HALEAKALA, CENTRAL MAUI AND IAO VALLEY
The island of Maui can be separated into three distinct and equally fascinating districts: Haleakala, Central Maui, and Iao Valley. Although Haleakala volcano takes up more than three quarters of the island of Maui, all three districts have their own unique features that visitors to Maui should not miss.
Like all of the volcanoes in Hawaii, Haleakala is a shield volcano, meaning that it is created by lightweight lava that is able to spread over a wider area of surface land creating a shield-like shape. This is a dormant volcano with a stunning 7-mile wide depression area at the summit inhabited only by barren lava formations called lava cones. This depression at the summit was once thought to be the location where demigod Maui caught the sun and forced it to slow its progress across the sky. Although Haleakala is still active, it has not actually erupted since the 1600’s.
Haleakala Volcano makes up more than 70% of Maui’s land mass. This 10,000 ft high mountain affords stunning views of Maui and four other nearby islands. As we climb in elevation through upcountry Maui we will pass through the same kinds of climate zones one would find on a trip from Mexico to Canada! However much of the plant and animal life here is found nowhere else on earth. As we travel through the upcountry farm and ranch lands and reach the summit the landscape becomes so barren that the area was actually used to train astronauts in the 1960’s for the moon landing. There will be ample opportunities to explore and photograph this stunning landscape while learning about the flora, fauna and ancient Hawaiian history and legends of this sacred mountains from your expert guides!
The central plains of Maui was the place of several ancient battlegrounds before it’s dry and dusty lands were planted in sugar cane some 140 years ago. Today it is home to Maui’s industrial, retail and shipping hub in the town of Kahului which is also home to our main airport. The last sugar cane mill to close in Hawaii was here in central Maui at Puunene in 2016. Learn about the immigrants from all over the world who came to work in the fields and how they’ve adapted to the new agricultural opportunities of today. Heading up towards the West Maui Mountains we enter the town of Wailuku which is also the seat of government for Maui County, much as it was the seat of power in ancient times. Kaahumanu Church is one of the oldest churches on the island and was visited by Queen Kaahumanu in the 1820’s. The churches iconic spire rises to the backdrop of the lush mountain slopes in the background which we will be headed to next…
The nearly vertical walls of this valley make it one of the most dramatic landscapes on the island. No small feat for an island dubbed “The Valley Isle”! Iao Valley is the burial place of ancient Hawaiian royalty and in ancient times this valley and the town of Wailuku was home to Maui’s kings and supported a large population of Hawaiians. The valley was also the scene of a vicious battle in 1790 during Kamehameha’s conquest to unify all the islands under his rule. Learn about this battle and much more on this extensive tour of central and Upcountry Maui!
Pricing upon request.