It rained all morning: a warm but refreshing drizzle. The road to Hana follows the coastal road on the north side of the island, where the climate is distinctly different from the south. The north is covered in lush, thick rain forest, encouraged by humid, wet weather, while the south is baked dry and longs for rain.
It takes about two and a half hours to get to Hana on a long and winding road with room for only a single vehicle in places, particularly when crossing its numerous bridges over rivers or at the foot of the many waterfalls to be seen here. For most of the journey you can only drive at 15 to 25 miles per hour.
We made stops along the way. This one is called ‘Half Way to Hana’ and is a small cafe at the bottom of someone’s garden that sells coffee and banana bread. We drank our coffee in the rain and watched other customers come and go.
You can buy ice cream everywhere, from little roadside shacks.
The houses along the way were dilapidated as usual but seemed in keeping with the laid back approach to life here.
Bananas grow at the side of the road.
We finally reached Hana and it was still raining.
We headed for Waimoku Falls. To get there you have to walk, probably in the rain, through dense bamboo forest. It’s such an amazing experience.
On the way we encountered an enormous banyan tree.
We finally made it to the Waimoku Falls, which towered over us at 400ft.
The rain finally abated and, after a short break at the falls, we walked back along the trail and were ready for food. We found it on the drive back when we stopped off at a collection of tents and huts where the smell of food was irresistible.
We had ribs and chicken, which has been cooked over coals in a converted trailer.
As we ate, there was a guy next to us furtively trading in weed – no-one seemed to care.
Across the way, coconuts, fresh from the tree were being sold and we just had to have one.
For $7 the guy will take a coconut and hack the end off with a machete in such a way that a bamboo straw can be inserted in order to drink its milk. When you’ve sucked it dry, you take it back to Machete Man and he’ll chop it in half, scoop out the ‘meat’ and hand it to you in a plastic bag to eat later. Providing Machete Man with a tip at this point is well advised.
The trip back home from Hana was a bit of a slog. After a long day of driving and walking, a 15mph journey across virtually the full width of the island tends to wipe the smile off your face. But we struggled on (poor things) – I’m sure you feel really sorry for us! You’ll be glad to know that we stopped off at one of the many beaches along the way and were lucky enough to see about 30 green Hawaiian turtles lying around on the beach. Some were still hauling themselves out of the water and then settling down in the sand and closing their eyes to sleep. What a lovely sight.
In the evening, we found a great bar in Paia called Rock and Brew and chilled out after a tiring day. Live music was playing, the place was buzzing and the beer was exceptional. Another great day in paradise.