For a good day trip, without as many crowds, in Maui we took the Kula Highway and the Piilani Highway to check out the sights of the Lualailua Hills and the base of the Kahikinui Forest. These roads are on the south and west sides of Haleakala (the dormant volcano) and its much traveled Halekala Highway up to the crater. The road eventually turns to dirt at Kaupo Ranch, but – in theory – does go through to Hana though traversing it all the way there is discouraged by rental car companies (whose advice it is probably best to take). We didn’t test it. The landscape is amazing turning from lush (where the rains clearly fall more) to volcanic rock to sparse where we saw evidence of a not-so-long ago fire. The views of the Pacific are breathtaking and worth taking in.
Our unofficial guide of the island and purveyor of a fantastic breakfast, which we will write about in an upcoming post, turned us on to three stops on the way back which were worth it. First, we stopped at the Ulupalakua Ranch. Modern farming began on the ranch in 1845 and at its peak 40,000 acres were farmed as part of the ranch. Now, the ranch is a little less than half of that size. Their burgers (recommended at our breakfast spot) are all made on the farm and were fantastic. We stuck with their recommendations: lamb and venison. Both delicious.
A quick stroll across the street to Maui Wine was worth it. We tried the Maui Blanc pineapple wine and the sparkling rose. We liked the pineapple one better than expected. Both were sweeter than we’d normally go, but were delicious on a nice hot afternoon.
For our final upcountry stop, we visited the Surfing Goat Dairy farm. The farm has been operating for nine years and has won a bunch of national awards. We skipped the tour only because of timing but sampled the goat cheese truffles and brought a box home for dessert (oh, and of course some of their goat cheese for our appetizers). Its off the beaten path on Omaopio Road, which is easy to miss, if you are blazing down the Kula Highway at its speed limit of 35 MPH.
All in all, a successful jaunt around the upcountry without massive crowds.