For some reason, I’ve always associated Hawaii with Honeymoons and Weddings as opposed to a holiday destination. Although, after some research, I quickly realised that there was so much to experience on this Pacific Archipelago. Here are some of my highlights from my recent trip to Maui, Hawaii, which will make you re-consider these islands as a bucket list destination as well as the perfect location to say ‘I do’.
Take the long road
The Road to Hana is 64 mile long winding narrow road through tropical rainforest. On one side there’s the most breath taking views of the ocean, and on the other side, countless waterfalls. Luckily, on this journey I was the passenger! Aside from the scenery, I’m not ashamed to say that one of my favourite highlights of this journey was the food. Every few miles there was a little fruit stand selling the most exotic and fresh fruit I have ever tasted. No plastic, no packaging, simply picked straight from the tree to the stand. Zero waste bliss!
Another memorable stop was Coconut Glens, a small shop serving the most delicious dairy free ice cream. I was initially drawn to this location as my (second-hand Ebay bargain) Lonely Planet book, mentioned that the ice cream was served in a coconut shell using a shard of coconut shell as spoon. Sadly, when I arrived, this wasn’t the case, but I was pleased to see that my spoon and cup were both compostable!
Watching the Sunrise
Have you ever purposefully got up early to watch the sunrise? Until this trip, I hadn’t bothered and I can safely say that it was the most magical moment of my holiday. Okay, so it wasn’t easy waking up at 1 am for the early start to the top of Haleakala National Park, but after stargazing (and even spotting a shooting star) and most importantly watching the sun rise above the arid landscape of the shield volcano (which forms more than 75% of Maui), this experience was well worth the lack of sleep. I booked my tour with Bike Maui which included travel to the crater, the most fantastic guided tour and an exhilarating bike ride down the volcano. I’d highly recommend this whole experience – I mean how often can you say you cycled down a Volcano? For those planning on travelling up by car, make sure you book your car parking space in advance with the National Park otherwise you’ll be refused entry!
Humpback Whales and Marine Life.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my video of the Hawaiian Humpback Whales singing to each other in the ocean. Words alone really can’t fully describe this beautiful moment, so head over to my page to watch the video. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young. If you’re booking your trip to Hawaii make sure you’re visiting between December and May so that you’re in with a chance to spot these beautiful marine mammals! I also booked up a tour with Blue Water Rafting where we were lucky enough to be surrounded by four Humpbacks close enough to touch and as an added bonus spotted a Green Turtle basking in the sun! This trip also included a snorkeling trip to Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater home to the most beautiful coral, reef fishes (including my favourite fish, the parrotfish) and sea urchins. Did you know? Parrotfish have fused front teeth which they use to scrape algae off coral which you can hear when snorkelling! The majority of what they ingest passes through their body as sandy waste which, combined with other marine animal skeletons, is a major component of Hawaiian sand!
The Hawaiian lifestyle
It may sound cliché, but I feel like I’ve returned from Hawaii a better person. Why? Because everyone was so friendly, approachable and seemed to genuinely care about the environment and each other. I'm now trying to embrace this attitude and outlook on life now that I'm home! Wildlife and nature seemed so embodied within the Hawaiian way of life, whether that’s by using a paper straw instead of a plastic one or by reminding people to leave only footprints on the land, when you’re Hawaii, it’s not hard to feel truly connected to nature and the planet. I scattered my Lei (flower necklace) by this sign (see photo below). In Hawaiian culture, it’s considered offence to throw away your Lei and instead its encouraged to return the Lei’s natural elements to the Earth scattering the flowers on the Earth or Ocean.
I couldn’t go all the way to Hawaii without attempting to stand up on a Pacific wave! I booked in a lesson with the Goofy Foot Surf Company, and to my surprise stood up on my first attempt! However, I think this reflects on my extremely talented instructor JB, rather than my natural surfing skills. I enjoyed myself so much that I returned the following day for a paddle boarding lesson, which also turned into yet another wildlife spotting session as a reef shark and green turtle decided to join us! I told you that it wasn’t hard to feel so connected to nature when you’re surrounded by wildlife!
What have a learnt from my trip? Although at home we may not be surrounded by humpbacks and turtles, our actions can still have a profound and significant impact on our local and global environment. We may not be connected by distance, but we all share the same planet with these beautiful creatures, let's treat Planet Earth with the respect it deserves!
Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram for more videos from my Hawaiian adventure and don't forget to use the hashtag #sustainableglobetrotter on your travels!