Maui, Hawaii

Category: Maui to-do

Hiking in a Pine Forest

waihou trailThis weekend our family went hiking on the Waihou Springs Trail. Actually we had planned to go to the Makawao Forest Reserve, but after doing a bit of reading, decided this one would be more up our alley. It is designated for hikers only, and is a short 2.5 mile loop hike (as opposed to 5.7 miles) with no bikes. Perfect.

To get there, you drive to Makawao, and then turn right (up the hill) at the only four way stop in town (Makawao and Baldwin Ave). When you turn right at this intersection, you are actually on Olinda Road. You follow Olinda for 5+ miles into the Waihou Springs State Forest Reserve. The road is narrow and winding and in parts quite steep (go slow). After passing the bird sanctuary you will see parking for it on the right hand side of the road (by an experimental pine forest).

Waihou trail
pine needles on Maui?
pine cones on Maui!!
pine cones on Maui!!

The hike itself is a relatively easy walk through the forest. Watch out for tree roots. There are a lot of pine needles and later leaves on the path. If it’s wet or muddy, I imagine hiking here would be very slick. We didn’t quite walk down to the Waihou Spring (a side-trail off the main trail) as the path was narrow and steep and a little more excitement than we had in mind for a Sunday afternoon walk.

We picked the perfect afternoon – it was dry, the sun was shining. Within the forest it was about 72F (perfect weather for walking or hiking).

The kids tried to talk us into dinner at the Makawao Steak House or at minimum the Stop Watch (sports bar in Makawao). Instead we stopped at Costco, bought steak and bbqed it at home. A perfect afternoon!

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Lahaina and the Maui Tropical Plantation

My hunny is away, so today the kids and I spent a fun day doing Mom-son stuff. Lahaina was on the agenda (we had to make a stop at the Adidas outlet store for some new shoes) and without Sig present we had a big decision to make…. where to have lunch? In seven years of living on Maui we have twice NOT gone to Bubba Gump’s when in Lahaina – yes, Sig is a huge fan of Bubba Gump’s. To be fair, it has a great location on Front Street, the building being on stilts over the ocean, but…. I like a little variety. (FYI, the other two places we’ve been were Longhi’s and Pi Artisan Pizza – both very good).

our burgers at Cool Cat Cafe

Today’s lunch choice was the Cool Cat Cafe for some burgers. This restaurant is located on the top floor of the Wharf Cinema Center across from the Banyan Tree. Our burgers were excellent, and honestly, we should not have ordered the shared basket of fries… we had way too much food.

After lunch we headed across the street to a fun gift/clothing shop, Maui Memories, owned by Austrian transplant Dany White. This shop relocated from Wailea to Lahaina a few years ago and is now in the old Pioneer Hotel building, also across from the Banyan Tree. I had a gift certificate burning in my pocket and found some beautiful abalone jewelry for myself ‘for Mother’s Day’.


On the way home… a stop at the Maui Tropical Plantation

After some successful shoe shopping, we headed back towards Kihei where we took a little detour to visit the local ducks at the Maui Tropical Plantation. If you haven’t been here, do go check it out – it’s only about five minutes from North Kihei! Apart from the obligatory gift shop, they have repurposed some old sugar cane factory gear in their landscaping and an actual steam engine in the bar at the Mill House. So very cool. I have yet to come hear for dinner or drinks, but it’s on my list…. Additionally they have a (beginner) zipline, coffee roaster etc.

A train in a bar? Yep! Only on Maui 🙂

What a fun day! Unlike the Anaheim Ducks (who were soundly defeated by the Edmonton Oilers today – oh dear), the local ducks were in great spirits, happily eating what kids were feeding them 🙂

Now back to the grind – cleaning and doing homework for the kids, blogging and making dinner for me.

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August happenings on Maui

Coming to Maui and curious to check out some local events? Here are a few August happenings to check out:

  • Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, the Musical, at the Castle Theater (Maui Arts and Cultural Center) in Kahului. August 5-7, 12-14
  • 9th annual Seed to Cup Coffee Festival at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Saturday, August 13
  • Maui Calls: Celebrating Vintage Hawaiian Fashion, A&B Amphitheater August 19
  • Zootopia, Starry Night Cinemal at the A&B Amphitheater (Maui Arts and Cultural Center) – August 26
  • Ku Mai Ka Hula Competition – Maui’s only adult hula competition, at the Castle Theater (Maui Arts & Cultural Center). September 10. Tickets on sale now.

Curious to find some of this local activities information? Check out the Calendar Maui for a great list and starting point. Sometimes they miss things, but it’s the most comprehensive list I’ve come across.

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Check out the Maui Film Festival June 15-19!

Are you a movie buff? Check out Maui’s very own Maui Film Festival next week – June 15-19!

There is a whole line up of movies that will be shown in three different locations.

maui film festival
The setting for the Celestial Cinema – amazing view from the top of the driving range at the Wailea Emerald and Gold courses. This is also the location of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

The Celestial Cinema under the Stars is located at the Wailea Gold and Emerald Course above Gannons. Specifically, it is on the unique driving range which is on a hill, sloped like an amphitheater. Yes, it is outdoors! So bring your low beach chair or towels to sit on (please don’t bring the condo blankets, they usually don’t fit in the apartment sized washer/dryers). Parking is available at the Wailea Special Event parking lot – this is the grassy area across from the Monkey Pod restaurant which has parking lights in the middle of the lawn. There is a free shuttle.

The Castle Theater is at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. This is an indoor theater/concert hall. Typically the overflow parking for events at the MACC is across the street at the University of Hawaii campus (same place you park to go to the swap meet).

On Saturday June 18th there will be a FREE Toes in the Sand Cinema event on Wailea Beach (in front of the Four Seasons hotel).

Additionally there will be special culinary and film maker events, awards presentations etc. Please check out the Maui Film Festival website for much more information and tickets.

Are the movies appropriate for children? As a parent, this is your call. Have a look at the movie list, watch the previews and look the films up online for much more information!

Importantly – for the outdoor film events, come early to claim the best seats! If you have a tall chair, please sit off to the side or in the back so as not to block the view of others. And please, no umbrellas.


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What to do on a rainy day in Kihei?

rainy dayThis morning we woke up to an unusual weather phenomenon in Kihei! It’s raining! Do you know how unusual a rainy day is in Kihei?

Kihei and Wailea lie in the rain shadow of Haleakala. Most of our rain clouds come from the other side of Haleakala (the green rainforesty Road to Hana side). The rain falls on the lush green North/East side of Maui, while Kihei and Wailea get about only 8-11 inches of rainfall a year. Suffice it to say – Kihei residents get a little excited when it rains. Kids run outside to play in the rain, adults contain their enthusiasm by sitting on the lanai with their coffee. Many even bust out their ‘winter clothes’ (long pants and sweaters) and claim it’s cold. Cold? It’s all relative – try low 80s.

Of course, we realize you weren’t planning on a rainy day for your Maui trip, so what to do?

Go for a drive. Did you know, Maui has 30+ different micro climates. Chances are really good that it isn’t raining a short five minute drive from where you are.

Go shopping.

  • Shops at Wailea – they now have paid parking, however the first hour is free. After that, make a minimum purchase of $25 at most shops (including restaurants) and get a parking voucher (don’t forget to ask)
  • Maui Tropical Plantation – this place has been reinvented and is pretty neat. Check out their stores, but also the very cool Mill House bar (with a train engine inside), coffee house and restaurant.
  • Shops at Maalaea
  • Lahaina

Go to the movies at Queen Kaahumanu Center or Maui Mall in Kahului.

Go for lunch.

Go for a walk – it’s just warm rain, pick up an umbrella at the convenience store.

Check out ‘fishes’ the Maui Ocean Center.

What NOT to do when it’s raining?

Please stay out of the ocean, particularly if the water looks brown and murky. Several reasons for that, it could be run-off from land (particularly if it is raining heavily upcountry), it could be run-off from overflowing cess pools (gross). Additionally, sharks tend to come closer to shore to check out the run-off. Just stay out until the water clears up again.

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Upcoming Maui Events

On Maui and looking for something to do? It may be low season on Maui, but there is lots to do! Here are a few upcoming Maui events you may want to check out:

The annual Maui Onion Festival had been announced to be on for this May, but I am not seeing any information on it at this time. Whalers Village in Kaanapali has been undergoing a renovation, so it could be the venue isn’t ready on time.

Also, remember the Maui Swap Meet takes places every Saturday 7am-2pm at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus (across from the MACC).

And yes – we do have spring availability at our condos!

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Free Admission to Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is gearing up to celebrate its 100th anniversary this summer. That’s right! This national park pre-dates Hawaii even being a state (1959).

Haleakala National Park
cinder cone in Haleakala’s crater valley

This week is National Park Week and in celebration of that, there is free admission to Haleakala National Park from April 16-24, 2016. Have you been on the fence about checking out Maui’s resident volcano? This is your week to do it and save the $10/car admission fee!

But what’s there to do on Haleakala? Let me tell you about our mountain! As you may know, the Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity with Maui being the second youngest in the island chain (Big Island is still growing courtesy of its active volcanos – Kilauea has been active since 1983). Maui itself has two volcanoes – the West Maui Mountains being the remnant of extinct volcano Mauna Kahalawai and dormant volcano Haleakala which boasts an elevation of 10,023 ft. Haleakala’s most recent eruption occurred sometime in the 1400s which caused the lava flow down to La Perousse Bay (check it out!). Haleakala has a stunning crater valley – that’s right, there are many cinder cones within the valley. The colors in the valley are just amazing. But, be aware should you hike into it, when the wind picks up, that’s ash flying around you. Bring a bandana or something to cover your mouth and nose.

Saturday April 23rd there will be a special centennial celebration with special junior ranger programs, walks, talks and short volunteer opportunities. Among other things you can plant one of Haleakala’s rare silversword plants (this is the only place in the world they grow).

Don’t enjoy the crowds? Hey – you and I have more in common than you’d think!

  • admire a stunning sunrise or sunset from up high
  • go star gazing (stars begin to pop about one hour after sunset)
  • go hiking – either in the crater or one of many other hikes on Haleakala
  • bring a camera and enjoy some photography

In related news, the US Postal Service is releasing a special edition Haleakala National Park stamp!

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How about rappelling down a waterfall with Rappel Maui?

Are you content with sitting on the beach or going for a beach walk? Or are you an adrenaline junkie? If you crave an adrenaline rush, you may be interested in Rappel Maui. One of our neighbors was telling me about this new business that she has recently become involved in. Personally, I am a beach walker, but this does look pretty cool!

When you drive along the Road to Hana (believe it or not, I have never done this), there are many hikes and waterfalls you can check out. Rappel Maui takes this to the next level, giving you the opportunity to explore some of these vertical terrains with use of fixed ropes. Specifically, some of their runs involve rappelling down water falls. Rappel Maui provides you with all the gear and teaches you how to do this. No experience is necessary, though I would check with them regarding restrictions prior to booking.

Curious? Jody was so excited about this, that I had to look it up and watch some youtube videos. Here is a good one from a few years ago, showing the process.

Note: the Road to Hana is on the rainy side of Maui. When it is raining, creeks and water falls can become quite dangerous. Rappel Maui has alternate locations they use when necessary.

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Easter church services in South Maui

It is hard to believe Easter weekend is just a few days away. Here is a compilation of South Maui church services this weekend.

Last year’s Easter sunrise service at Kihei’s Hope Chapel

Calvary Chapel South Maui: Sunday 8 AM

Hope Chapel Maui: Friday 7 PM, Saturday 6 & 8 PM, Sunday 6:30 AM Sunrise service (bring a chair), 8:30 & 10:30 AM

Keawala’i Congregational Church: Sunday 7:30 AM Sunrise service

Keolahou Congregational Church: 9:30 AM

Kihei Baptist Chapel: Sunday 10:30 AM

Kihei Lutheran Church: Friday 7 PM Good Friday, Sunday 8:30 & 10:30 AM

St Theresa Catholic Church: Friday 12 PM, 7 PM, Saturday 7:30 PM Easter Vigil, Sunday 7 & 9:30 AM (no evening mass)

Please check with the church to confirm service times.

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Party time at Kihei Surfside!

How was your Valentine’s? Do you celebrate this holiday, or is it a non-event for you? It can be tricky to go on a romantic date when you have kids, and so for the past number of years we’ve joined other owners and guests on the oceanfront Kihei Surfside lawn for their annual Valentine’s sunset potluck. This is such a wonderful event! True, this time of year there are a fair number of snowbirds staying at the Surfside (there are families too!), but you know snowbirds are the best cooks!

Valentine's at Kihei Surfside
It’s almost sunset at the Valentine’s party

This year’s festivities went from 5:30-8:30pm (the party ends well before quiet hours, so that’s nice for those who go to bed early). Everyone brought a pupu (appetizer) to share and their own drinks, and enjoyed a sunset dinner, watching whales, blowing conch shells at sunset, listening/dancing to live music (one repeat couple has a great jazzy lovesong repertoire) and visiting with those around you. Don’t know anyone? No problem – meet someone new, most everyone is friendly!

Valentine's at Kihei Surfside
The sun is setting!

Now the sad (for you) news is that we have repeat guests who come every February, so our Kihei Surfside condo isn’t available over Valentine’s. However, Kihei Surfside owners and guests are known for their love of parties – they celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with elaborate turkey dinners, Superbowl, Valentine’s and St Patrick’s Day! They are all celebrated on the beautiful green lawn leased and maintained by the Kihei Surfside from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Kihei Surfside Haleakala
Aerial view of the Kihei Surfside with its great lawn

Regarding the lawn. The Kihei Surfside leases this space, maintains and landscapes this beautiful oceanfront lawn, but the public is welcome to enjoy this park. As per the DLNR lease, weddings and commercial activity are unfortunately not permitted in this space.

Public access to the lawn is from the ocean walkway (coming from Keawakapu beach) and from the Kihei boat launch. Public parking is available in the gravel parking lots next to the Mana Kai or the gravel lot at the boat launch. Please do not park in the Mana Kai or Kihei Surfside paved parking lots as those are strictly for owners/guests staying at those complexes.

See you there!

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