Friday morning we got up early to meet the van that came to pick us up at our condo. Instead of driving the road to Hana ourselves we decided to book a tour. That way we could BOTH enjoy it and there wasn't the stress of driving. So glad we did!! We used Valley Isles Road to Hana tour. It's a 12 passenger van... and obvious we took up half that with the 6 of us. There were only 4 other people on this tour, two older couples. One from Iowa (Mary & John - who also had 4 kids grown. They were in Hawaii to celebrate retirement) the other couple was a little older and from Maine.
We took the quick ride to a plantation where we had breakfast.
After breakfast we had a little bit of time to explore the restaurant/plantation area. Would have been cool to go back to this place, but we didn't.
Then we set off on the long road. These surf boards were cool right outside a little town called Paia.
The waves were HUGE on the north side of the island - the windward side of the island.
Our driver was great about pointing everything out, educating us about the various plants and such. I"ll be honest I don't remember all that he mentioned but I did get photos of it! haha. Here's a mix of all that. I do remember him talking about the difference between Japanese bamboo and Chinese bamboo... but I don't remember the difference.
Once we left Hana Highway is when the Road to Hana began and it was much like a roller coaster, very windy, turnie, and narrow.
The bridges were cool and I continued to try to capture photos of them but rarely turned out.
Hawaiian Christmas tree:
These amazing trees did warrant a stop. We learned that while they are beautiful they are rather destructive to the rain forest. They suck up so much water and grow so fast they aren't really good for the ecosystem.
We passed through many different 'counties' on the way. Here's a pic of the map they gave us. Wish I took a picture of the back side which had some information about the various stops. You can see the pastel colors denoting the 'counties'.
Our first pit stop.
It was INSANELY windy! This photo kinda shows, lol. kids blocking the sun and wind. There's our van in the background.
Back on the windy road.
Next stop was for banana bread. Lots of no drone signs all over the island. I didn't have mine with so wasn't too disappointed.
After the banana bread we went further down this peninsula called Ke'Anae. We had a little time to get out and stretch our legs. Also very windy and big waves.
An attempt to get a photo of Kyle and I.
Back in the van.
View of the peninsula farm land as we drove away. Tarro was grown there.
We drove past our next two stops because we'd hit them on the way back. We went all the way to Hana and through to get to our lunch stop. We drove by Oprah Winfrey's property.
At lunch we had lots of little lizard visitors.
Finished up lunch then started to head back looking forward to our next two stops.
Our next stop was a state park called: Wai'anapanapa. which had a black sand beach.
The black sand was pretty cool. They were little pebbles.
Of course the kids loved playing in the water. We had about an hour at this stop. We got them out a little early so we could hike a trail that leaded out to an overlook.
This wave was creating a rainbow every time it hit the shore. I wasn't able to capture it but it was amazing.
Back to the van and onto our next stop not far down the road. A waterfall: Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside. Kids got to 'swim in the waterfall' although it was pretty cold and they didn't get in very far.
That was the last stop, then it was the long road back out of Hana. We got to see a DOUBLE rainbow! Although I think I only capture the single.
Our guide gave us a 'bonus stop' to see sea turtles.
This was the area we saw the huge waves on the drive out. Called Ho'okipa Beach Park. Lots of turtles resting in the sand.
We also stood and watched some surfers in the huge waves.
We made it back to our condo, just in time to watch the sunset from our balcony before heading out for dinner.
We hit a different food truck park, but basically had the same food as the other food truck park.
Sushi, poke, Emma: tacos, and Mary: Chicken wings.
The night couldn't end without a hunt for Hawaiian shaved ice. This guy served it out of his little van, it was pretty cool to watch him make it.