The night before we drove the Road to Hana the biggest storm Maui had seen in two years kept us awake until the early hours. When our alarm went off at 7am (we aimed to set off early) the power in our hotel, and much of the west side of the island, was out.
We worried we wouldn’t even be able to pick up our car up due to lack of electricity and then we debated if it was a good idea to drive along a narrow, winding highway in wet conditions. As we had only booked a car for one day on Maui and we didn’t have budget allocated for a second day, we decided to go for it anyway.
Of course, I’m sure that the drive would have been easier and the waterfalls and parks that line the road more accessible if it hadn’t been soaking wet and raining, but I’m still certain we made the right decision to drive the Road to Hana. Even on a miserable wet day, it was incredible.
My number one tip for the Road to Hana is to download the GyPSy Guide Road to Hana app. The tour guide commentary gives you a flexible itinerary and tells you some ‘must see’ stops on the Road to Hana, then gives a potted history of the area and Hawaii on the way back. It’s easily worth the $4.99 price tag! The app also stops and starts automatically as you pass waypoints so it’s super easy to use.
Despite the rain and forecast of it not letting up I optimistically packed my swimming gear in the hope that I might still take a dip in one of the many waterfalls. I had to make do with seeing them from the side of the road, sadly, as the conditions made the climb down to popular swimming spots dangerous.
One stop that’s perfect for a wet day is the Keane Arboretum where you can take a well laid out, flat trail to see rainbow trees and other Hawaiian botanicals up close.
Our guidebook suggested that we should eat before the trip or take a packed lunch as there aren’t many places to get food on the road. Although there aren’t a ton of places to get food there are several small cafes and food trucks around the 29-mile mark. They all looked incredible so it’s fine to plan to eat on the road!
Despite having had a huge Loco Moco for breakfast we couldn’t resist a freshly made banana cake when we stopped at Ke’Anae (around mile 17). Aunty Sandy’s put in a new batch every 2 hours so you’ll always be guaranteed freshly baked cake.
It’s not hard to see why, seeking solitude and an escape from his fame, George Harrison chose to come and live in this part of the world. There are still very few hotels and zero chance of a tour bus making it down the winding, bumpy road.
Hana itself is a nondescript town with little more than a couple of art galleries, a gas station, and a plant nursery by way of shops. The Road to Hana is certainly about the journey rather than the destination.
Even on a wet, miserable day, it’s not hard to see why the Road to Hana is regularly included on ‘The World’s Best Drives’ lists. Judging by the lush green foliage and gushing waterfalls, dry, sunny drives along the Road to Hana are few and far between so just don’t forget to pack your raincoat and umbrella.