Not so early morning ... around 6am, I put the kettle on to get some coffee under way and 90 minutes later we were on the way with our brand new Ford Escape- circling the Eastern part of the island (by then we didn't actually know that). The Road to Hana is breath-taking. It must have been every time we turned a corner that at least one of us uttered a 'wow, that's amazing, spectacular, beautiful, stunning, awesome, wunderbar', etc. Waterfalls, single ones, doubled up, falling across steps ... you name it, it will be there one way or the other - fantastic! We drove along the coastline and then inwards just to return to the coast, up and down on some pretty narrow road, not as narrow as some of the roads you can find in Cornwall ;) We got into Hana and decided to go on to check out the Southern part of Haleakala National Park which is just South of Hana.
Kipahulu is the entrance to the park and also the information point to find out if you can go on further West ... we were told the road is 'open and passable' - there are some stories around that the road is more of a path but we'll find out later. :)
First things first, a very short walk along the Kuloa Point Trail as the Pipiwai Trail is closed :( The Trail is short but nonetheless beautiful and so lush, amazing! It leads up to the Ohe'o Gulch (aka Seven Sacred Pools).
Refilled with Beef Jerky and Macadamia nuts we continued our drive around this part of the island ... it didn't get boring, the road winds along the coastline for several miles and is unpaved, it needs concentration for sure just so you won't fall off of the cliff ;) , however what you see is astonishing. Once the rainforest gives way to the desert the landscape changes dramatically, the lava hills are covered in mostly yellow grass and the occasional scrub or sometimes even small trees. Sometimes, we were simply lost for words :)
While returning to 'normal' surface, Highway 37 leads inland again but the views don't get less spectacular, on Big Island we could see three volcanos - Mauna Loa, Hualalai and even the active Kilauea are above cloud level - aaaaahhhhhh.
Lunch at Ulupalakua Ranch was great, outdoor BBQ with nice views to the neighbouring islands of Kaho'olawe and Lana'i. Then driving back to our Southern part of the island to jump into the ocean for another round of floating and swimming in the Pacific - love it!