Tag Archive | Maui

A Loo With a View – The Hawaiian Edition

Holiday in Hawaii #23

Hawaiian loos with beautiful views,

When you go there, which will you choose?

Tropical forest or sun-soaked sand,

Whatever your choice, the view will be grand!



‘Iao Needle, Maui



Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Oahu




Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu




Mānoa Falls Trail, Oahu




Hanauma Bay State Park, Oahu




Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui

See other loos with wonderful views

The original Loo with a View

A Loo with a View, Part Two

Five Western Australian Loos with Wonderful Views

A Loo with a View – The Road Trip Edition

Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.


This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.


I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.



Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.



The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.



Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.


I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

When is a Goose not a Goose?

Holiday in Hawaii #10

When is a goose not a goose?

When it’s a mongoose of course.

During our lunch break at Wai’anapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana, we had the feeling we were being watched. We spotted movement near the stone wall, but the creature moved so fast we missed him at first. So we sat very still and waited, and out he came again.


He surveyed the scene carefully before venturing out in search of food, but quickly darted back into the gap in the rock wall when people came too close.



Mongooses were imported into the islands of Hawaii in the 1800s to reduce the rat population in the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, they took a liking to the native ground nesting birds and devoured them as well as the rats. The only Hawaiian island that doesn’t have mongooses is Kauai; the story goes that when a delivery of mongooses was being unloaded of a ship in Kauai, a mongoose bit the hand of a worker. He was enraged and threw all the cages into the ocean. As a result, Kauai has a much larger bird population than any other island.

Visit Jude’s Garden Challenge this month to see more animals in gardens.

To Drive or Not To Drive

Holiday in Hawaii #9

With 620 bends and 59 narrow bridges the road to Hana is not for the fainthearted, or for two Australians who usually drive on the left. The thought of cruising in a rented Mustang with the top down and the wind in our hair was tempting for the driver (Mr ET) but it was outweighed by the potential risk of the passenger (me) dying of fright! Instead we opt for a guided bus tour – easy, relaxing and almost fright free.

The day starts with an early morning pick up and a delicious tropical breakfast, accompanied by a stunning view of the sunlit West Maui Mountains.


The road to Hana, on the east coast of Maui, is only 104 kilometres but it’s steep and narrow, climbing over the mountains and around the cliffs. It can take up to four hours to negotiate the hairpin bends and single land bridges, where giving way to oncoming vehicles is a must.



Four hours stretches into a whole day when there is so much glorious scenery to admire. At Ho’okipa Beach Park the Pacific Ocean meets coastal black lava flows. Crashing waves send sprays of foam high into the air.


Tall stands of Golden Bamboo and Rainbow Eucalyptus compete with dense tropical rainforest.

The waters of Hanawi Stream tumble over a cliff, filling a deep, dark pool before continuing down the mountainside into Honolulu Nui Bay.


At Wai’anapanapa State Park, glistening black sand defines the crescent shaped Pa’iloa Beach. A lava tube large to walk into reveals a different view of the ocean.



Finally we arrive at the little town of Hana, nestled between the green hills and the calm waters of Hana Bay.


Beyond Hana the road narrows even more; sometimes there’s barely a tyre width between it and the cliff edge. The guard rails have seen better days – thank goodness we’re not driving!



We enter Haleakala National Park and stop at the Pools of Ohe’o. After overnight rain, the waterfalls are overflowing and the seven pools, usually tranquil swimming holes, are off limits.



After the national park the Pi’ilani Highway ascends the dry southern slopes of Mt Haleakala, where black lava flows stretch down to La Perouse Bay. The tiny crescent shaped Molokini Crater lies off the coast in Alalakeiki Channel.



There’s one last dramatic view before we return to West Maui. From the elevated area of Pukalani we see the Isthmus of Maui, connecting the rugged mountains of West Maui and Mt Haleakala in the south.


We don’t often do tours but the decision to take a guided bus tour to Hana and beyond has been a great choice. The Road to Hana is not known as Divorce Highway for nothing, and I wouldn’t have seen this beautiful landscape through closed eyes!



Marsha and Manny came with us on the Road to Hana.

Not Quite What I Thought!

Holiday in Hawaii #8

I’ve never eaten fish tacos. I’ve eaten fish and I’ve eaten tacos, but never together. We had lunch at Leilani’s on the Beach and Marsha, Connie and Darrell all had fish tacos. They looked delicious.


I was tempted to stop at this Fish Taco Van, but it wasn’t the right time of day.


So when we had dinner at The Hula Grill in Lahaina I decided to try the Poke fish tacos. They sounded great on the menu – fresh ahi (tuna)  served with shoyu, maui onions, chili flakes, avocado and wasabi aioli. When the tacos came to the table they looked very pretty.


It was only when I took my first mouthful that I realised the fish was raw! I didn’t know Poke meant raw!!

I ate two tacos but I couldn’t face any more raw tuna, so I removed it from the third taco and ate the rest. The avocado was excellent!

It was just as well I didn’t eat all my dinner because I needed room for dessert; an enormous serve of Hula Pie – crunchy chocolate crust and rich coconut ice cream, topped with chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, toasted macadamias and a mountain of whipped cream.

It wasn’t difficult to eat all of my pie.

Now you see it…


Now you don’t…



What word would you use to describe my state of mind during this meal?

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ State of Mind

Marsha didn’t enjoy the Poke tacos either!


Eyeing the Needle

Holiday in Hawaii #7

The rugged West Maui Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the never-ending beaches and tropical gardens of Maui.


To get a closer view of the grandeur of the mountains, we venture inland to ʻIao Valley State Park, where ʻIao Stream has carved a deep valley between the densely forested slopes.

Most people come to the park to see Kuka‘emoku, a volcanic ridge which ends in a sharp bluff rising 370 metres from the valley floor. Also known as ʻIao Needle, this volcanic formation, sacred to Hawaiians, is best viewed from a lookout at the end of a 300 metre walking track.

We begin our ascent to the lookout up a staircase cut into the mountainside before crossing ʻIao Stream. Icy water tumbles down the steep slope over large volcanic boulders and, although there are signs warning of the dangers of flash floods, daring swimmers try their luck.




We continue upwards, stopping along the way to read about the historic Battle of Kepaniwai, which took place here in 1790 when the invading forces of King Kamehameha I defeated the army of Maui.

ʻIao Needle and the surrounding mountain peaks are often enveloped by cloud; ʻIao means “cloud supreme” in Hawaiian. Today is no exception; when we reach the lookout the needle is clear while the mountains are obscured. But as we admire the scenery the cloud lifts, and we have a perfect view of the needle and the mountains set against the deepening blue of the afternoon sky.



On our return journey, a detour off the main path leads us on a circuit into the rainforest, along the bank of ʻIao stream and up the side of the mountain again. Looking down we spot the bright orange flowers of African Tulip Trees high in the canopy.



Another detour takes us further down the valley to the Ethnobotanical Garden, featuring plants brought by the native Hawaiians when they first settled these islands. Just as they would have been 1700 years ago, banana trees and taro plants are watered by ʻIao Stream.


It’s the heart of the valley, giving life and creating the spectacular scenery we’ve enjoyed on our walk today.


ʻIao Valley State Park is open daily. Entry costs $1 for walk-ins and $5 per car. There is no fee for Hawaiian residents.

Mystery on Maui

Holiday in Hawaii #6

Garden Photography Challenge February: Monochrome

The gardens of Maui are lush. Every possible shade of green complements the brightly coloured tropical flowers. It’s joyful to behold.


In her February Garden Challenge, Jude asks for monochrome images, so they accentuate shape rather than colour. Tall coconut palms are spiky and angular.


The canopy and roots of the banyan tree spread to fill vast spaces.


This single thorny stem reaches out over the cliff top on Maui’s southern coast.


Can anyone identify this mystery plant?

Garden Photography Challenge

Watching Whales

Holiday in Hawaii #5

After migrating more than 4800 kilometres from the Gulf of Alaska at the end of each year,  thousands of humpback whales bask in the warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Every morning, from our eighth floor balcony, we saw whales passing by. With coffee in one hand and binoculars in the other we scanned the ocean looking for blows. Sometimes the binoculars weren’t even necessary.



These tantalising glimpses of whales left us wanting more, so we joined an early morning whale watching tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation. The rising sun gilded the West Maui mountains as the catamaran Ocean Spirit glided effortlessly out of Lahaina’s sheltered boat harbour into Auau Channel.




Once in open water, we gathered along the railing, searching for signs that whales were about – the first blow was greeted with excited cries.



Expert commentary from our guide told us where to look and how long to wait before the whales were likely to surface again. Even though our group was large, there wasn’t a sound as we waited in anticipation. A pod of whales, at least three and sometimes up to five, rewarded our patience with their playful tail slapping and head rises.




We didn’t just see whales. When an underwater microphone was lowered into the depths, we heard their haunting whale song.

What were they calling to each other? Probably courtship songs, but I’d like to think the whales were as fascinated by us as we were by them.



Justin Beaver and Marsha Lee came whale watching with us.

A Walk Along Front Street

Holiday in Hawaii #3

The little town of Lahaina on Maui’s west coast might be visited by two million tourists every year but it doesn’t have a touristy feel. The stores along Front Street, named one of the Top Ten Greatest Streets by the American Planning Association, have retained their quaint facades dating back to the 1820s. Instead of souvenir shops, the street is lined with galleries full of beautiful artworks and crafts by local artists, photographers and jewelers. There are also several historic sites which confirm Lahaina’s designation as a Registered National Historic Landmark.


A walk through Lahaina’s historic area begins at the Pioneer Inn, built in 1901 in plantation style. The inn sits on the waterfront overlooking the harbour; where the whaling fleet once docked, there are now fishing boats and tourist cruisers.



Over the road is a huge Banyan tree – the largest in Hawaii, planted in 1823. With its clumps of aerial roots and enormous spreading canopy the tree takes up a whole block and, at any time of the day, it provides shady respite from the sun. Craft markets selling everything from paintings to perfumes often take place under its leafy branches.


In front of the the Banyan tree is the Old Lahaina Courthouse, built in 1859. The building has served many purposes in the past, including customs house, post office and government offices. Today the Visitor Centre and Arts Society Gallery are downstairs while above is the Lahaina Heritage Museum. The exhibit “Always Lahaina” gives a fascinating introduction to the history of Maui and its people.


Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1848 and next door to the Courthouse are the reconstructed ruins of the fort. Originally built in 1832 to protect the town and royal homes, the fort was demolished in 1850 and the coral stones re-used to build a prison. This replica was built on the location of one corner of the fort in 1960 as part of a film set. Three cannon, salvaged from a Russian warship in 1816, belonged to a longer line of artillery protecting the beachfront.



There are more small museums on Front Street. Upstairs in the Wharf Cinema Centre is the Plantation Museum. The small room is filled with photographs, artifacts and personal recollections about the sugar cane and pineapple plantations which once dominated the landscape of West Maui.


Further along Front Street are the Baldwin House, built in as a home for missionary families in 1834, and Wo Hing Museum, dedicated to the Chinese population of Lahaina. In the garden is the Cookhouse Theatre. Where members of the Wo Hing Society once prepared meals in the community kitchen, old black and white films now play. Made by Thomas Edison between 1898 and 1906, the films depict Hawaiian life at the turn of the century.




Finish your exploration of Front Street with a visit to Ono Gelato – indulgent helpings of chocolate, macadamia and coconut ice cream  are best enjoyed on the deck at the back of the cafe, overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. It’s the touristy thing to do.