Upcountry Maui Magic – From Pukalani to Haleakala to Kula

Sitting tranquil on the gentle slopes of Mount Haleakala, much of this area—from Pukalani and Makawao to Kula and Ulupalakua—allows for commanding views down to Maui’s central plain, across to the majestic West Maui Mountains. It’s sunny but cool. It’s country with a touch of sophistication. It doesn’t get much better than this. Upcountry Maui is a must when visiting.

Upcountry Maui

 

Upcountry Maui Magic_Protea
ONE OF THE DREAMIEST PLACES IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS IS UPCOUNTRY MAUI.

There are two ways to approach Upcountry Maui. One is to head straight to the top of Haleakala, witness the glorious sunrise, then slowly make your way down, exploring all the quaint roadside offerings of Upper Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Pukalani and Makawao.  An equally satisfying approach is to concentrate on a leisurely drive from the shoreline at Paia to the ranchlands of Makawao, ending up in Ulupalakua, with splendid mountainside views of West Maui and neighboring islands in the distance.

Upcountry Maui Magic_Paia

This slower day trip can begin with a walking tour of Paia, an old plantation town that has come to life again with the vitalizing injection of surfer and windsurfer energy. There are all sorts of amazing restaurants and artsy boutiques that cater to the visitor and surf culture. Paia is the spot to pick up snacks and cold drinks to enjoy along the drive up the mountain.

Baldwin Avenue ascends the slopes of Haleakala, connecting to the old plantation town of Haliimaile via Haliimaile Road, worthy of a short side trip and visit to the historic Haliimaile General Store. Years ago, the store was transformed into a popular world-class restaurant by celebrity chef Bev Gannon. Return to Baldwin Avenue and continue your ascent to the town of Makawao, where paniolo (cowboys) rub elbows with artists.

Visit with a certified professional guide to see the best of the upcountry towns, including a lavender cafe and a bakery as well as the beautiful ranches that border them. As a Haleakalā National Park authorized concessionaire, Valley Isle Excursions provides tours throughout the day including the popular Majestic Haleakalā Sunrise and Volcanoes of Maui tours.

UpcountryMagic_KulaLavenderUpcountry Maui lands, which include Upper and Lower Kula, are fertile ground for small farms, which raise everything from sweet Maui onions and lettuce to exotic protea and lavender. The good earth here is fed by generous rainfall and cloud-softened sunlight, making its goat dairy, botanical gardens, wine vineyard and inventive cottage industries famous around the world.

In recent years, ranches have made their fascinating lifestyles available to the general public, with activities such as horseback rides and zipline adventures NorthShore Zipline Co.  The upper elevations are home to a vast rainforest and various life zones that provides a buffer between the populated areas and Haleakala National Park, one of the island’s most popular destinations. Other favorite sights include blooming jacaranda trees, Kula Lodge and tiny Rice Park at Keokea.

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Photos by Brett Uprichard; Shulevskyy Vololdymyr / Shutterstock.com; Tami Kauakea Winston / Photo Resource Hawaii

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