainforests and the remote town of Hana can be found on the island’s east coast, discoverable by the legendary Hana Highway.
The world-renowned Hana Highway
This snaking road shadows the coast, traverses narrow bridges and winds around rugged cliffs that plunge into the ocean below. Adventuresome visitors to the island are encouraged to tackle this rewarding route, stopping along the way to take in the panoramic views and sample local cuisine from the handful of stalls that line the road.
Maui is the whale-watching hub of the archipelago, attracting countless pods of humpback whales during their migration from the waters of Alaska each Autumn. Visitors to the island can snorkel among turtles and fish in these biodiverse waters or embark on a submarine tour to experience the wonders of the deeper ocean and perhaps spot a whale or shark.
Activities on the island
No visit to Maui would be complete without attending a traditional luau, the ultimate celebration of Hawaiian culture. Listen to the blow of conch shells, sip on Mai Tai cocktails and watch as the exhilarating cultural narrative unfolds in a swirl of colourful Polynesian hula dancing.
On Maui, it is also possible to visit an organic lavender farm, hike in the mountains, join a zip-lining adventure, swim in waterfall pools or partake in a sunrise bicycle tour amongst the island’s dormant volcanoes.
The nearby island of Molokai
Located off the north-western coast of Maui is a small but noteworthy island named Molokai, host to a spectacular coral reef. The island of Molokai also boasts the tallest sea cliffs in the world, towering 1,200 metres above the ocean.
Those wishing to get in amongst these soaring sea cliffs can fly to this rural island and either hike or ride a mule down to the small community of Kalaupapa, navigating the steep route with the aid of a multiplicity of hairpin turns.