HAWAII — West Mau´i

Honolulu is the only big city found in the Hawaiian Islands and it is the centre of business, culture and politics. Most of the sights you will see in this area are found in downtown and Chinatown. You will find lots of things to see including beautiful public gardens, lovely beaches, museums, restaurants as well as some great shopping centres which are easily accessible on foot.

The areas found here are:
Ukumehame Beach Park
Olowalu
Launiupoko Beach Park
Lahaina
Waiola Church and Wainee Cemetery
Holy Innocents Episcopal Church
Lahaina Court House
Baldwin Home Museum
Wo Hing Museum
Hauola Stone
The Sugarcane Train
Hale Pa´i
Lahaina Jodo Mission
Whalers Village
Ka´anapali Beach
Napili Beach
Kapalu
Honokohau Boulder Beach
Honolua-Mokuleia Bay
Kahakuloa

Ukumehame Beach Park

Ukumehame Beach Park
This small but popular park is found between Pali and Lahaina. It is also known as ‘Thousand Peaks’ because the waves just keep coming. Facilities here are very limited but it is a good place to swim or body surf as access to the water is easy.

Olowalu

Olowalu
This is more an offshore snorkel spot than a beach but if you are there in the right season you may be lucky and see a turtle or whales. If you want to snorkel just be aware that the entrance to the water can be rocky and reef shoes might be a good idea. The good snorkel spots require you to swim out for 200-yards where you will find an extensive and diverse reef. The best time to from the shore is late morning. Except for during a south swell, the waters are usually calm. A half mile north of mile marker 14 you can find the rocky surf break, also called Olowalu. Snorkeling here is along pathways that wind among coral heads. Note: This is a local hangout and can be unfriendly at times.

Launiupoko Beach Park

Launiupoko Beach Park
Launiupoko is the beach park that offers a little something for everyone with its inviting stretch of lawn, soft white sand, and gentle waves. The shoreline reef creates a protected wading pool which is perfect for small children. Outside the reef, beginner surfers will find good longboard rides. Take a walk along the beach and you will be rewarded with superb views of the neighbouring islands of Lana´i and Moloka´i as well as the deep valleys cutting through the West Mau´i Mountains. This is a very popular beach especially on the weekends when it can get very crowded but there is a reasonable amount of parking including an overflow area across the road.

Traveller's Tip

This is another good beach for whale watching in the winter months.
Lahaina

Lahaina
Lahaina was the capital of Hawaii in the 19th century. It was an important whaling centre during the 1800s. is visted by over two million people every year and is Mau´i’s favourite spot to visit after the beaches. This historic town is found between the calm waters of the Auau Channel which faces Lana´i Island and the West Mau´i mountain range or Mauna Kahalawai. The land around this town is very fertile and has abundant streams and lush valleys and attracted the first Polynesian settlers over a thousand years ago. Between the Old Courthouse and Front Street you will find a 138 year-old Banyan Tree which is the symbol of this town. It was planted in 1873 by the sheriff, William Owen Smith to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Christian missionaries. Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places and there are still some of the original buildings to be found in Front Street and you can walk the Lahaina Historic Trail to find some of them including the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison) and the Pioneer Inn.

Traveller's Tip

Herman Melville the author of the book Moby Dick was one of the many sailors to visit Lahaina in the 1800s.
  • To find out information about the Lahaina Historic Trail visit the Lahaina Visitor’s Centre which is located in the Old Lahaina Courthouse which is between the Banyon Tree and Lahaina Harbour.
  • If you want to do some whale watching the tours leave from Lahaina Harbour. For information about these tours visit the Lahaina Visitor’s Centre.
    Waiola Church and Wainee Cemetery

    Waiola Church and Wainee Cemetery
    This church is also known as Wainee Church and the original building dated from the early 1800s but it has been destroyed several times. It was rebuilt in a new spot in 1951 and was renamed ‘Waiola’ which means ‘water of life’. The adjacent cemetery was the first Christian cemetery in the Islands and is the final resting place of many of Hawaii’s most important kings and queens, including Queen Keopuolani who was the wife of Kamehameha the Great and King Kaumualii, the last king of Kauai.
    For information about the State Capitol visit the following website at: http://hawaii.gov/gov/about/state-capitol/state-capitol.html

    Traveller's Tip

    Be aware that this cemetery is considered a sacred site by Hawaiians and be respectful.
  • This is the church that was immortalized in James Mitchener’s novel Hawaii.
    Holy Innocents Episcopal Church

    Holy Innocents Episcopal Church
    This is church found on Front Street near Mokuhina Street was built in 1927. It is a beautiful open-air church and is decorated with paintings depicting Hawaiian versions of Christian symbols, including a Hawaiian Madonna and child, rare or extinct birds, and native plants. You are welcome to come into the church and if it is during a service you will more than likely see the congregation dressed in traditional clothing from Samoa and Tonga. Queen Liliuokalani who was Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, lived in a large grass house on this site as a child.
    For information about the church visit the website at: http://holyimaui.org

    Lahaina Court House

    Lahaina Court House
    The Lahaina Court House was built in 1859 and the original courthouse used stone from King Kamehameha III’s palace (Hale Piula) after it was destroyed by a storm. The original building contained a Custom-House, a Post Office, a Collector’s Office, an office for the Governor of Maui, a Police Court, a Courtroom and offices for the Sheriff and the District Attorney. It setved as a courthouse for 65 years but it is now the home for the Lahaina Visitor’s Center which includes an information desk, gift shop and several exhibits.

    Baldwin Home Museum

    Baldwin Home Museum
    This was originally the home of the missionary Dr Dwight Baldwin and his family. It was built between 1834 and 1835 of coral and stone. Though this museum is small it has an interesting insight into what life would have been like in 19th century Hawaii and contains household furniture, photographs and a library from that time. The building has been carefully restored and you can view the family’s grand piano, the carved four-poster bed, and Dr Baldwin’ dispensary.

    Wo Hing Museum

    Wo Hing Museum
    This Chinese Temple is found in the centre of Front Street wasw built around 1912. It served the Chinese population in Lahaina, most of whom worked in the sugar cane industry. In the 1940s it lost its importance to the Chinese poluation due to their decreasing numbers and it was deserted until 1983 when it was restored. It is now considered one of the finest surviving Chinese Tong Society Halls in Hawaii. The building reflects the importance of the early Chinese immigrants to Lahaina and contains beautiful artifacts, historic photos of old Lahaina and a Taoist altar. Next to the temple is a small theatre which shows films of Hawaii taken by Thomas Edison in 1898 and 1906.

    Hauola Stone

    Hauola Stone
    This gigantic stone is found in the harbour behind the public library on Front Street. It is just visible above the water line where the sea and the underground freshwater meet. The stone is shaped like a chair with a low back. During the time that Lahaina was the capital of Hawaii the monarchs came here and the Hauola Stone was used for birthing by royalty. The royal attendants would line both sides of the stone-like chair. A child born on the Hauola Birthing Stone would gain instant royalty status, as well as immediate status as a potential leader of the Hawaiian people. According to legend, the child would also receive divine power and skills to be used as a fearless leader. Hawaiians believe that the stone has healing powers and sick people come and sit in it and let the water run over them whilst ceromonial prayers are chanted to ask for help for the sick person. The Hauola Stone is one of the most sacred stones in Mau´i.

    The Sugar Cane Train

    The Sugar Cane Train
    This is really a ride you would take if you are travelling with young children who will enjoy the experience of the singing conductor but be aware that it is quite expensive and takes around 1.5 hours.
    For information about the Sugar Cane Train visit the website at: http://www.sugarcanetrain.com

    Hale Pa´i

    Hale Pa´i
    Hale Pa´i is now Lahaina’s public High School. It was set up in 1831 by Protestant missionaries as a Seminary to be used as a centre of learning and enlightenment. In 1837 a printing shop was built at the side of the seminary and a written Hawaiian language was created by the scholars of the seminary. The language was used to produce a Bible, history texts, and a newspaper. There is an exhibit here which displays a replica of the original press as well as copies of early printing.

    Lahaina Jodo Mission

    Lahaina Jodo Mission
    The site containing the Lahaina Jodo Mission has been a sacred site for a long time and waas called Puunoa Point by the Hawaiians which means ‘the hill freed from taboo’. When the Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii in 1868 as labourers for the sugar-cane plantations they saw it as a special place for them. They eventually built a small wooden temple to worship here. In 1968, on the centenary of Japanese presence in Hawaii, a Great Buddha statue was brought here from Japan. Nowadays the misiion is a replica of an authentic Japanese Buddhist Temple. Visitors are welcome to come and explore this serene place with its towering pagoda in the grounds. It is found on Ala Moana Street, just off Front Street.
    For information about the Mission visit the website at: http://lahainajodomission.com

    Whalers Village

    Whalers Village
    This shopping mall is located on Kaanapali Beach and it is home to around 90 shops including high-end stores such as Louis Vuitton and Coach as well as cafes, restaurants and art galleries. Just look for the huge, almost life-size metal sculpture of a mother whale and two nursing calves and if you wlak a little further you will see a bleached-white skeleton of a 40-foot sperm whale.There is also a museum that contains exhibits relating to Mau´i’s whaling past as well as other displays relateing to the ocean. It has free admission and is open daily from 10am until 6pm.
    For information about the Whalers Village visit the website at: http://www.whalersvillage.com

    Ka´anapali Beach

    Ka´anapali Beach
    This is one of the best beaches on Maui. It fronts most of the Ka´anapali resorts and stretches from the Sheraton MauMau´i at its northern end to the Hyatt Regency Mau´i in the south. There is a concrete path that runs the entire length of the beach from Black Rock to the Hyatt. Black Rock is a popular beach area and is great for snorkelling. The area in front of the Whalers Village is where you will find windsurfers, catamarans and paddle boaters.The northern area of the beach is known as Kekaa and in ancient Hawaii it was a lele, or jumping-off place for spirits. Access to the beach is relatively easy and there is plenty of parking.

    Napili Beach

    Napili Beach
    This beach is found next to the Napili Kai Resort.This is a crescent-shaped beach and swimming is very good here thaough there is a nit of a slope to get into the water. It is a great place for body boarding and body surfing, especially in the winter months. It is a great beach for kids as the entire bay is visible from any point in the water.

    Kapalu

    Kapalu
    This is one of the main resort areas in Hawaii and is found on the northwest coast at the foot of the West Mau´i Mountains. In the 1800s it was known as Honolua Ranch and later became Honolua Plantation when it was converted into a pineapple plantation. The area is dotted with historic sites such as the honolua Store, churches and plantation homes. Also found in the area is a rare native rainforest, a protected marine life conservation area, an ancient Hawaiian burial ground and several golf courses which double as wildlife sanctuaries. Its shoreline is lined with five bays and three white-sand beaches. Kapulua Bay which you access through the tunnel at the end of Kapalua Place is often considered as one of the world’s best beaches. It is found just north of Napili Bay and is good for swimming and snorkelling with lots of colurful reef fish. Because of its proximity to the resorts it is very poular and can get quite crowded at times.

    Honokohau Boulder Beach

    Honokohau Bolder Beach
    This northshore beach is found at mile marker 36. The beach is entirely made of boulders. It is a popular surfing beach during the winter especially with the locals. This is also a popular spot for kayaking and the last spot on the north shore where boats can enter the water. The Honokohau Stream enters the bay on the south end of the beach.

    Traveller's Tip

    Be careful not to leave any valuables in your acar if you are walking to the beach as theft is a common occurrence here.
  • It can flood here after heavy rain so be careful if this is the case.
    Honolua-Mokuleia Bay

    Honolua-Mokuleia Bay
    This is Mau´i’s northernmost beach and it is part of the Honolua-Mokuleia Marine Life Conservation District. It is nicknamed ‘Slaughterhouse’ by surfers which is due to the fact there used to be a slaughterhouse near the beach. The beach is found near Kapaliua and it is lovely with its white sandy beach backed by sea cliffs.It is is a great place for body surfing and sunbathing though the surf can be strong during the winter months. Concrete steps and a green railing help you get down the cliff to the sand. The next bay along is Honolua but it has no beach but but it is great for surfing and competitions are often held here. During the summer months when the water is calmer this is a poular snorkelling spot with its clear waters full of coral and marine fish.