Most people just think of Maui as miles of golden beaches filled with palm trees, surfers, and beach bums basking in the sun, and that would be a correct snapshot of the Valley Isle, but there is another totally different, but equally as beautiful side of the island – Upcountry Maui. Here, on the slopes of the Haleakalā volcano is a gorgeous countryside of rolling hills, crisp clean air, beautiful scenic views, and interesting communities brimming with character. As for things to do, there are plenty of activities for the Maui vacationer to try . . .
Paia Fish Market
Most would say the drive into Upcountry generally begins in the small town of Paia on the North Shore of Maui. In our quaint little town, there’s still plenty to do, especially for the avid shopper. In Paia, there are a number of little shops, boutiques, art galleries, and great restaurants in this former Hawaiian plantation village. Nearby are some awesome beaches, including the “windsurfing capital of the world,” Ho’okipa Beach. Maui’s little Paia is also where you can rent bikes to ride for the day or take a bike tour of Haleakalā volcano.
Haleakalā Sunrise Bike Tour.
A favorite Maui activity for many visitors is the Haleakalā sunrise bike tour. Although you don’t have to go at sunrise, most would say it’s definitely worth getting up early for and one of the most amazing sights they’ve ever seen. On our self-paced Haleakalā sunrise bike tours, guests are driven up to the summit of Haleakalā (at 10,023-ft) to watch this incredible sunrise above the clouds and see the spectacular cinder landscape that is Haleakalā Crater. Then guests are taken to the staging area at 6,500 feet where they get ready to bike down the volcano! Because our Haleakalā bike rides are self-paced, guests have the freedom to stop along the way back down at the many towns, restaurants, scenic areas, shops, and farms on the route all the way to Paia. So really, our Haleakalā bike tours allow guests to enjoy, not just one, but numerous Maui activities, all in one day – all at your own pace.
Kula Lodge & Restaurant
Kula Lodge & Restaurant
For instance, on the Haleakalā sunrise bike tour, you could stop to have lunch at the Kula Lodge. This “romantic hideaway” is the perfect spot to have gourmet pizza from their wood-burning pizza oven or take a picture amid a backdrop of blossoming protea, carnations, and other tropical flora as well as gorgeous views of the West Maui Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Makawao – Paniolo Country, Ziplines & Pineapple Tours
Another little town you’ll visit along the Haleakalā sunrise bike tour is Makawao in what’s known here as Paniolo Country. Paniolo is the term for the “Hawaiian cowboy” and Makawao is a town where the cowboys still herd cattle on ranches and compete in real rodeos. But Makawao is also filled with interesting boutiques and is a top art destination with numerous local artists and art galleries. In Makawao, there are also zipline tours available at the Piiholo Ranch or you can take a guided Maui Pineapple Tour at the Hali’imaile Pineapple Plantation.
Ali’I Kula Lavender Farm
Kula Botanical Gardens
If you’re staying in Upcountry after your Haleakalā bike tour or want to see more in Upcountry, you might head back up to Kula for a visit to the beautiful and fragrant Ali’I Kula Lavender Farm. You can take a guided tour of the lavender farm, have a gourmet picnic, or purchase some lavender bath and body products in their shop.
Kula Botanical Garden
If you would like to see more of the tropical flora found on this dormant volcano, check out the botanical garden in Kula. You can take a self-guided tour or a guided group tour of this beautiful tropical oasis.
Maui Wine & Ulupalakua Ranch
Nestled on the slopes of Haleakalā in an area known as Ulupalakua is Maui Wine, the only commercial winery on the island. On the historic site of the celebrated Rose Ranch, you can enjoy a tour and tasting of this beautiful estate and vineyard. Try some of their unique, flavorful pineapple wines like Hula O’Maui, made from locally grown Maui pineapples, as well as their grape and sparkling wines. Then, you can grab a bite to eat at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store that features fresh Maui Cattle Company beef and Ulupalakua elk burgers.
There’s so much to see and do in Upcountry that you may want to stay a few days enjoying the fresh mountain air and the variety of exciting Maui activities available here in beautiful Upcountry Maui.