The town of Hana is situated on the eastern tip of the island, and to get there you have to drive about 50 miles through the mountains and along the beautiful coastline. It doesn't sound far, but the purported 600+ hairpin bends in the narrow road and the many one-lane bridges translate to a very slow drive. The speed limit ranges from 15-20 miles per hour.
To give you a better idea, here's an image of the road from Go Hawaii. My own ground-level photos don't really do it justice.
The old cliché holds true here. The trip to Hana is more about the journey than the destination. Although the trip takes about three hours, there are so many stunning stops along the way that we were forever pulling over to check out a waterfall, a great ocean vista, bamboo forests, and a few feathered friends - like Mr. Peacock here.
As we twisted and turned, zigged and zagged, I never once felt car sick. The views and the lush greenery are so striking that my brain and stomach didn't have a chance to communicate the fact that I should be feeling nauseous. It really is mind over matter.
One of our first stops was unexpected (we hadn't read about it in our guidebook). We drove by a copse of trees that looked as if they'd been painted. I looked them up later and it turns out they are Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. They reminded me of the arbutus trees in B.C. but a bit more colourful.
Here's a close up.
The many one-lane bridges are great photo ops as they usually traverse a pool at the end of a waterfall.
This was the view Josh was looking at. At this point in our trip the clouds came out and it started to drizzle but it was still warm.
Some of the best views were looking back on the road we'd been travelling on. The arrows point out the highway among the trees.
Below is Three Bears Falls, also known as Upper Waikani Falls. They're actually a lot bigger than they look from the bridge here.
Everything is just so lush and green on the road to Hana. Even the tree trunks sprout leaves. Vines hang freely from the tree tops.
Flowers and fruit are studded throughout the forests.
There's so much beauty to see in and around Hana, that if you're going to make the trek, I highly recommend staying at least one night, if not two. We stayed at a zen-like guest house surrounded by such beautiful gardens it felt like Shangri-la. But that's a whole other blog post....more to come!