Road to Hana

Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Road to Hana

Hi Everyone,

I'll be travelling to Hawaii as a first time trip in May. Staying for a week each on Oahu & Maui. I am beyond excited as you can imagine and am enjoying reading all my Hawaii books and www info. I had a Road to Hana question.

I was going to book a convertible for my time in Maui. I was just wondering if it would be ok to drive a convertible on that road. From what I have read, there are no restrictions from the car rental companies. I believe I've even read on here that other people have done it. Obviously, I know the road is twisty and passable by one car in some areas, so we have full intention of taking our time.

I'm just wondering if there are large ruts or potholes that we would have to be concerned about. What about the pullouts for some of the stops along the way? Would they be easily accessible in a convertible due to the ground height clearance?

Thanks for any help!
Sadie_Molloy is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:52 AM
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I [seriously] do not understand what the lack of a top on a vehicle has to do with it's ability to drive/ground clearance.
sf7307 is online now  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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we drove all the way around in our convertible mustang, and had no issues with the car.

However, our one disappointment was that the north road, the Hana Highway, is the rainier part of Maui. It rained all the way from Paia to Hana, so we had to keep the top up. We had bright sun on the other side, all the way home though. It was nice to drive with the top down.
china_cat is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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We drove a convertible on the road to Hana and enjoyed it. The stretch AFTER Hana, that is typically off-limits to renters of cars (at least it was 10 years ago when we were there) is the rough part that would be more difficult for a convertible, which I believe is typically lower to the ground than a 4-wheel-drive SUV would be. At that time, car renters were supposed to turn around at Hana, and retrace the route home.

We know this from .... ahem...personal experience when we decided to go ahead and continue on the road we weren't supposed to drive on. Though we made it with no car damage, there were some extremely rough sections and we could see why rental companies would prefer their cars not be driven on that stretch. We went slowly and carefully but an SUV, say, with higher ground clearance, would have been a much better vehicle than the convertible for that stretch of the road.

I'd be interested to know if that part of the road has been improved in the last 10 years. It was extremely isolated.

The difference in driving was enough to make me rent an SUV for the next part of our trip, in Kauai, but as it turned out a convertible would have been just fine there!

Have a great trip.
bakerstreet is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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We rented a Mustang convertible on one of our visits to Maui because we thought it would be a cool thing to do. It wasn't. The hot sun beating down resulted in our keeping the top up most of the time. (And it was a lousy car.)
dbdurand is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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bakerstreet, we did the ride this past September. I don't believe it was called out in our rental agreement, but I am not certain. In any case, the south part of the road was fine. Some of it was unpaved, but quite well graded. I think there were some rough spots, but nothing that even came close to causing an issue for our car.

I'm pretty sure Neopatrick did the same thing, in the same kind of car a couple weeks after we did, with no problem.
china_cat is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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This is a good Maui map. It shows the area where some car rental companies do not allow (or do not want) people to drive. Most do anyway. It is less than a 10 mile stretch.

lots of other Maui websites:
dusty56438 is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 05:19 PM
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The portion of the road past Hana has been improved since 10 years ago. A convertible to Hana and back would be very nice, but if you plan to go past Hana a 4wd vehicle would be best.
montereybob is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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There is no restriction on the road to Hana and all the way around the south. It is a continuously improved road, and you do NOT need a 4WD. Past Hana and the gulch, it is a spectacular look at the dry side of the island, the "back" side of the volcano; the ocean views are spectacular. Relax and enjoy. (I've done it in an economy rental for 20 years, and have had absolutely no problems!)
sylvia3 is online now  
Old Jan 26th, 2010, 09:10 PM
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sf7307. My concern (seriously) is that I know that a convertible such as a Mustang or a Seabring is lower in height to the ground than most full size vehicles and all Suv's & Jeeps. Thus the reason for my inquiry. Not knowing if the road is partly dirt, full of potholes, etc., I think it was a legitimate question and really had little to do with the "convertible" part of the vehicle (seriously).

To everyone else...thanks so much for your helpful comments!

I realize there are downsides to the convertible (hot sun, rain) but we have rented a convertible on a few other trips. Even if you just get to take advantage of it for a little while, there's something very freeing about driving with the top down! It does offer better protection than my husband's first choice for the Hana trip, which was a motorcycle!

We are planning on going as far as the Gulch.

Sadie_Molloy is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2010, 05:46 AM
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The road is really smooth, no problem for a convertible.

Yes we drove in & out of rain when we drove it.

The convertibles look kinda goofy there as they are either all baby blue mustangs or silver sebrings. & it seems like there is 1 out of every 5 cars on the road.
xroads is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2010, 05:59 AM
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I drove a Mustang convertible the full route, coming in from the south route and out the usual route (after a three night stay in Hana. Count me among those who had to keep the top up on the Road to Hana (my return) as it rained the whole way. I can't imagine any issue anywhere (including the very rough southern route) where the clearance or anything else would be a problem. Nor do I understand a reason at all for a four wheel drive car going beyond Hana (including all the way around). Parts of the road are very dusty, unpaved, and fairly rough -- but nothing that a standard vehicle can't easily handle.

One note about convertibles. I rented Sebrings and Mustangs on the various islands, and I learned the problem with the Sebring is that there is almost no room to put luggage in the back if you want the top down. So if you're hauling luggage around, it becomes a real pain. The Mustang on the other hand has much more luggage space that it is unhampered by the top storage. And I liked the handling of the Mustang better. And I won't talk about the brake failure of the Sebring.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Old Jan 27th, 2010, 11:50 AM
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I'm fairly certain you're the one who posted info here a year or more ago with a lot of detailed information about Hawaii. I saved the post to word format and I ended up with 8 pages of very useful information! It was my starting point for planning my trip and has turned into my ending point as well.

If it wasn't dusty, thank you to whoever did post it. For anyone thinking of going to Hawaii, I highly recommend you search the old posts to find the one I'm referring to.

The TripAdvisor post you linked is great. Do they have one for Oahu as well. I searched around a bit but I couldn't get anything as detailed to come up.

Sadie_Molloy is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Oahu driving tours, maps, websites:

Oahu info:
dusty56438 is offline  
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