Maui, Hawaii

Category: Maui to-do

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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Where to golf on Maui

If you have been following this blog for some time, you will have noticed that I do not post about golfing. The main reason is, I don’t golf. However, the Pride of Maui recently posted a Top Ten Golf Courses on Maui blog. Please check it out for much information on some of the nicer golf courses on Maui.

If you enjoy golfing but don’t want to break the bank, there are also some less expensive options to golf on Maui.

  1. Maui Nui Golf Course in Kihei. This is the former Elleair course. It is conveniently located right in Kihei (at the intersection of Pi’ilani Hwy and Lipoa). They have a pro-shop, offer lessons, rentals and a restaurant (Kono’s on the Green).
  2. Pukalani Golf Course is located upcountry in Pukalani. Check out their website for a map and directions.
  3. Waiehu Golf Course – this is a County of Maui owned and operated golf course in Waiehu (past Wailuku). It is likely the most reasonable golf course on Maui, with non-resident golf fees at $20 (compare that to $235 at some of the high-end courses).

What is a kama’aina rate? Kama’aina is another word for local or resident rate. Yes, many golf courses and some other activities offer locals a discount to encourage them to also use the facilities. Typically all in the party must show a Hawaii driver’s license or ID to get the rate.

What about club rentals? From what I can see, in most places you can rent from the individual course’s pro shops. There are also a number of individual rental shops. Again, not my area of expertise, so I suggest checking reviews on Tripadvisor or Yelp for more information.

How about lessons? I am happy to recommend Eddie & Renee Lee at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, located above the driving range at the Emerald Course. Renee is also a great kids instructor and regularly hosts kids’ golf clinics. Contact her for details.

How about mini-golf? There is one mini-golf place on Maui, the Maui Golf and Sports Park at Ma’alaea Harbor. They have two 18 hole mini-golf courses, bumper boats, extreme trampoline and a climbing wall on their wedge-shaped lot.

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How to find humpback whales!

It’s that time of year again – whale season! The humpback whales are back in Maui for their annual mating and calving season. Alaskan humpback whales travel 6 weeks to Hawai’i (they particularly love the shallower waters between the Maui County islands – Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lanai and Molokai) where they spend approximately 6 weeks calving or mating before returning home. Believe it or not, they do not eat while they are traveling nor when they are in Hawai’i. We have no krill. Then they journey back up to the cold Northern waters of Alaska where I imagine they begin a feeding frenzy. Talk about a diet plan!

humpback whale 2
whale about to raise its tail

Humpback whales are large – they are roughly the length of a school bus. A calf is between 10-15 feet long at birth (compared to 40-50 feet for adults). Keep in mind, when whale watching, you only actually see the portion of the whale that pops out of the water, often only the water action associated with it.

If you have never gone whale watching, I recommend first learning a bit about humpback whales and their behavior.

  1. The visitor center at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei.
  2. The Maui Ocean Center also has an interactive display which is great for kids.
  3. At minimum, check out this great Humpback Whale fact sheet from the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
humpback whale 2
left is spray from the whale’s blow hole, right is his arched back

Then I recommend going on an organized whale watch. There are numerous boats/companies that will take you out. I like the Pacific Whale Foundation, but have heard good things about other boats also. One thing to keep in mind, the discounted whale watches tend to be fuller which means more people jostling for a spot at the rail for best viewing.

This time of year (January – March especially) you only need to look out at the ocean to see whale spouts (where they blow water up to 20 feet out of their blow hole), splashing, breaches, tail slapping, head lunges etc.

Also, if you go out snorkeling early in the morning, listen for whale song. It can be heard from up to 10 miles away.

Here is a really cool drone video of humpback whales I posted a year ago. Keep in mind, you must keep at least 100 yard distance between your boat/kayak/paddle board and the whale and immediately cut the engine on your boat if you notice a whale closer.

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How about a night at the roller rink?

You may have noticed, it gets dark early on Maui. This time of year it’s dark before 6:30pm, in the summer 7:30pm. So what to do on a warm vacation evening? How about a night at the roller rink?

Kihei is home to Maui’s only roller rink. It is located oceanfront in Kalama Park, also the site of an awesome playground.

roller rinkPublic skate night takes place at the County-owned rink, hosted by parent volunteers of the Maui Inline Hockey Association. Skating is free. You may rent skates for $5 for the evening (skates must remain within the rink), buy socks for $3/pair (or bring your own). There is also a small concession stand. All proceeds go to support Maui inline hockey!

Skate night is held three times a week:

  • Wednesdays 6-8pm
  • Fridays 6-8pm
  • Saturdays 6-9pm

During season you can come down to the rink evenings and watch hockey (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, that is)! Kids start around age 6, we have numerous kids, youth and adult leagues. There’s even drop-in hockey on Monday nights (around 7-ish). Come early and you can borrow some hockey gear! Check at the concession – they have Maui Inline Hockey Association t-shirts and even some retired jerseys available for purchase!

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Where is the best stargazing on Maui?

Do you enjoy stargazing? In case you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty dark on Maui. Street lighting is dim and lights are far apart. Why is this? I’m not sure what the official answer is, but it is probably a combination of economy (power is very expensive at 40c/kwh) and a desire to avoid light pollution. It does make stargazing easier and on most nights we can see a decent amount of stars in our residential neighborhood.

However, on Maui we have this volcano with a good road handy….

Yesterday around 4pm we looked from Kihei up Haleakala and could see the summit (at 10,023 ft) through the clouds. So we took the one hour scenic upcountry drive from Kihei to Kula Lodge (3200 ft elevation). Kula Lodge is known for its great views and pizza oven. We were in the middle of a shifting band of clouds, so the view down to Kihei/Maalaea was a bit hazy, but beautiful nonetheless.

view from Kula Lodge
Looking from Kula Lodge towards North Kihei/Maalaea, pizza oven in the foreground

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Big waves hit Maui’s North Shore for Great Surfing!

We’ve had a crazy busy weekend and I missed it! The waves were pumping on the North shore, according to what I’m seeing online with up to 50 ft waves! Crazy! They’ve apparently died down but are expected to pick up again in the coming days.

This weekend the Pe’ahi (Jaws) Challenge was held with professional surfers trying their luck on these giant waves. Check here for the MauiNow news article, look at the Jaws Pe’ahi Maui facebook page for pictures and video.

Where is Jaws? Well, that’s the thing. There is no public access, so to get there you would be trespassing across private property. Event organizers pull special permits, but they do not include public access. However they do televise these events.

Where is the North shore and where can you go see these waves? Well, while not quite Jaws height, Ho’okipa lookout just outside of Pa’ia is one of my favorite wave watching places. The parking lot is busy when the waves are pounding, but it sure is a beautiful place to check out those waves!

Please be careful – these waves are for very experienced surfers and even they get into trouble out there. If in doubt, don’t go out!


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