Exploring Maui

Known as the “valley isle”, Maui is a long isthmus only 12 kilometres across, wedged between two extinct volcanoes. More laidback than the citified Oahu, which is just a 35-minute flight away, Maui has been voted best island in America for nearly two decades running.
Haleakala National Park
Heading to the summit of Haleakala, an extinct shield volcano that rises 3000 meters out of the ocean, to watch the sunrise is a gold standard tourist attraction in Maui, and one that lives up to the hype. Home to more endangered species than any other place in the national park service, the peak was historically off limits to mere mortals – only kahuna (priests) were allowed to summit – but now it’s one of the biggest attractions on the island.
If you’re not willing to wake up at 3am to make sure you catch the sun peeking over the Pacific, you can enjoy the park throughout the day. With Haleakala Bike Company, bikers can ride 60 kilometres into the crater (where, thankfully, a van picks them up and ferries them up the mountain). Horseback rides through Haleakala with Pony Express tours are also popular, as riders take in ocean views as they meander through cattle ranches.
Web: www.bikemaui.com, www.ponyexpresstours.com
Flyin’ Hawaiian
Zip-lining is a popular activity on all the Hawaiian islands, but Maui lays claim to the course that boasts the most superlatives. Flyin’ Hawaiian is not only the highest and fastest zip-line on the island, it is the longest in the archipelago. The course traverses between two different towns, following four kilometres of ridges, valleys and forests, all under the natural canopy of the West Maui Mountains.
While speeding over Maui’s gorgeous valley at 80 kilometres per hour is a thrill, a lot of the excitement is thanks to the guides themselves. A crew of rough and tumble guys who introduce themselves on the ATV ride up the mountain are on hand to make sure everyone has the best time possible, including enthusiastically advising you to flip upside on some of the shorter runs to spice things up. Hit them up for advice on the best local eats, where to find shady grottos with turtles and more – they’re happy to do everything they can to make sure every aspect of your trip is as memorable as that last 1100 meter zip.
Web: www.flyinhawaiianzipline.com
Local Tastes Of Maui Food Tours
Maui has so much more to offer than the big resorts that line the beaches, and Local Tastes Food Tours was created to help visitors experience the offbeat areas that locals call home. Tucked away in the rural northwestern slopes of Haleakala known as Upcountry, Makawao is a living monument to the paniolo culture of the early twentieth century, when Hawaiian cowboys ruled the area, hitching their horses to posts that still stand outside saloons and restaurants, like the famous T Komoda bakery. Today the area has a thriving local art scene, and Local Tastes incorporates that into their twohour Makawao Food & Art Tour that takes you through a special plate lunch and into galleries all around the town square. At the end of the tour, you receive a discount card for the places you visited, plus the feel-good afterglow knowing that 10 per cent of your tour ticket was donated to animal welfare organisations in the area.
Web: www.localtastesofmaui.com
Where To Stay: Grand Wailea
This resort on Maui’s southwestern coast is owned by the Waldorf Astoria, and the level of luxury one expects from the Waldorf is imported to this sunny property. Great for families, the network of swimming pools includes a wet playground with grottos, white water rapids, waterfalls and seven water slides. (They also offer the Hibiscus Pool, a kid-free space, for those looking for a quieter swimming experience.) The beachfront property offers placid waters and complimentary morning yoga classes – a zen retreat from the daily grind – and there are three 18-hole golf scuba diving pool designed for lessons.
Make sure you book a dinner at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the floating seafood restaurant that will wow you with its décor and Pacific Rim dishes, like macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi and the best diver scallops we’ve ever tasted. Named after Hawaii’s state fish, the restaurant is sheltered by Polynesian thatched hut roofs under which tropical fish swim happily, luckier than the lobsters in the saltwater lagoon that are destined for your dinner plate.
Web: www.grandwailea.com