Vacationing on Maui and thinking of spending the day exploring Upcountry Maui? For those that are unfamiliar with this region of Maui, it refers to the towns of Pukalani, Makawao, and Kula that are located over 1,500 feet in elevation up the slopes of Haleakala. This region of Maui tends to have cooler temperatures, less tourists, and larger plots of land and pastures (sometimes populated with cattle, goats, deer, and other animals). The views down on the Maui valley below from this elevation are stunning.
We have put together the perfect list of activities and hot spots to consider visiting if planning a day away from the coastlines and beaches and opting to travel up Haleakala volcano.
Haleakala National Park: Visit Maui’s only National Park! Pack your warm clothing into your trunk and head up the winding road to the summit of Haleakala located at 10,023 feet. Once in the park you have access to a number of hiking trails, the most popular leading down into the volcano crater. Planning a trip around sunrise or sunset is often the optimal way of experiencing to highest point on Maui.
Maui Tea Farm: There are coffee lovers and then there are tea lovers. For the latter, consider stopping by the Maui Tea Farm which is located right on the highway that leads you to Haleakala National Park. Book a one-hour tour of the grounds to learn about how tea is grown and harvested. Cap the experience off with a sampling of locally harvested tea.
Ali’i Kula Lavender: This colorful and aromatic destination quickly ascended to one of the top attractions on Maui when it was featured in an episode of television hit show Modern Family. Visitors can explore the fields of purple lavender, sip lavender tea, participate in a treasure hunt, or order a gourmet picnic lunch. Take home a souvenir that smells divine and will trigger Maui memories.
Kula Botanical Garden: Spend an hour or two walking the tropical grounds of this 8-acre botanical garden in Kula. Walk through covered bridges, past towering rainbow eucalyptus trees, and surround yourself with hibiscus, orchids, and king protea. Bring your camera and capture beautiful shots of the colorful surroundings.
Surfing Goat Dairy: You have probably never thought of touring a real-world goat farm, but now the seed has been planted! Learn how this farm raises its heard of cute goats and produces delicious goat cheeses right here on Maui. One tour option even lets you be a helping hand on the operational farm by milking the goats and assisting with other farm duties.
Maui Wine: The only winery on Maui is located in the remote town of Ulupalakua. The location and its views are worth the trip alone, but add in the fact that you can order a flight of locally grown and produced wine to the agenda, and this becomes a can’t miss. The pineapple wines are always a hit. Pair your wine sampling with a menu of small bites. If you are craving a unique lunch option, walk right across the street to the Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill where you can have a burger made from local elk, deer, cattle, or lamb grown on the ranch.
Ocean Vodka: Head to this organic farm and distillery that overlooks the Maui coast. Learn about how vodka id distilled from sugar cane varieties grown locally. Taste vodka formulations in the different stages of the distillery process. Or, stop by for a tasty meal paired with a tropical cocktail at the newly opened café located right on property!
Explore Makawao Town: There isn’t really a “down town” of Upcountry Maui, but the closest you will find is the town of Makawao, more specifically the intersection of Baldwin Ave and Makawao Ave. This old cowboy town has been converted into a collection of boutique shops, art galleries, and eateries. Be sure to stop by Komoda’s Bakery, over a century old, which bakes up the most addictive doughnuts on Maui. A morning coffee from Expresso Mafia will pair nicely with your sweet pastries.