The Famed Road to Hana

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Last summer, I was so fortunate to be able to go off on a trip after my first year of teaching. With a friend I met out in Saskatchewan, we booked our flights, hostel, and then we were off for an adventure of a lifetime. I did not blog about it when I was away, so I am wanting to recap all the beautiful things I got to see, all the wonderful experiences I got to encounter, for others to read and enjoy…and hopefully, make others want to travel there. Hawaii is truly a magical island, a place that leaves you wanting to return for more. To start off my series of posts on this wonderful trip that took place almost a year ago, here is a recount of the first tour we took…the Road to Hana.

One of the most iconic trips in all of Hawaii, the Road to Hana takes you on a journey that lets you view and explore countless waterfalls, forests, and beaches of every colour of the rainbow. The legendary road to Hana is only 52 miles long, however it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete, thanks to its narrow one-lane bridges, twisty turns, and incredible island views. The Hana Highway has 620 curves and 59 bridges to cross.

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We started off by leaving the hostel for our first of Banana Bungalow’s free tours (I will be writing a post later on about this fantastic hostel and their, yes, FREE tours!). We began our trip, twisting and turning, we made our way through the first little trek of the Road to Hana. To my surprise, there were many stops along the way to re-fuel with food and drinks. Our first stop? Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread. This was the BEST banana bread that I have ever tasted, and I have yet to find a loaf or slice that even comes close! We grabbed our bread and headed back to the van. Others got smoothies along with their loaves and raved about those as well, so I would recommend trying these too (unfortunately, thanks to my lactose intolerance issues, I was not so fortunate as to experience Aunty Sandy’s delectable smoothies, oh well).

Though the road is extremely intense – narrow, windy, and jam packed with cars full of tourists – we had made many stops along the way. With views of waterfalls, eucalyptus trees, rain forests, as well as many beaches, those well known and other hidden gems, these broke up our journey along the way.

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Our first beach we stopped at was at Waianapanapa State Park. Here is where I lay on my very first black sand beach. It was also at this beach where I did the most exciting, exhilarating activity, for me at least, to date. Now, all other adventurers out there may roll their eyes as they read this, but for me, this was huge! We hiked down a path to a freshwater pool that was within a cave. Our guide was going to take us through the cave, in pitch blackness, deep into its tunnels…but I couldn’t do it.

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Our tour guide made a comment to me when I first initially said no to joining him and the others – don’t you want to go back home with stories? Our tour guide from the Bungalow was on his very last week of his around-the-world year-long backpacking adventure. He was spending one last week in Hawaii before returning to his home in Australia. To this day, his comment has stuck with me, and now as I travel, it is something I repeat often in my head, as a reminder that you only live once…so get crazy.

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After our group went ahead, I stayed behind still trying to convince myself to simply just jump into the cave and into the pool. I was able to rally up enough courage, I jumped, and I have zero regrets. I took my very first leap into what I feel will be the start of a life full of adventure. Thank you Banana Bungalow Guide for making a difference 🙂

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We headed back on the road, continuing to see countless beautiful waterfalls and more gorgeous views of the island. I feel that I am forever spoiled by the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

I noticed a lot in Hawaii that there were many side-of-the-road food trucks. I ordered one of my guilty pleasures from one that we pit-stopped at, fried bread. I was first introduced to this in Saskatchewan (a First Nations traditional food, which they call bannock). As I sat there eating, I couldn’t help but stop to think just how the simple things, like food trucks and beaches, could bring me the most happiness and excitement I have felt in a long time. There was something about this island, something that was captivating me…and it was only day one…really?!

We continued onwards and then eventually stopped at another white-sand beach, following this with our last stop of the day was at the famous Kaihalulu red sand beach.

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This was completely off the beaten track and took some good quality hiking and manoeuvring over cliffs to get to it, but once you did, the view was breathtaking.

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Overall, being someone who fully enjoys car rides to anywhere here back at home, the Road to Hana is by far my favourite drive, I would like to see another come close. The Road to Hana is definitely about the journey rather than the tiny destination town of Hana.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Have you ever driven the Road to Hana?

What is a favourite drive you have taken?

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2 thoughts on “The Famed Road to Hana

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