Where to start with this gem?
Maui is a remarkable place. I have never seen such beauty up close (I live in a city – a whole other kind of beauty). But my oh my!
Here is an island with valleys that rival the beauty of the journey taken by the Fellowship of the Ring. Seriously.
The west side of the island is home to the West Maui Mountains (technically it’s called an eroded ‘shield’ volcano) and in the east lies Haleakala (also a shield volcano). It’s over 10,000 ft tall . The size of it is so huge that it’s hard to fathom even when it’s standing right in front of you. I woke up at 2:30 am and took a two hour drive to the summit to watch the sunrise. I will tell you two things about my time up there: it was awesome and it was cold. Yes, you read that correctly – it was cold (4°C to be precise). Here’s my advice if ever you go: wear gloves! Everyone tells you about the jumpers and socks and blankets, but no ones tells you about the gloves! Take them – it was so cold that I could barely press the button on my camera.
Another highlight for me was the Road to Hana. I cannot express how amazingly diverse Maui is in its flora and fauna. We stopped along the way to take in the stunning views and to discover some native plants. We came across lava tubes, which you can swim in! (No seriously, how cool is THAT), but my absolute favourite part of this journey was the black sands.
The sand is black because it’s volcanic (when it comes to Maui, if in doubt about the origin of anything – it’s probably volcanic!). The contrast between the black sand and the vibrant greens and blues surrounding it is striking.
I would also like to add that I have never been to a place that values its natural habitats and its inhabitants so much. Everywhere you look, people are doing their best to protect their island and its ecosystems. This blew me away. I think this is the norm for the whole state of Hawaii, which is excellent and commendable. I hope it’s not too long before more towns, cities, states and countries adopt this attitude.