Upcountry Maui; A day spent here is a day you will remember way beyond the beaches and resorts. Towns like, Makawao, Haiku, Ulupalakua, Olinda, Kula, and Haleakala are a welcome gift of cool breezes and outstanding views of Maui. Hawaiian heritage is hard to find in the resort areas, but up here the heritage and the ALOHA are alive and well.
Bring a camera and lots of batteries, and a panoramic lens if have one available.
What can you do in upcountry Maui, try this list for a day and wear yourself out;
- Rain Forests
- Multiple Flower Plantations
- Paniolo or Cowboys
- Volcano Park
- Eucalyptus Forests
- Many Waterfalls
- A real Vineyard
- A Redwood Forest and Park
- Mountain Golf Course
- Two huge Cattle Ranches
- Polo Game Field
- Downhill Bike Riders
- Surfing Goats?
- 5 Climate Zones
WHERE IN THE WORLD CAN YOU FIND ALL THIS IN 50 MILES?
How To Get To Upcountry Maui
Starting out in Paia (Rt.36) is the best way to get here. The first stop of interest is the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center. This is the previous home of the Baldwins, not the actors but the pineapple barons of Maui. Studios, artist, lectures, lessons etc. are housed here. There is an hour long self guided free tour.
The first town you come to in upcountry Maui, will be Makawao, you may notice the temperature change starts here, it will get colder as you drive. While at the intersection of Baldwin and Makawao Avenues you have a decision; take the drive up Olinda offering one of the most diverse drives in Maui as the elevation change is dramatic, or head to Kula offering the beginning onto Haleakala Highway. Kula is rich soil and beautiful farms with the lovely tropical flower arraignments you have been seeing all over the island. The climates of upcountry Maui creates different temperature zones and Kula is in the perfect one for growing exotic flowers.
Haleakala highway will deliver you to the Haleakala National Park. It is a must see, but to only see the park means you missed 90% percent of the available sights.
On the way back down the mountain there is two more stops; one in Haiku and the Surfing Goat Dairy below Pukalani.
Look at the list below for the towns in more detail and try to plan out your day or two in Upcountry Maui. This is a driving and walk around region, where you will miss out BIG, if you just drive. Crack the windows of the car and smell the fragrances of paradise mixed with the Pacific fresh air. You may be here only once in your life do not miss this part of paradise. Let Upcountry pull your stress away.
Bring a jacket or sweatshirt with you when your in upcountry Maui, the temperature change will astound you and give that sunburn some natural cool relief.
An early start to this destination will get you into any one of the many early morning coffee houses in Paia.
Upcountry Maui Dining
Upcountry Maui dining is unique in its freshness and integration of locally grown products. Visit our Upcountry Maui dining page to find the perfect restaurant for your perfect day is cool air paradise.
Towns of Upcountry Maui:
Makawao was once Maui's cattle town in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The cattle grown on Haleakala's slopes were loaded at the Makena Landing on the south side of the Island. Presently there are only two major ranches left on Maui but its past is preserved throughout this area in its buildings and land. Wooden sidewalks, hitching post and cattle crossing remind you are still in cattle country.
Pleasant weather, not to wet not to dry and cooler air up here make this an excellent place to live. As in the old west, traditions hold a long time and it is that way with the Komoda Store, 50 years serving the best malassadas (Portuguese doughnuts) get there early in the AM as they sell out quickly.
The streets are lined with unique art galleries, clothing boutiques, and restaurants.At 3000 feet above sea level you not be in the tropics anymore but you can see them from up here.
Olinda is more of a road than a place. The road is across Makawao avenue where Baldwin avenue intersects with it. Slow down and see the scenery, you will be climbing in altitude the whole way.
There are farms, B&Bs, Livestock etc., but the main thing you will notice is the views of North Shore and West Maui. Life up here is cool days and cooler nights with-out tourist traps, it is a breath of fresh air. The July Fourth Rodeo held on Maui every year is in Olinda, as well as the Maui Polo Club which plays on Sundays in season.
The Drive up Olinda will take through Pine and Eucalyptus forests. Upcountry Maui is paradise except cooler, fresher, and visually phenomenal.
Haiku is just above the famous Road to Hana on Haiku Road. This is probably the least known town on Maui. Once a Pineapple Canning town the area now is know for its quiet slow living. Several of the old canneries have been converted into marketplaces. One of the biggest canneries turned marketplace is the Haiku Marketplace. Inside you will find, spas, stores and restaurants. Haiku is a small business town mostly centered on the water sports just down the road at Ho'okipa or Jaws.
Roads here are on the thin side and the abundance of valleys and streams make this area beautiful to drive and explore. Maui Cyclery is located here and I have ridden with them through this area, if your a cycler contact them for a tropical ride you will never forget.
Ulupalakua is and old sugar plantation that has moved into being a great vineyard. Tedeschi Vineyard has a tasting room and a great walking tour of its operations and history. Across the road is the old ranch store that once was the company store. Stop in for samples of teas, and quick lunch. This area is a welcome stop for leg stretching and buying a bottle of wine. The Tedeschi Vineyard tasting room is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Free guided tours of the winery are offered at 10:30 and 1:30 PM. No Reservations are required.
Haleakala National Park makes up the bulk of the summit of Haleakala and the back side of Upcountry Maui, known as the House of Sun, from Hawaiian traditions. It is ultimate place to see the sun rise and set on paradise. At 10,000 in elevation the drive up from Pukalani is as steep as some ski resort slopes. On a clear day you can see the Big Island from up here.
The road up has 33 switch backs to maneuver and many pull offs to see and photograph from. Drive slow and be careful. At the 7,000 foot level you will be at the tree line where the air is to thin for tree growth and scrub brush takes over.
The white buildings at the top are a military Observation area. When at the summit you will see 3,000 feet down into the crater where you can hike all the way to Hana if you like. Cabins down slope are for rent if you can get the reservation in.
One thing to not do on Haleakala is to take a stone or lava rock as it will bring you terrible luck as long as you have it. Leave them where they are please.
There is a tour industry for riding bikes down from the park's parking lot but that is now banned in the National Park part, but you can still ride just outside the gate though, and end up in Paia while only peddling about 500 yards.
The flower basket of Upcountry Maui; Kula offers the perfect growing micro environment. This means you will see lush fragrant flower farms and vegetables. Horses and cattle are seen as well as some of Maui most beautiful homes. In ancient times beach dwellers considered people living up here to be on the stupid side for living so far from the ocean. One view of west Maui from upcountry Maui and you will understand why they chose to live in the clouds.
The Kula Lodge up here offers a luxurious stay and dinner if your so inclined. Surfing Goat dairy will welcome and educate you on farming aspect of goats in paradise. Enchanting Floral Garden, Kula Botanical Gardens, will bring over 700 species of flowers to your gaze. Poli Poli State park has a few cabins and tent sites for rent at $55.00 a night, not to bad for paradise.
Activities up here include Haleakala Ranch, home to Skyline Adventures. Zipline, horse back and ATV tours will take into the hidden areas. Poli Poli State park offers single track mountain biking trails. The Kula Forest Reserve has a 6200' elevation so it will be cool to cold, but no mosquitoes. This forest includes many species of trees even a Redwood Forest and trails to hike through. One the best Mountain biking areas is the trail system here, do something different on your vacation. Click on the link for more information Poli Poli Springs State Park
Check back often we are constantly adding pages and offers. I write pretty slow. You may not be ready to go to maui this year but when you are we will Get You To Maui.