Discover Upcountry Maui| Travelling in Hawaii

While travelling in Hawaii, we wanted to explore and experience as much as we could. Hop on into our car and join us for our day trip to upcountry Maui. It was so fun!

Exploring the Area when Travelling in Hawaii

Two helpful travel resources 

There were two things we threw into our suitcase last minute that we were grateful for. 

  • One was our TomTom GPS unit (**update! Now you just need your cell phone!!) and the other was
  • the Fodor’s Guide to Maui that we’d checked out from the library. 

We ended up using both of those tools every day we were there.  We found we weren’t the “sit by the beach all day long and fry your skin” kind of Maui-goers.  We enjoyed the thrill of exploring.  There was something beautiful to see around nearly every corner!

Learn from the locals when planning excursions in Hawaii

One of the many things we liked about the Papakea Resort was the fact that it had an Activities Coordinator (Concierge) on site.  The first morning we were there, he (Troy) had an orientation session with all of us new arrivals.  It wasn’t long and drawn out, but he quickly outlined for us the most popular tourist attractions and gave invaluable advice on what to see and what to avoid.  He was a local Hawaiian, so he knew the “scoop” on everything around.  For those who wanted, they could book their tickets for tours and events through him.  There really are options galore as to what to do while there, and this service made it seem so much less overwhelming to us.

Troy’s presentation gave us insight as to the things we wanted to do and see while we were there.  Since we rented a car, we wanted to drive ourselves to places rather than travel with tour groups.  Fodor’s Guide, a lap full of maps, and our Tom Tom became our tour guides.  It was great fun!

The first adventure?

Discovering Upcountry Maui when travelling in Hawaii

Upcountry Maui.

upcountry maui

As we drove along, we kept consulting “Fodor” for his recommended stop areas.  The first stop was in the tiny village of Keokea.  It was in his list of “Fun Things to Do Upcountry”:

“Swig a cup of joe with a Hawaiin panjolo (Hawaiian cowboy) at Grandma’s Coffee Shop in Keokea.”

Yep,  Mr. Fodor, we want to take you up on that offer.

After winding down the narrow mountain-side road, we finally came to Grandma’s.

We burst out laughing at the first site of it.

Experience coffee time with the locals at “Grandma’s”

grandma's coffee house

It certainly wasn’t a swanky tourist spot.  We didn’t see any cowboys, but perched outside the tiny gas station next door were two older gentlemen who asked me in a drawl,

“Whacha takin’ pictures of anyway?”…

Of course, by this time, I needed to find a restroom.

“Oh, we don’t have one in here,” the kind girl at Grandma’s said,

“it’s just a 5 minute walk down the road at the park.”

We laughed our way down the road.

When we finally reached the park, here was the “restroom” ~

the restroom in the pak at Keokea

The only people at the “park” were local families with their sweet little toddlers playing around.  It was an absolutely delightful stop.  We walked by the hugest “hens and chicks” plants I’ve ever seen,

rita in front of big plants

and the upcountry view was incredible:

view from high country

Maui was experiencing “vog” conditions most of the time we were there.  “Vog” is a result of southern winds that blow the volcanic ash over from the active volcano on The Big Island.  It hovers in the air and causes a foggy haze in the sky.  Because of that (or perhaps my photography skills??), these pictures really don’t show the awesome view that it was…

Visit a mountainside Lavender Farm

After our lovely coffee shop stop, we continued driving.  The next stop was the Ali Kula Lavender farm.  Again, we were just following Fodor’s recommendations.  It, too, was a fun stop ~ mostly because of the little journey up the narrow mountainside gravel road. We saw cows grazing there and a woman walking 4 big dogs.  I don’t know why, but, I never stopped to think there’d be cows in Maui!  (Obviously, I need to research a little more…)

We opted out of the lavender farm tour and passed up the $70 lunch, but we did go through their gift store and saw some beautiful plants.  They also introduced us to their newly found chameleon.


I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a hilarious little creature.  It’s eyes were something else!

See the view from Haleakala Crater

Our next stop was going to be the Haleakala Crater.  The tour guides really try to convince travelers to go to the top to view the sunrise.  Although I don’t doubt it would be beautiful, I just couldn’t bear to get up at 2 am to do so.  The windy road took us up and up…

the road to the volcano

We drove right through the clouds and ended up at 10,000 feet.

It was so beautiful.

rita 2 at haleakala

The clouds looked like a blanket you could step right out on.

blanket of clouds

irwin at haleakala

(It was the one and only time I wore a sweater in Maui…)

By the time we drove down the mountain it was about 4 pm.  The day was still young!  So, we decided to check out a beach.  But, that story deserves a post of its own~

…to be continuedWinking smile

(*I’ve decided to include a “Family Reel” of photos to some of these blog posts.  Both of us took cameras and part of the fun was taking oodles and oodles of pictures.  All of them aren’t keepers, obviously, but each one is a memory for us.  I just figured out how to do a slideshow, so I’m going to throw ALL our pictures from each day on a little show reel.  I don’t know if you ever experienced “slide night” in your family home like we did, but here’s how it works.  All the pictures will show up on the screen.  Some will be out of focus and some will be sideways…{Can you spot them??}

That’s how it is when you’re “family”!  The difference is, if you get bored and decide to walk away, I certainly won’t know!  tee hee…

I’ll also include some video clips from time to time.  We got a kick out of the “Walk Slowly at This Elevation” sign. Perhaps you needed to be there to see the humor in it???  I won’t be getting any academy awards here…but the memories are great.

The music to this little show is by Corey Doak.  The title is “No Sudden Movements”.  I thought it fit perfectly.Smile)

Upcountry Maui Family Reel:

For the other posts on our Hawaii trip, click the links below:

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  1. LOL! Rita, your slow walking cracked me up! But having recently been there with my momma – and her heart issues, she really COULD feel the difference in the altitude! That was crazy!! AND, one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen!

  2. Awww I love your posts of Maui. We were just there in January and we WERE one of the crazies that got up at 2:00 a.m. and went all the way up the volcano….only to find it was a cloudy morning and we didn’t see much!!! Believe me, it was FREEZING up there that early in the morning also (30 degrees) We shopped in the little town of Hana and had a horrible time finding a restroom there also. Can’t wait for your next post.

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  4. I am loving the blogs about your adventures in Hawaii.
    I especially liked the picture of you with the giant hen and chickens. My immediate response was to warn you to watch out for the cat because it looked like someone had hit yourwith a shrink ray! I had to purposefully focus on the tree in the background to get the shrunken Rita out of my head.

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