Explore Upcountry Maui
Maui is the best island in Hawaii for so many reasons that there are just too many to list! One of the most interesting aspects of Maui is the diverse topography and micro-climates. In just one day, it is possible to travel from sea level to the 10,000-ft high dormant Mt. Haleakala. With varying elevation levels, and the fact that Maui as we know it was created by two separate volcanic eruptions, there is so much natural wonder to see and experience.
On the slopes of Mt. Haleakala is an area known as Upcountry. The Upcountry areas of Maui include Makawao, Olinda, Kula (lower and upper), Keokea, and Ulupalakua. When visiting these areas, guests are sometimes shocked because they never expected to see the rolling hills, farms, pastures, and the sweet and quaint communities that inhabit them. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to take a day-trip (or, a few) Upcountry. This is for sure a must-do Maui activity, and one that will surely contribute to all the best Maui memories, whether you are a resident or a visitor!
The historic Makawao Town is a great place to visit to see a glimpse of Maui’s paniolo (cowboy) culture, shopping, art galleries and restaurants. In Makawao, you can find many unique Maui-made treasures, enjoy a healing treatment or pick up some supplements and herbs at the Dragon’s Den, or enjoy a yoga class at Makawao Yoga. Market Fresh Bistro, Casanova’s, and Makawao Steak House are the best places for a delicious Upcountry meal, and the Stopwatch is the go-to local watering hole.
If you’re up for a hike, travel to Olinda to explore the Makawao Forest, and check out Hosmer’s Grove or Poli Poli State Park in Upper Kula. Throughout Maui’s Upcountry, there are fabulous areas to explore by trail; you’ll see that the views and vantage points of the South Maui and North Shore coastlines are unreal! For adventure seekers, Piiholo Ziplines are a popular destination, and if you’re up for a healing treatment, definitely check out Ho’omana Spa for Hawaiian Lomi Lomi deep tissue massage, herbal baths and amazing body treatments.
Farm tours are a great thing to do Upcountry. The Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farm is one of the most incredible little Maui gems. With gorgeous views, a great boutique with locally made lavender infused items, and over 55,000 lavender plants (45 varieties) to explore, this is definitely a lovely sensory experience. The Surfing Goat Farm is a great place to visit with kids, where you can enjoy seeing and tasting how Maui’s famous goat cheese is made, while your kids get a chance to feed and pet the goats. The Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery is located in Lower Kula, and open 7 days a week for farm tours, reservations are required. O’o Farms is another great farm to check out, where guests can enjoy a gourmet lunch and farm tour, or the new Maui coffee tour.
Dining options are spectacular in Upcountry Maui! The best places to grab a Maui coffee and yummy baked goods are La Provence in Kula or Grandma’s Coffee Shop in Keokea. The Kula Bistro (byob) is a super delicious option for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, and definitely do not miss out on a chance to grab a burger (beef or venison) or a plate lunch from the Ulupalukua Ranch Store. When exploring Ulupalukua Ranch, make sure to visit Tedeschi Vineyards, Maui’s only winery. The Maui Winery is a great place to relax in the afternoon walking the grounds, or to relax and take a seat in their tasting room. If you’ve never tried a sparkling pineapple wine, here is where you’ll get a chance! And, don’t forget to grab a bottle of their ‘Lokelani’ Hawaiian Sparkling Rose on your way out.
Looking for another way to discover Maui’s diverse topography without driving all day? Fly above Maui’s most popular sights with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, click here.