We arrived into Hawaii in the middle of the night. It’s been a fairly long journey too – starting in London, stopping over in Vancouver (one of my favourite Canadian cities) and carrying on to the island of Maui and so you’d think all I wanted to do was go to bed once we arrived but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
For starters, this trip had been on the cards for over half a year and the anticipation had just been building up with each passing month! Then throw in the fact that we’d be staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani and all I wanted to do was race around and check out every nook and cranny of our new home for the next few days.
And that I did!
The Fairmont Kea Lani was absolutely fantastic! The two bedroom villa was spread over two floors, had a kitchen, our own private pool (with the beach literally a few metres away), separate living area and dining area and bathrooms the size of apartments in London! 😄
It didn’t take us long to settle in here! 😀
After a quick dip in the pool and a couple of beers, we called it a night and retreated to bed.
A little sidebar here – if you’re coming to Hawaii from Europe, which feels like it’s one the other part of the world, one of the best ways to visit is to make this a twin-break! Seriously. Stop off in San Francisco for a couple of nights then carry on to Hawaii… or perhaps you wanna swap San Fran for Vancouver… doesn’t matter which city you decide really, it’s just a great way to maximise your holiday time when you’re heading over.
Plus, it’s actually a brilliant way to get really great flight deals as there are no direct flights from London to Hawaii anyway so you might as well fly into a US or Canadian city that has a great deal on offer (price-wise and I guess, sights-wise too) and then bag yourself a flight from said city on to Hawaii.
The following morning, we excitedly hurried off to breakfast – which, I kid you not, was a cornucopia of deliciousness featuring some of my favourite foods!
Breakfast scenes like this overwhelm me 😆… in a very good way though!
I can never quite decide what to get so I get everything! Pancakes, waffles, omelettes made just how you want them, cinnamon pastries, some other pastries I’d never heard of but looked delicious, oats…I kid you not, I made MANY trips back to the breakfast area before calling it quits, grinning like a Cheshire cat as we left the restaurant.
At the Fairmont, there’s a healthy juice bar and induced by my ‘breakfast rampage’ guilt, I decided to grab one (we all did, to be fair)…
…before making our way over to the cabanas, where our plans for the rest of the morning were to kick back and sip Mai Tais in the sun.
Eventually, thoroughly relaxed, we decided to head out to go explore Maui (after lunch, of course).
There’s this long road across the island called the road to Hana which takes ages to drive through so you really need a full day to do it but we figured we might as well see part of it.
We stopped off at the Ho’okipa Lookout, where the surfers were having themselves a field day.
I kid you not – underneath the surfers were turtles, just going about their own businesses, seemingly without a care in the world! Apparently, scenes like this are not unusual when you’re in Hawaii.
Leaving the lookout, we carried on to the Twin waterfalls (we were told this would be a hike so we were bracing ourselves – it isn’t really. It’s super convenient and is like a 5 minute walk from the car park).
Alas, the twin waterfalls were at the moment, a singular one but no less brilliant as a spot to cool off in!
Oh yeah, when you’re driving down the road to Hana – remember to take your swimming trunks/bikini with you, there are so many amazing beaches and spots like this totally worth stopping off in.
Leaving the Twin Waterfalls, we headed over to the Na’ili’ili-haele waterfall, further down the road to Hana.
This one is a bit more of a hike to get to (not strenuous but definitely a lot longer than the Twin waterfalls), as you make your way through a bamboo forest to get to the stream.
The waterfalls by the way, was almost bone dry.
Apparently, there has been barely any rain in the days before we got here (which totally explained why the Twin waterfalls were just one waterfall).
With this, we hopped back into the car, making our way past the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees…
…before stopping off at Ke’Anae – our final stop on the road to Hana.
Despite all this driving, we’d barely scratched the surface of the road to Hana (it’s soooooo much longer) but we really wanted to make it to Haleakala on time for sunset! (You’ll see why a bit further down 😉).
Ke’Anae probably personified a lot of what I guess in some ways, I expected of Hawaii! Wild, rugged and absolutely beautiful!
Waves crashed on jagged rocks, lined by trees making for quite the dramatic sight…
It’s seriously stunning here and literally, within minutes of parking the car, the four of us scrambled off to different corners of this pretty spot to take in the amazing views here (almost forgot to mention – Georgia and Chris were here Lloyd and I).
Keeping an eye out for the time (especially with the drive back), we eventually decided to hop back again into the car and make our way over to Haleakala.
Now, “Why is Haleakala so special?” you might wonder.
Well, it’s the highest point on the island (it’s actually a volcano that makes up about 75% of the island) which I guess is pretty cool but the real reason why this is special is because this is one of the only places in the world you can drive to, to watch the sunset ABOVE the clouds!
At over 10,000ft, the summit takes about an hour to drive to (from around sea-level) and temperatures dip a lot more as you climb – which, being the Hawaii rookies that we were, meant that we were frrrreeeeeeeezing in beach shorts and t-shirts! (I kid you not, I had a towel tied around my shoulders for most of the time).
You very quickly forget how much chillier it is at the top though once the sun starts to set! It’s just so surreal to be watching the sunset above the clouds and is just one of those experience you need to have when you’re in Hawaii!
Transfixed by the sheer beauty of this place, we soaked up every moment of the beauty of that sunset before turning around and realising how utterly stunning and otherworldly the area up here was.
See, we’d hurriedly parked the car to make sure we could catch the sunset (and nab a good spot to do so too) that we hadn’t had a lot of time to walk around the area – which, quite frankly looked like you’d landed on a different planet.
It’s just generally incredible up there and totally worth making the time to visit – plus, you can drive right up to the very top (or take a taxi) which means you have very little reason not to visit.
Thoroughly impressed by the amazing views and sunset from Haleakala (but also super pleased to be back in the car with the heating blasting to the max), we made our way back to the Fairmont for dinner.
Back at the Fairmont, in those familiar tropical temperatures, we’d grown accustomed to in our little time in Hawaii thus far.
For dinner, we headed over to Nick’s Fishmarket. Wasting no time, we started off with cocktails (and a local brew for Chris) before diving into absolutely delicious food!
It was just the perfect way to finish off an amazing day! (Seriously the food here is so good and definitely worth popping in for dinner).
Except, of course, we didn’t finish the day off there.
Before heading back to our villa (seriously, you could fit several London apartments into the size of one of the Fairmont’s villas), we decided to pop the bar for a few cocktails (we’re on holiday after all) – chit-chatting, laughing and re-capping all the absolutely stunning stuff we’d seen today – all the while being amazed by the barman’s sheer skill! 😀
Hawaii was playing out every bit to the tropical treasure we’d hoped it would be and we looked forward to exploring even more of it over the coming days.