The road to Hana and beyond

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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:15 AM
  #1
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The road to Hana and beyond

Hello everyone, my husband and I will be flying to Maui in October and plan to drive the Hana Highway. We're debating about whether it's worth driving beyond Hana and making the complete loop around the Haleakala crater. Maui Revealed suggests doing so but doesn't give any time or mileage information. I know it's 55 miles and about 4 hours to Hana and, since we won't be staying in Hana, we'll need to get back to Wailea by the end of the day. We could backtrack but thought it might be more interesting to go all the way around.

Has anyone gone around the entire crater? Was it worth doing? How long did it take?
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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I did the circle but in the opposite direction (counter clockwise). I stopped at the seven "sacred" pools and had lunch in Hana. If I remember correctly with stops it took us about 6 hours.

Note rental car companies don't allow you to take the car on the dirt road past Hana. We did and didn't think the road was that bad but it probably depends on how much rain the area gets.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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The road around that part of the island (the crater is the top depression area of a volcano, you won't see that unless you make a trip up Haleakala) is spectacular, very different; arid, in places seems to be desolate, but the spectacular rugged coast and volcano dry side views are well worth it. We drove it in June, and thought the road was just fine, although slow going in places because of narrow spots and gravel. The emergence from desert terrain into rainforest on the west side (where you are tantalizingly close to Wailea, but that road has been closed for years) is a wonderful example of microecosystems! We never backtrack, and enjoy that very different aspect of Maui--you could stop at Tedeschi for a wine tasting as you round that part.
The time to travel is not bad, but don't expect to be going 55 mph (you won't want to, anyway). If you were starting the road to Hana in the early a.m. (good idea), and not making lots of stops, look to arrive at Wailea mid-afternoon. We stopped lots (including the black sand beaches and lava tube swim at the state park), at every waterfall, Oheo Gulch ("seven sacred pools"), and along the highway for photos, and made it back to Wailea by 7 p.m. (oops, that includes a Costco stop, so maybe even earlier?)
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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By the way, 4 hours to Hana? Only if you crawl and stop at every possible pull out and tropical this or that, or whatever, along the way--tho the state park (and after Hana) seven pools are worth the side trips.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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And, the rental car thing is bs. Know the real rules, not the silly disclaimer on the free map.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 09:24 AM
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Nothing in our rental car agreement said anything about not taking that road. Do the whole loop (but leave EARLY). In some ways the back side of Haleakala was the most scenc part of the trip.

Syliva's comments about SUDDEN change from desert to lush green just before the winery is VERY true. Even by Hawaiian standards (where this sort of change is fairly common) the switch occured very quickly.

Pretty darned cool in my opinion.

Ken
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Aug 25th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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And the sun setting over the curvature of the ocean is a wonderful thing on the return leg of that round trip.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Thanks to all for your advice. Looks likes it's definitely worth getting up early and doing the whole loop. A lot of the travel books make the entire trip pretty scary sounding but I now understand that there's just a short span of rough road and not much to worry about. We'll just take it slow and enjoy the ride and scenery along the way!
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Aug 25th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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have a great time! and don't forget, sunset from the top of Haleakala for many is way better than sunrise...
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Aug 25th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Author: sylvia3
Date: 08/25/2005, 11:19 am

And, the rental car thing is bs. Know the real rules, not the silly disclaimer on the free map.

Wrong. Check the Hertz web site. Following is a direct quote from their rental restrictions.

Driving is not allowed beyond the 7 Sacred Pools or on all unpaved roads.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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If you leave in the morning I would suggest NOT going counter clockwise. You will be running into a lot of cars heading towards Hana and will be turning out more than you would like. That is particularly important past Oheo Gulch where the road is really just one lane in many places.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 03:46 PM
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then don't go hertz; most rental companies state no travel on "unimproved roads" which a state highway regularly groomed and planed is not. (However, they might not come and get you if you take a pothole at 50 mph and do something nasty...)
(I'm a paranoid safety nut and have actually done a lot of reading on Maui rental cars.) And, I agree that with the flow to Hana is best (earlier the better)
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Aug 25th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Actually, Sylvia's advice is still good - check the rental agreement, not the map. In theory they should both say the same thing, but the fact is, what you signed and agreed to is what counts - not any other literature that they provide.

I looked our Budget agreement over pretty carefully and saw nothing about the road beyond the Seven Sacred Falls. It may have been there, but I sure as heck didn't see it - and I was looking for it.

Ken
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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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I read here that some stretches of the new road on the return is so smooth that your children could glide away on skateboards.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 09:35 PM
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Max -

Yeah, when we finally hit the smooth section I felt like stopping the car, getting out, and kissing the asphalt.

The longgggggg section prior to that is fully paved, but much worse in my opinion than the unpaved part since it's a solid mass of patches for many miles. I have truly never seen a road that was so patched.

Ken
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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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LordBalfor, when were you last in Maui? Is it possible that the badly repaired road has been moderately improved since then? My guess is probably not but thought it was worth asking.

I remember our last trip to Hawaii... we were in Kauai and trying to reach a beach called Polihale Beach. To get there we had to deal with a 3-mile, impossibly deep pot-holed and unpaved road. By the time we got there, we were both completely frazzled. Fortunately, the beach was beautiful, uncrowded and worth the effort. I imagine we'll feel the same on this trip.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 04:54 AM
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Reverse road to Hana is less #39;(frazzling than drive to Polihale, you can even stop for andHaagen Dazs along the way as we did on day#2 of '03 Trip Report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34456218

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Aug 26th, 2005, 04:55 AM
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Cdauphin -

We were just there in May and I'd pretty much bet that section of road is still the same. Here's a couple of photos of that section:

http://community.webshots.com/photo/...58232065xMBOab

Click the "View Full Size" link to REALLY see what I mean. It was a solid sheet of patches - so much so that I couldn't tell what part of the pavement (if any) was the original road. Never seen anything quite like it. It wasn't a "rattle your teeth" kind of rough (hence there was no need for a 4WD vehicle) as it had no potholes. It was just a terrible, terrible patching job that went on and on and on for mile after mile.

As I mention, when suddenly it finally ended (upslope from La Perouse Bay) the change was sudden and remarkable with the result that the road felt as smooth as glass.

Except for sections where new bridges were built along the way (all of them with short stretches of smooth blacktop) the entire road here was essentially 1 lane (actually 1.5 lanes), but as you can see it didn't really matter as there was usually lots of room to pull over if you met someone coming the other way. Not that that ever happened to us. This was one of the loneliest stretches of road I have ever seen.

Ken
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Aug 26th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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Ken, thanks for the photo. Now I see what you mean. Not as bad as the insanely large and deep potholes we encountered for miles on end, just more like what you'd expect at a test facility for shock absorbers or suspension systems. The scenery is beautiful, though, so looks like it will be well worth the "inconvenience." And personally I like the isolation myself, which is why we'll be getting up early that morning to avoid the crowds in the morning.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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I couldn't tell from your post if you are planning on doing this, but from experience, let me just say, I do not recommend doing sunrise at the crater & then the road to Hana - I did this a few years ago - yes, we drove all the way around, I would recommend that, and we were in a normal rental car - you feel like you're driving on the moon at times! But combined w/sunrise it makes for a VERY VERY long exhausting day and you won't be able to enjoy or see all that you'd like to! (we were staying in Kaanapali - we left the hotel @ 3:30am I think, and got back after 8:30 pm - stopping for dinner in Lahaina; exhausted or not, we had to have some food!
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