So excited were we for this day....the majority of it would be spent driving in the car, with intermittent sessions of getting in and out to check out the highlights along the way and snapping some pics. Before we had left for Hawai'i, we were informed of how treacherous this road was and bumpy...it is not! A few years back they had paved the road so it is pretty smooth. However, I do forewarn you to check with the front desk/concierge of your hotel on the road conditions and any road closures the day you intend to travel to Hana. It is very slow going, although Joe probably would've loved to be in a sports car going faster than 15 (or however fast we were going), but at one point we did follow a truck (on the way back) who was going alot faster!
There were tons of things to check out along the way - make sure you stop at the stand where you can purchase your CD and map ($20) - if anything, the map is definitely handy, although overloaded and overcrowded with information and tiny type. The CD was great as it provides interesting information along the way and for first-timers does inform you of when to stop so you don't miss any of the highlights. It took us a few hours to complete the road to Hana - when we got to Hana, we stopped in at the Hana Ranch Restaurant for lunch (food is ok...) and checked the town out for abit, and then headed slightly past Hana to Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) where we eventually turned around and made our way home. Oh yes, I MUST mention that we ran into Rihanna at the Hana General Store! Actually, Joe spotted her as he was there making a purchase while I was in another store - he came to find me to inform me, at which point, I lost interest in what I was looking at, and beelined for the general store. Rihanna walked out (with her bodyguards) just as I was coming up to the entrance and I had to pretend I was going into the store...so I walked about 2 feet into the store, looked up and walked out. Oh...I also mumbled a small "hi" towards the bodyguard...which I'm sure no one heard. I never think I am starstruck until a celebrity is around....another case in point...when Kaylan and I were at the Gwen Stefani concert and she invited one of the front rowers up with her, we looked at one another and screamed "OH MY GOD!!! I wish!!".....starstuck teenybopper I am. But I digress...
If you visit Haleakala or the Seven Sacred Pools together within a 3 day span, make sure you keep your ticket stub from either one, as it will gain you entry into either of the spots. We didn't know this, and I had funnelled our ticket away into my "items to scrapbook" pile, so we never made it past Ohe'o Gulch. Had we, we would've encountered the bamboo forest, another waterfall, and more rainbow eucalyptus trees. Ok...truth be told, we could've ventured past, but the frugal little person in me couldn't justify spending another $10 (yes $10! I can be frugal!) knowing that we could've gotten in for free with the ticket we purchased just a day ago.
Before I continue rambling, here are the stops we made along the way (we didn't stop at every highlight):
Twin Falls - we actually missed this on the way there, and checked it out on our way back...the entire time, I had marvelled at how few bug bites I had recieved (none!) until we stopped here and while I was waiting for Joe to capture the falls for us, I received 15 mosquito bites in under 2 minutes - no lie! Also, we think the other "twin" fall is the slow trickle you see to the left of the waterfall.
Ho'okipa Beach Park - our first stop along the way, so it wasn't very busy in the morning.
Chinese Bamboo - along the highway.
Kaumahina State Wayside Park
Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park
Wai'anapanapa State Park - Pailoa Bay, Lava Tunnel, a blowhole and some really big spiders!! *I don't really know why Blogger compresses the images so small....
Then we arrived in Hana, did our rounds, and continued past...
Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) - I actually thought there was something sacred about these pools, but Joe did some research on google, and they so named the pools as a marketing gimmick to ensure tourists would travel there - it worked!
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
There you have it, our Road to Hana. I would definitely do it all over again, but spend a bit more time in certain locales the next time!