Sunday, November 18, 2007

Maui Trip - Day 4 (Hana Lava Tube & Haleakala Crater)

October 28th, 2007

This is the 4th day of our trip to Maui. We left the hotel room very early in the morning - at around 6.30 am. The trip to Hana was very scenic and memorable. This is one of the best drives that I've ever made. We wanted to cover two places today - Hana Lava Tube and Haleakala Crater / National Park. It took us about 3 hours to reach the Hana Lava Tube.

On the way, you can do several stop overs to see beautiful parks, water falls and mountains. We did only a few stop overs in the interest of time. You can also get a glimpse of the ocean during the drive. On the way to the Hana Lava Tube is the Garden of Eden. We spent about an hour there and had the break fast that we had taken with us. It is a beautiful park with colorful flowers and fresh plantation. It will be a feast for your cameras and camcorders. You can see the famous Keopuka Rock where Jurassic park's introductory scene was shot. You can also get a glimpse of the Puohokamoa Falls from the park. You can drive for about 1/2 mile inside the park. They have restroom facilities also.

We reached the Hana Lava Tube at about 11 am. The sky started to drizzle. There was hardly any people in that area and no ticketing office as such. There was a tent at the entrance of the cave. A lady collected $12 per person and gave a flood light (for photographs) and a torch light to find our way inside the cave. I was disappointed that there will not be any lightings inside the cave. The cave entrance is a big hole with a stair case that takes you down. There were a few mosquitoes near the cave entrance, but the cave interiors were good. No mosquitoes, no odor or bats. However, rain water was dropping from the ceilings of the cave. You have to walk carefully inside the cavern because there are some uneven walk ways.

My little one and my wife enjoyed the self guided tour inside the cave. I was carrying a torch light on one hand and my little one on the other hand. I had the camera/camcorder on my shoulders. The view inside the cave was amazing. You could see the lava formations & meltdowns every where. We reached the end of the tour after a 15 minutes walk. We took a few pictures with the support of flood light. There are areas which are not safe for visitors and hence we weren't allowed to walk further. The whole self-guided tour lasted for about 30 minutes. It was an adventurous experience. I wouldn't say that the drive was worth it. But, the scenic drive itself was very enjoyable. It started to rain heavily when we left the cavern.

We started our drive to Haleakala Crater / National Park. We had our lunch on the way. The drive was for about 4 hours. It was not as scenic as Hana Lava Tube drive. The crater is at an altitude of 10,023 feet. We paid $10 at the entrance. We did a stop over in the Visitor's Center that is closer to the entrance. We relaxed for a few minutes and started to drive another 30 miles to reach the crater. It was very windy near the observatory desk. My little one was scared a bit on seeing the winds. The view of the crater was marvelous. I had not seen any craters before - so, I liked this, much. We were there in the observatory desk for 15 minutes and we started heading back to the hotel. We drove for another two and a half hours to reach the hotel at about 6 pm.

Wow ! What a day ! It was full of driving ... but we liked it. We had our dinner at the resort and spent our last night of the trip, in Maui.

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