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Melbourne, VIC
Australia

H A W A I I - M A U I

Les Petites Choses

H A W A I I - M A U I

Kelven Ng

Our trip to Hawaii included a stop for 3 nights in Maui. Originally I was thinking that a week in one location for Hawaii would be a good idea but J really thought otherwise so being the wise man I aim to be, I listened. So glad that we got a chance to go to Maui too. This island has a very different feel compared to Oahu. The country side was beautiful and you see a lot more of it. Maui just felt more wide open and sprawled out compared to Oahu. The beaches that we visited were gorgeous and the water pristine. Seriously, we thought the snorkeling right in front of our hotel to be the best of any location in Oahu that we found. There were a few things that I wished we had time to do but skipped on including doing the drive along the Road to Hana and watching the sunset from above the clouds at Haleakala but it gives us an excuse to come back. Being in Kaanapali, the drive to get to Hana would take close to 5 hours one way without any stops and we didn’t have the time.

We stayed at the Westin Nanea Ocean Villa resort right by Kaanapali (north west point of the island). The hotel was only opened about 3 weeks before our arrival and you could tell right away that the décor and finishing’s were far more modern than the vast majority of hotels in Hawaii. By the time we paid for the rental, only 2 bedroom suites were available so we took it. When we arrived, we were shocked at how open and big the suite was (approximately 1,200 square feet). Equipped with a full kitchen and two full baths, this suite made coming back from the beach a nice and relaxing retreat.
During our stay in Maui, we made it a goal for ourselves to find some beaches that had sea turtles and swim with one. Alas, we were not able to find one but we did visit several beaches and snorkeling locations that were beautiful. While we searched exclusively for sunrises on Oahu, being set in Kaanapali meant that we were going to be restricted to sunset photos while in Maui. Not that we minded at all though – it meant more of an opportunity to sleep in.

Kaanapali Beach


Luckily, our hotel was located right on Kaanapali Beach. This beach was beautiful, nicer than anything we came across in Oahu. There were some driftwood/logs there that made for the perfect object for long exposures (see below). While a bit busy, it was no where near the density that we saw on Waikiki Beach. This might have been our favorite location all trip. It helped that the sunset here was gorgeous and only a few steps away from our hotel too. Nothing beats being able to set up and take your desired sunset photos and then take a short walk back to the hotel for a few drinks and some dinner.
This beach transformed for sunset and I could not have been happier with the sight we saw. The smooth sand and beach logs were a perfect compliment to the amazing sunsets we saw practically every day in Maui.
Oh and did I mention that this beach also had amazing clear water with lots of sea life? Perfect place for snorkeling! All videos taken with the Gopro Hero 5 (love this thing).

Kapalua Bay


Just north of Kaanapali Beach is Kapalua Bay, a very small cove that bears witness to a fantastic sunset. It is also where the restaurant Merriman’s is located. The tide was a little high on the evening that we came here so we had to trek through some slippery rocks in order to get to our sunset location to set up the tripod. Having said that, it was definitely worth it. We didn’t end up swimming here since we got there right around sunset however.

Honolua Bay


Further north from Kapalua was Honolua Bay. There is no central parking lot to get here but when your GPS tells you that you are close, it may be time to find some parking. We just followed some of the other cars that seemingly were parking in the middle of nowhere. Once you get out of the car, you have to walk a little while in the forest before you start to see the rocky beach of Honolua Bay. The water was murky near the shore but as soon as you swam about 30 feet out, you could see lots of sea life. There were also areas with some impressive coral too.

Black Rock Beach


Our hunt for sea turtles brought us just a little further south from our hotel – Black Rock Beach. This beach was pristine and the water very clear. This was a great location for snorkeling too as the waves were not too rough at all for entry. The beach was fairly quiet too but then again we went during the middle of the day when it was really frickin’ hot. Finding parking to get to this beach was a bit of a doozy though. You end up having to park at the Sheraton hotel parking and will have to pay. Just something to be aware of if you plan on coming here. It may be easier to arrange for a shuttle from your hotel.

Food



As you can tell from our previous posts, we love food. We knew that we were going to get great food options in Oahu but Maui was a bit of an unknown to us. We received some wonderful recommendations though and did our own research which ended up with us having some of the best food on our trip. Here are some of the places we visited.

Mama’s Fish House
Why don’t we begin with one of the most famous restaurants on the island? Mama’s Fish House is located in Paia (just a little east of the airport) and the beginning of the Road to Hana. We were recommended by several of our friends to go here so I made sure to make a reservation early. When we arrived and saw the setting, we could see why there was so much noise around this restaurant. This place was happening! We arrived for our 5:30pm reservation so that we could watch the sunset as we ate and we were greeted immediately by valet (the parking lot was full). The walk from the parking lot to the restaurant gave us a good glimpse of why this restaurant is so popular. To say the view is fantastic is not doing the scene justice. You see the green lawn with the palm trees swaying with the sea breeze and then you look out further and all you see is the water. We were sat at a window seat (make sure you ask for this) and had a great dinner while witnessing the sun set behind the palm trees. That is only the view but the food was great too: J had the lobster tails (2 of them) and I had the pistachio crusted mahi mahi stuffed with Dungeness crab (it even came with 1 lobster tail too). Those entrees along with a couple of glasses of good wine and dessert and we were very happy campers.
Tin Roof
I have always liked watching Top Chef. This is a show that showcases chefs with great talent and creativity and they featured a chef from Hawaii by the name of Sheldon Simeon. When we heard that he opened up shop in Maui, we knew we had to put that on our itinerary. The food served here is delicious (so good that we went twice) and so down to earth. The prices were around $15 or less. Nothing fancy here but boy did it taste good. We had the Mochiko Chicken, Pork Belly, Poke Bowl, Garlic Noodles and the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. All of the dishes (except the sandwich) was served on a bed of rice. The mochiko chicken might have been my favorite but J really enjoyed the poke bowl too. We did not have a bad meal here. We also ordered the cup of broth (a hot dashi broth) each time as well because it was so tasty and soothing. Consider ordering online so you can avoid the lineups. The restaurant is very small with very limited seating so be prepared for that as well. There were quite a few people that did take out instead. Thinking about it is just making my mouth water.
Miso Phat
With that name, we did not think we would like this sushi joint as much as we did. Goes to show you that you can’t judge too quickly about anything – especially food. The sushi here was delicious and better than most places we have in Seattle/Vancouver. The rolls were so tasty (though expensive at $24-26 per roll) and the nigiri spot on. I would definitely come back here the next time I am in Maui.
Maui turned out to be the favorite part of our trip to Hawaii. It is much more our pace versus Oahu (maybe it’s just us getting older hah!). The food was great, the views were incredible and the pace of life was just what we were looking for in a vacation. Already thinking of our next trip to Hawaii and Maui is definitely a target destination (along with Kauai). The next time we get here, we definitely plan to do the road to Hana.