Next to swimming with dolphins and attending an absolutely amazing wedding, driving the Road to Hana was my favourite memory from our trip to Hawaii. It was by far the most beautiful scenery, the best beaches, and created some life-long memories of swimming in waterfalls and having fun with friends.
One of the must-do's along the Hana Highway is stop at every single food truck you can see to try whatever they have on offer: tacos, BBQ, fish and chips, coconuts. Everything is fresh and delicious and you never get hungry. We saw lots of signs in Maui from restaurants offering packed lunches to take along on the drive, but who would choose a packed lunch over a taco?!
We stopped off at our secret waterfall again to show everyone who couldn't make it on our first outing. I've put together a Hawaii recommendations blog post that required a lot of research as to how to find this waterfall, because it doesn't seem to exist on the internet. But I found it and I'll be publishing that soon!
But what the Hana Highway is all about is just enjoying the views, putting on your favourite road trip mix and stopping every time you feel like it. There are all kinds of planned stops you can make, there are signposted hikes everywhere and you can't miss them because there are hundreds of other people doing them too, just keep your eyes open for the crowds. Apparently they are stunning!
But if crowds aren't your thing then it's worth adopting the trial and error approach to this road trip and stopping wherever looks like it could be interesting. It's best to look at it as something to explore, rather than something to plan.
The spots recommended on any tripadvisor forum are well worth a visit because there's nothing about the Hana Highway that isn't beautiful from start to finish.
Though having talked about not planning this day out too much, I would recommend leaving enough time to do the whole thing. It took us about 10 hours, and we rushed the second half.
Many people get as far as that black sand beach up there and then turn around, but if you keep going and follow the Hana Highway from start to finish there are some amazing views. We ran out of time and light to make any more stops along the way, but if I had known how beautiful it was going to be I would have done the second half over again like we did with the first.
It's a very different kind of scenery and light to what you'll find in the heavily forested first half of the highway, but once you drive through the town of Hana (which isn't anything exciting, in fact you may blink and miss it) the coast line opens up and it's just breathtaking.
Adam and I both agreed that if we had planned it better we would have spent more time along this part of the coast, maybe even stayed out there for a night or two. It would be the perfect spot to practice your nighttime photography, if you're into that sort of thing.