Hello. What are some suggestions you have for doing the drive to Hana? Do you recommend the CD they offer? How early should we get started to get it done in one day? Thank you!
A CD or guidebook will enhance your RTH trip. On the right side of the Maui forum, under "Top Questions" look for the FYI's on the Road to Hana ... lots of good info there. (You've posted this thread in the Lahaina forum, but if you click on "Maui Forums" just above your post, you'll be on the main Maui forum.)
7 a.m. is a good time to start ... count on a 12 hour day, and plan to be finished (back in Kahului) by sunset to avoid driving back from Hana in the dark.Edited: 05 February 2013, 14:32
It is a very long day. 12 hours. We elected to use valley isle tour and had Earnie as a our guide. We loved the trip, so many waterfalls and unbelievable scenery. We had lunch at tropical flower farm. I can't say enough about them
I recommend starting as early as possible, because no matter how early you start, you can't see everything there is on Road to Hana in one day. Starting early means you can fit in more. We tried to be in Paia by sunrise (although we didn't make it . . . just couldn't get moving that fast from the night before!)
A good guide book will really help you figure out beforehand what things you would like to see and what things you have to skip to fit into one day. We used John Derrick's Hana Highway Mile by Mile, which you can get online, and I think you can still get in paper from Amazon.
We used the CD from the Shell Station and enjoyed it. Start early and plan on a full day for the drive. We enjoyed a picnic at Black Sand Beach. :)
Do plan on a 12 hour day. We always go started around 6:00am and were back in Kahului before sunset. Take swimming clothes, towels and a cooler with water and something to eat.
Hana Mile by Mile is the best, most definitive book on the Hana Hwy. A cd or one of those gypsy guides would be good if you want to take them.
I've done the road plenty of times on my own and have done a tour. Enjoy doing it either way. Do check out the Top Questions on Hana. Most of the articles were written by JC Derrick, the author of Hana: Mile by Mile.
Start super early. I've driven it twice with my husband and the first time we started our hike to the Waimoku Falls way too late and literally had to run the whole trail back in the dark. We're lucky we didn't get lost back there. Then I had to drive the entire road back in the pitch black, which in some instances is better cause you can typically see the oncoming headlights coming and there's very little traffic. However, driving there you stop tons of times and it doesn't seem too bad, but driving the entire road straight back is absolutely exhausting! Of course, the second time we went I promised that we would head back much earlier and that we wouldn't take so long at each stop, but sure enough I still ended up driving the entire way back in the dark again. I think our day ended up being 16 hrs driving from Lahaina. Moral of the story: leave super early in the morning, don't linger at each stop forever like I do, watch your time close, and head back earlier than you think you should. It's a very, very long road!
There are several decent guides for the Road to Hana. We've used the one from Snorkel Bob's which is not only very informative, but funny and entertaining as well.
Recently, several folks here in the forum have mentioned the GyPSy Guide Apps for the iPhone. It's a $5 app that uses the GPS function on your phone to guide you along on your drive. I haven't used it yet, but the comments by others in here have been very positive. The developers have an app for the RTH, for Haleakala, and for all of Maui.
As others have said, the RTH is a full day commitment, but with a bit of planning and a good guide, it will be full of adventure. Try to be on the road (Paia) by 7:30 or so in order to give yourself a full day. And pack a lunch / snacks to take with you. Once you leave Paia, there aren't many options for food on the journey.
Can't really add much to the discussion other than to look at a book or two BEFORE embarking on the journey!
It is much better if you plan for a couple of stops then see what happens along the road. We stopped a lot more than I thought we would and loved each and every stop we made. But we still had an outline of the three main stops we definitely wanted to do, which kept us on track, especially to avoid the drive back as one, long journey after dark.
Our three main stops:
Garden of Eden Botanical Garden at the beginning http://www.mauigardenofeden.com
for our picnic lunch break
Oheo Gulch. We had very little time at Oheo Gulch, which I think, most people really enjoy.
We made a few stops, especially to see the falls that are easy to see from the road, on the way back, which I also enjoyed as they were crowd free by 3:00 pm.
Any way you choose, make sure the camera battery is fully charged!
Our first trip we only went to Hana, then turned around and went back.
The next time I was determined to get further than the town, so we actually drove straight through, no stops all the way to Hana. We were there by ten in the morning. Had our lunch down at the bay, a very early lunch though! Then we continued on to Oheo Gulch, hiked to the falls through that amazing bamboo forest, then headed back. We were able to stop at a few places on the way back, but it was still a 12 hour day, easily.
Third time, we stayed a night in Hana! Much better way to go, but it isn't always easy to arrange it that way.
Have a great time out there!