We found the Road to Hana to be rather dull. We bought the tour tape which made the drive more bearable, but for two people who like to be outside, sitting in the car for most of the day is somewhat painful.
Along the way, there are beautiful waterfalls, but limited parking at each one. We stopped at a flower farm advertised on all of the maps, only to find that it had been closed for several years. We stopped off at the Arboretum, and right after that, we drove on to another road to see a historic church. There is a small food stand along that road is the world's best banana bread. We returned and bought a second loaf.
Someone emailed us..."You found the road to Hana boring.............I find this rather sad, especially since you present yourselves as enjoying the natural world........"
We are sorry this is not the most uplifting story on the site. It is difficult for us to sit in the car all day, especially with cars directly in front of us and tailgating the rear. We like to get out and about and the road was very limiting, as you can not just pull over at will. For people who love to ride in cars, and love the "Sunday drive", this may be the best day they will have on the island. For the few places we were able to pull out, we did get to see some interesting beaches.
Black Sand Beach
We stopped at the black sand beach for lunch. We had brought out camping stove, so we prepared our famous Hormel Chili mixed with some Velveeta chip dip, and broke out the Tostitos. After lunch we wandered around the area where there are caves to explore and a cute little beach. If we had know that there was not much ahead of us, we would have stayed longer.
When we arrived at Haleakala National Park (the part that is at the shore), we stopped and spent the rest of our day hiking and bathing in the pools. The park was really busy, but it was still worth the trip.
Red Sand Beach
After we left the park, we went to explore the red sand beach our friend had told us about. We saw two other cars parked at the end of a road, so we figured that this was the place. We had to skirt the property of a cabin resort only to crawl under a barbed wire fence. We passed a small cemetery that I think is falling into the ocean and ended up on a ridge that traveled down towards the beach. We first came to a very gravely area, but kept walking until we saw the beach around the corner.
The beach was gravely, and evidentially bathing suits are unnecessary on this male dominated beach, but the water was really nice. The cove is an interesting shape. We found out that a tidal wave had shaped the cove that we have today. On one side of the beach, it looks like a spring is bubbling up into the pool.
The Way Out
We chose to take the back road back to our hotel rather than retrace the Road to Hana. We were ] told that you are not supposed to take rental cars on that road, but once we were on it, we realized that we had taken rental cars on much worse! The park ranger said that the road was a safe road, and we found this to be true. There are some points where an oncoming car and you may have to pull over and decide who gets to pass first. There are some parts where there are cattle in the road. Most of the road was dirt and gravel, so it is a slow ride. We wanted to get through before the sun went down, but you can't win them all. The road eventually took us back to the airport area where we started our adventure that morning. Though the road itself was not interesting, we were glad to have visited the parks and done some hiking.