I never really wrote about our trip to Hawaii in 2012. Since we are still in the grip of winter here, I need to remind myself that summer exists somewhere. So here goes part one of our trip to The Big Island, Hawaii’s wildest.
Part I – Maui’s north shore highlights
We took this trip with Ken’s brother Simo, who met us in the town of Paia on the north shore. We had a few days before catching our Cessna flight to the Big Island to give him a blitz tour of what we saw in Maui the previous year.
We decided to settle in Paia because it was central, removed from the south shore resort land and had some sweet food options too. The town is not quite off the beaten track, since bands of tourists stream through on their way down the Hana Highway’s infamous drive. But few stick around to enjoy the surfer/hippie scene. The town has a beautiful, wild beach where kids hang out and boogie board to exhaustion and elders pay homage to the sea. The spot is a hub of the community since it’s next to sun bleached wooden youth centre. Plus it’s only 3km away from the famous surfing beach of Ho’okipa. The area is not without it’s seedier side, however. Beneath the surface, drug use and unemployment are a thorn in the side of many communities away from the tourist hubs.
The apartment we rented was just a stone’s throw from Cafe Mambo near Paia’s main (only?) intersection. There you could hang with locals into the night eating duck quesadillas, sipping beers and watching Big Lebowsky projections in your most patterned beach pants—classic. The other foodie highlights include: The organic, clay oven pizza place Flatbread. Do like the locals and wash down Mopsy’s Kalua Pork pizza with the tasty Fire Rock pale ale. Or try diy treats bought at the, pricey but stocked, Mana Foods health grocery.
Next on our mini tour was the summit of Haleakala, the volcano that forms 75% the island. It is reached by the fastest climbing road in the world zigzagging 33 times before reaching 10,000ft in. The weather plays a big part in the visit. On a clear morning you can see the outlines of the islands coast all around you, on a gloomy one, nothing but clouds. But patience can pay off too, as weather changes as quickly as the scenery did while you climbed. (FYI, the entrance fee is good for 3 days, in case you plan to visit the other side of the island at the ‘Ohe’o Gulch.)
And then we wound our way down the Hana highway, stopping frequently to stock up on homemade mango bread, hike waterfalls and of course swim.
For more Maui info see the post from 2011.
Next time: The Big Island’s Kohala Coast, including flying in a 9-seater Cessna, a gargantuan King and stargazing at 13,000ft.