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Things to do in Maui

Maui offers a choice of things to do from scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing and sea kayaking to hiking, game fishing and whale watching – perfect for active couples on a romantic honeymoon holiday.

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Exploring the peaks of Haleakala on horseback
Exploring Haleakala on horseback – Image courtesy of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Introducing Maui

Apart from lounging by the pool or on the beach, Maui offers newlyweds an array of top things to do from hiking or horseback riding the slopes of Haleakala to sea kayaking along the scenic Kihei Coast, parasailing off Kaanapali Beach, snorkeling at Ulua Beach near Wailea and scuba diving at Molokini.

Snorkelling

Maui is encircled with great snorkeling sites; some are often just a short swim away from your resort! Some of the best beach spots include Kapalua Beach, Kaanapali Beach, Kamaole III Beach Park, Wailea Beach, Ulua Beach and Hulopoe Bay.

Alternatively, join an excursion to the crystal clear waters of Ahihi-Kinau Nature Reserve on Maui’s rugged south coast; scenic La Pérouse Pinnacle, an 18m-tall pinnacle rising to just 3m from the surface; or the collapsed crater of Molokini, located in a marine preserve 4km off the southwest coast.

Spot some of the more than 200 species of marine life that swim these waters including parrotfish, damselfish, triggerfish and turtles.

Scuba diving

Maui is renowned for its great variety of underwater marine life including more than 100 species endemic to these waters, and is home to several excellent dive centres offering a range of dives to suit all abilities including beginners.

Choose from more than 20 dive sites from the Molokini Crater, La Pérouse Pinnacle and Hawaiian Reef to the Third Tank.

The crescent-shaped, partially submerged Molokini Crater is one of the most popular dive sites in Maui, with the inside crater dropping off to a depth of 46m and the back wall plummeting more than 75m.

With visibility often up to 45m and more than 250 species of fish found at different levels, Molokini is one of the great dives sites of the world. Spot butterfly fish, black-coral trees and cauliflower coral in a shallow dive, or go deep to see rare boarfish, sharks and scores of eels including moray, dragon, garden and snowflake.

See large helmet shells, antler coral heads and schools of snapper at Hawaiian Reef; schooling goatfish at Third Tank; and damselfish, triggerfish and porcupine puffers at La Pérouse Pinnacle.

Surfing

To help you ride that perfect wave, learn the ancient Hawaiian sport of hee nalu (wave sliding) at one of several surfing schools.

Beginners can try the gentle waves in Lahaina Harbour while experts should head to Honolua Bay at Kapalua for waves that often top 6m and Hookipa Beach – one of the world’s prime surfing spots that is also Hawaii’s premier windsurfing beach.

Winter offers the biggest waves for board surfers while summer has the most consistent winds for kite and wind surfers. Typically, during shoulder season weather conditions, the waves are left for surfers in the morning and windsurfers in the afternoon.

Aloha Classic Windsurfing Championships, Maui

Windsurfing

Maui is blessed with Hawaii’s best windsurfing beaches, with Hookipa Beach on the north coast rated as one of the world’s premier windsurfing beach.

Should the beach get crowded try nearby Kanaha Beach at Kahului; and when the wind changes direction head a few kilometres south to Ohukai Park at Kihe on the south coast.

If you don’t have your own gear, it’s easy to rent as well as take lessons from the windsurfing schools in Kahului.

Whale watching

From mid-December to April watch humpback whales frolic, mate and give birth in Maui’s warm tropical waters. Take a whale-watching cruise or ocean kayak excursion from both Lahaina and Maalaea harbours to see this amazing annual migration from Alaska.

Alternatively, head to the scenic lookout at McGregor Point (just before you get to the Lahaina Tunnel); on the beach in front of Olowalu Reef (between McGregor Point and Olowalu); Wailea Beach Marriott Resort on Wailea Beach; and from Puu Olai, located near the Makena Beach and Golf Resort – probably Maui’s best spot for whale-watching.

The 109m-high cinder cone overlooks Makena Beach, with great views across the Alalakeiki Channel between Maui and Kahoolawe.

Hiking

Maui’s tropical Hana Coast and Haleakala's upcountry trails offer numerous hiking adventures through an unspoiled wilderness of native flora and fauna.

Choose from strenuous hikes across the Haleakala Crater to easy walks through the lush tropical valleys of the Iao Valley in the West Maui Mountains.

For two of Maui’s best hikes follow the 4km-long Waihee Ridge Trail and the Pipiwai Trail to towering 120m-high Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park. Tip: For longer hikes, consider taking a knowledgeable guide.

Horseback riding

Soak up Maui’s stunning natural beauty on horseback. Several working ranches offer horses and rides to suit all riding abilities.

Explore upcountry scenery of waterfalls, lush meadows and spectacular mountain views or head to the cliffs, tropical forest and palm-fringed coral beaches of the coast.

Some of the best rides including the mountains above Kipahulu Valley, the lower slopes of Haleakala’s lava fields, the rolling pastures of Olinda and the lush rainforest overlooking the Eki Crater with views to some of Maui’s largest waterfalls.

Cycling

Explore the scenic coastline or take the 64km-long downhill run from the summit of Haleakala volcano to the beach town of Paia on a hire bike.

Golfing

Choose from several championship golf courses known for their challenging fairways, lush greens and spectacular scenery including two par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed-courses at Makena Golf Course on Makena Alanui Drive in South Maui and the three par-72 courses at the Wailea Golf Course at Wailea in South Maui.

Or try the two par-72 courses and a third par-71 course set in the scenic countryside of the Kapalua Resort in West Maui.


Driving

Discover the scenic back-to-nature delights of Maui by hire car: the two best driving tours include the Kahekili Highway from Honokohau Bay in West Maui to Wailuku and the spectacular Hana Highway between Kailua and Hana on the northeast coast.

Kahekili Highway

The sometimes narrow Kahekili Highway offers stunning views along its brief 32km-length, which follows an ancient Hawaiian coastal trail past verdant rolling hillsides, steep ravines, tumbling waterfalls and craggy lava coastlines of spouting blowholes and crashing surf.

‘Ring’ the 2m-high bell-shaped stone at Pohaku Kani, stroll around the picture-perfect village of Kahakuloa, then just before Wailuku at the mouth of the Iao Valley, stop to admire the ancient temples of Halekii Heiau and Pihanakalani Heiau.

The stone walls of Halekii and the pyramid-shaped mount of stones of Pihanakalani, which were constructed in 1240, share a hill top location with panoramic vistas overlooking central Maui and Haleakala. Enjoy the views but don’t walk on the heiaus – it's considered disrespectful.

Hana Highway

Experience one of the world’s most scenic drives on this 81km-long coastal road that crosses 54 bridges and twists through 600 hairpin turns between Kailua and Hana on the northeast coast of Maui.

Enjoy breathtaking views that alternate between lush valleys, dense tropical forest, mountain streams, tumbling waterfalls and plummenting sea cliffs.

Along the route, watch windsurfers dance the waves off Hookipa Beach, cool off with a dip in the deep swimming holes beneath the waterfalls at Twin Falls, see the historic 1853 Kaulanapueo Church at Huelo, admire the forest of shimmering bamboo from Kaaiea Bridge and follow an easy walking Waikamoi Ridge Trail through ferns, eucalyptus and hala trees in the peaceful Koolau Forest Reserve.

Stop for a picnic at Kaumahine State Wayside Park and enjoy stunning coastal views, check out the near-vertical Waikana Falls near Wailua, or wander through ginger plants to the dramatic falls and swimming hole at Puaa Kaa State Wayside Park.

A further 16km beyond Hana, lies the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohea Gulch, a gorgeous series of cascades overlooking the Hana Bay.

Come for a day or stay overnight at the Hotel Hana-Maui then return by way of the Pilani Highway, which flanks the southern slopes of Haleakala.


Latest update Maui honeymoon destination: 11 February, 2017


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