Hawaii USA

Maui’s Monster Trucks And Fighting Cocks

By on October 28, 2016

We left Sydney in the late evening on a 12 hour flight that arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii on the morning of the day we left? Having previously never crossed the International Date Line this was a unique experience for our poor travel weary brains to comprehend. After short domestic flight we finally arrived out our destination for the next 11 days, the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui.

The next challenge was to pick up a hire car and relate to driving on the wrong side of the road in a car which was for us ‘back the front’. The additional challenge this time was that the speedo was in miles per hour instead of kilometres.

Honululu Aerial Maui

Whilst being a relatively small island we found Maui to be surprisingly diverse, you only had to drive 20 minutes in any direction and you had a totally different landscape and weather to match. The beaches whilst being good were not up to the high Australian standards we are blessed with and the strangest thing was there are no seagulls, not one! While I cannot stand the ‘rats’ of the sky it is a little disconcerting that there are none of the buggers around, I guess your chips will always be safe in Hawaii.

We had to return the hire car the next day as the front suspension was totally stuffed no doubt a casualty of the pretty crazy and challenging roads on the island, something we were soon to discover. This was further complicated by the fact that the locals seem to be obsessed (like most Americans) with humongously large pickup trucks. It also seems completely irrelevant as to whether they need to have such a vehicle, bigger is best is the rule here.

Now Hawaiians take this obsession a step further and believe the higher they are off the ground the better. At one stage whilst driving I thought I had my high beam lights turned on. It turned out to be the headlights of the monster truck behind coming over top of the small compact hire car we were in. They had the thing jacked off the ground that much you would have needed a small ladder just to get into it.

Close to where we were staying a local residence had 5 monster trucks in their front yard each a little bit bigger than the last and including the remains of one which had obviously been pushed a little too hard. It was like the ultimate Redneck trophy cabinet.

Maui Monster Trucks

Of further amusement to us we discovered that in their backyard were inverted plastic drums spaced at regular intervals apart with an opening cut in each. To each of these drums was tethered a rooster or as I discovered with some investigation later were fighting cocks. In Hawaii, cock fighting has long been accepted as a cultural tradition by many residents. It is something that local authorities actively discourage but have a hard time enforcing.

Maui Fighting Cocks

Being so isolated, Hawaii is a unique and fascinating place. I hope it is able to retain its culture identity despite the pressures of big corporate tourism which would see it become one big Fantasy Island for Americans on vacation. 

Here are is a number of the things we did while on Maui

ROAD TO HANA
Maui Road to Hana

Hawaii’s Route 31 or ‘Road to Hana’ is a 50 mile (80 klm) section of road that winds its way precariously clinging to the coastal cliffs and gullies starting at Paia and ending in a small coastal village of Hana. Now I love good road trip like the next person but with 620 curves and 59 bridges, many of them only one lane is road is a little crazy, but a good crazy.

Road to Hana Maui

I would definitely recommend starting early and allow at least 3 hours each way including the obligatory photo stops. It is also advisable take food, water and to share the driving so you can take in the amazing scenery in at least one direction. Be warned that there is one road in and the same road back unless you care to continue right around. If it is even possible the road gets even crazier past Hana now with the added danger of rock falls possible. As a note you will find this section of road is excluded in your car rental agreement so be careful.

You can find more information on the Road to Hana here

PIPIWAI TRAIL
Maui Pipiwai Trail

Not far from Hana is the Pipiwai Trail in the Haleakala National Park this is a 4 mile or 6.5 klm (round trip) walking trail. It winds its way up through several very distinct landscapes and includes several spectacular waterfalls and bridge crossings.

You past and under a massive Banyan tree which stands like the old man of the Forrest silently guarding and challenging all those that pass before being engulfed by the Bamboo Forest where towering poles of bamboo are so closely packed that the light barely reaches the ground.

Maui Bamboo Forrest

At the end you will emerge from the forest and be standing at the base of the Waimoku Falls. High above the water cascades over the edge and plummets straight down the almost sheer 400 ft. cliff face, a fitting reward for those that make it to the end.

If you would like more detailed information on this hike, please see our post “Rainforest and Waterfalls Hiking The Pipiwai Trail”

Maui Waimoku Falls
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK
Maui Hakaelala National Park

Haleakalā (translates to “house of the sun”) rises up almost disproportionally to the size of the island in general. Its peak of 10,000 feet above sea level is typically obscured by dark storm clouds which seem to be set like a perpetual angry crown set atop the volcano. Still considered an active volcano by the experts even through the last major eruption was approximately 600 years ago, don’t expect to see any eruptions or lava flowing here.

Maui Haleakala Crater

Being on holidays we chose to experience the sunset rather than the sunrise as we are late starters by age and choice. We were rewarded with the most spectacular sunset above the clouds. There are not that many places in the world you are able to do this with such relative ease.

Maui Haleakala National Park

If you would like more detailed information on this, please see our post “Sunset above the Clouds on a Volcano – Haleakala”

PAIA TOWN
Maui Paia Town

If you are looking for a great place to eat we would definitely recommend you pay a visit to the Paia Fishmarket, situated in the quaint and funky North Shore Community of Paia Town. In an old West saloon style building they serve generous portions of fresh local seafood at reasonable prices.

LAHAINA TOWN
Maui Banyan Tree Lahaina

Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom Lahaina Town sits on Maui’s North West shore. This historical whaling port town has be immortalised in the classic novel ‘Moby Dick’. Today the whalers have been replaced by tourists and the once busy brothels are now home to dozens of art galleries, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars.

Visit the monstrous Banyan Tree which covers an entire park. Then stroll along the wooden boardwalk down Front Street window shopping. Finish the day with some drinks and a meal while enjoying the stunning sunset.

HOOKIPA BEACH LOOKOUT
Hookipa Beach Lookout Maui

Distinctive Lava black rocks contrast starkly with the brilliant white sand beach and the blue green of the ocean. Hookipa Beach is a kite boarding, wind surfing and surfing mecca on Maui’s North Shore. If you are lucky you might be also able to watch green sea turtles feeding off the rocks close to the shore or taking a snooze up on the beach camouflaged amongst the boulders.

KAMOLE BEACH PARK
Maui Kamole Beach II

Locally known by their nicknames Kam I, Kam II and Kam III this set of wide, family friendly, sandy beaches stretch for 1.5 klms along Maui’s South Shore. The beaches are well patrolled by lifeguards in their Baywatch style huts and are normally very safe for swimmers and snorkelling. Easy access with grassed areas and a good range of facilities see these beaches become very busy on the weekends when the weather is good.

February is good for whale watching. I would suggest you grab a picnic basket and sit on the beach and enjoy the spectacular sunsets for which Hawaii is famous.

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Steve & Sharon
Perth, Australia

We are an Aussie couple on a midlife walkabout, exploring the world at our own pace. Over the years we have become unashamed addicts, in search of that next travel fix. We invite you to share our adventures and look forward to hearing about yours.

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