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maui november 2009 – day 4: Haleakala, Ziplining, Upcountry

This is Day 4 of our Maui November 2009 adventure.

Today was a busy one – I had spent months planning the timing of this day down to a T because I wanted to be able to do a lot of things in upcountry Maui and we only had one day. Our first stop: Haleakala for sunrise!! It was around 4am when we left Kihei and we stopped at Zippy’s in Kahului because their counter service is 24-hours. We bought coffee and a small breakfast platter which we shared just so we’d have enough energy for the drive up. There were a few cars on the road heading up for the sunrise as well. The road is windy and at some point you realize you’re pretty high up because your ears keep popping. When we got to the vantage point/visitor center it was about a half hour until sunrise. Brrr it was cold! We bundled up in our coats, hats and scarves which we had when we left New York (it was November after all). Sunrise was as beautiful as I had imagined it would be. It could have been better if it was a little less cloudy, but still an amazing sight. We took some pictures and wandered around before heading down the mountain.



sunrise at Haleakala…amazing


we’re above the cloud line!


sun’s up! time to eat!

Our next stop: Kula Lodge for a full breakfast! The Kula Lodge is a little outdated but has plenty of charm. The views from the terrace out back are amazing. We ate in the hotel restaurant and our breakfast was yummy and satisfying. We shared a giant breakfast platter consisting of pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon, oh and coffee of course! We added mac nuts to the pancakes for an additional charge but it was worth it. Two words: coconut syrup. Overall breakfast was really cheap because we split the giant platter but it was plenty for 2 people.

delicious pancakes with mac nuts and coconut syrup


view from the lodge

This was where the timing had to be key because I had scheduled our next stop months in advance: Ziplining with Skyline Eco Adventures! I was toying between the timing of this because I wanted to fit in sunrise and breakfast before ziplining, but I didn’t want too much lag time in between activities. I picked the 9:30am time thinking we may be either right on time or 5 mins early. Turns out we were about a half an hour early. It was fine because we got fitted for our harnesses and waited at the base and chatted with a few other people. Note: women, do not wear short shorts on this activity because you’ll just look really awkward. We’ve never been ziplining before so we thought we’d try the original upcountry course. It consists of 5 ziplines, each one longer than the one before it. Everyone goes one at a time since it’s a single line. It was loads of fun. Even if you are afraid of heights, it’s not that scary because you’re going too fast to notice. My husband recorded his ride on each line with a point and shoot, but on one line, he accidentally covered the lens with his finger so it’s just a video of darkness and him yelling Woohoo! The last line is obviously the longest and best. Everyone at Skyline was super friendly and took care of us. Highly recommended. Next time we’re going to do the Kaanapali one!

getting ready to zip


one of the first lines


zipping over a ravine

After our fun adventure we decided to visit a few places in Upcountry. I definitely wanted to check out the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and the Surfing Goat Dairy. I must say, driving around in a convertible with the top down in Upcountry Maui is just the most wonderful thing…

I love convertibles! except that the lid of our cooler in the back seat flew off in the wind…

The lavender farm was really pretty. You can walk around the grounds with a self guided tour and take pictures. We also got some lavender lemonade to share. It was tasty with slight floral undertones. I bought some gifts for some friends back home in their gift store. Everything smelled so good! It got warmer as we drove back down so definitely break out the sandals and sundresses again.

entrance to the lavender farm


so beautiful


there is a spectacular view everywhere upcountry!

Surfing Goat Dairy was kinda neat. We didn’t do any of the tours but we walked around and took pictures of the goats. It was also really picturesque there (is there any place in Upcountry that isn’t?). We tried the Goat Cheese sampler platter which is a sampling of 6 cheeses. Some lamisil online usa were pretty interesting like mango quark. I am not a huge fan of goat cheese regularly but I kinda dug some of the uniquely flavored samples.

surfing goat dairy

look real goats!




locals only…shucks, where are we to park?

our goat cheese sampler with a nice mug of hot coffee


the goat cheese “tasting” room

After SGD, it was late in the afternoon. We weren’t terribly hungry but I really wanted to eat at Haliimaile General Store before we left. We like Hawaiian Regional Cuisine a lot and Chef Bev Gannon is one of their founders. I really loved the restaurant space, sort of an updated plantation-style home. We shared the kobe burger and the “famous” crab pizza. The pizza was good – I don’t know why it’s so famous though. It wasn’t terribly life-changing. The kobe burger on the other hand was delicious. YUM. Definitely will go back to try more items on another visit.

looks like a former stately plantation home turned restaurant…I’d totally live here!


hmm, we’re not hungry but being true foodies, we’ll eat anyways…


refreshing lilikoi (passionfruit) lemonade


kobe burger with seasoned fries


famous “i’ll never tell” crab pizza. but i didn’t really want the recipe.

After lunch we walked around the cowboy (paniolo) town of Makawao. I was pretty surprised at how upscale it was. Some of the boutiques here had pretty $$ stuff. It’s a nice quaint yet posh town. I liked the little boutique shops here. We also visited T. Komoda general store. Their bakery goods are raved about but we were too full to try anything.

town of makawao with little boutique-y shops

We decided we were pretty tired then so we headed back to Kihei. On the way back we stopped at the Maui Mall for some Tasaka Guri Guri. It’s this dessert treat that is somewhat akin to sherbet and comes in 2 flavors: strawberry and pineapple. We got a mix of the 2 in a cup. We only paid a buck for it which is probably the cheapest thing we ate in Hawaii! It’s pretty good but a little too sweet for my tastes. I can see how kids will love this stuff. I hear it’s made from condensed milk, which just makes everything taste good.

tasaka guri guri shop in kahului


guri guri…like old school sherbet and the cheapest dessert you’ll find in Maui!

We also stopped at Homemaid bakery in Kahului. I just LOVE bakeries but usually try to avoid them because they are my weakness and I can eat my weight in pastries. On vacation though, it doesn’t matter right? I tried different flavors of the special manju, which are like little round baked pastries with different fillings. I loved Homemaid’s version because the crust is crispy like pie crust. I tried the purple sweet potato, pineapple, and apple. Pineapple was awesome! You can buy these at supermarkets as well as ABC stores (when available) but there is nothing better (and fresher) than getting it direct from the bakery! I got a box of pineapple to go.

picture of the packaged manju (picture courtesy of

We returned to Maui Coast Hotel and chilled by the pool again. We also took this time to do laundry. The laundry machines are free but there are only a few of them. Luckily no one was using it then. After a brief nap, we went in search of dinner. Since it was rather late and we hadn’t made reservations anywhere, we decided to stay local and went to a Vietnamese restaurant we spotted in one of the Kihei strip malls. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but it wasn’t the best pho I’ve had so it doesn’t kill me to not remember this place.

a local beer at the vietnamese restaurant that I can’t remember the name of


the ok tasting pho…should have sampled “A Saigon Cafe” as was recommended in the guidebooks but this was more convenient to our hotel.

This night marked the end of the first half of our week in Maui. So far we’ve had an amazing time. It’s pretty neat to see all the places I’ve researched and read about in person. Even though we’d both been to Maui before, we were very young so it’s like we’re experiencing new…yet familiar territory. We were set to move the next day to the Ritz Carlton Kapalua for the remainder of our stay. It was hard to believe our week was more than half gone! But we were happy we got so much done in 4 days . Now it was time for some true R&R! On to Day 5

Click to read more of our Maui November 2009 adventure.

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