Upcountry on Maui is a term that is used to describe the area on the Haleakala side of Maui away from the shoreline. Basically if you want to visit the beach you must gasp…drive there!
The largest towns Upcountry Maui are Pukalani, Makawao and Kula. Since upcountry sits higher in elevation the temperatures here are much cooler than the rest of Maui. Obviously the higher you go, the colder it gets. Upcountry is a great day trip on anyone’s Maui itinerary.
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ways to explore upcountry maui
Getting To Upcountry Maui
10 ways to explore upcountry maui
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Wander Makawao Town
Makawao is a small town Upcountry Maui that has rich ‘Paniolo’ history. Paniolo’s or ‘Hawaiian Cowboys’ have been around the Makawao area since the 1800’s. When most people think of cowboys they think of the American cowboy but the Paniolo is a bit more badass as to be considered a Paniolo they have to have mustaches.
As you cruise through this historic Maui town don’t be surprised to see a Paniolo strolling around. If you happen to be here during the 4th of July make sure you check out the Makawao Rodeo.
Explore Polipoli Spring State Park
Sample Spirits at Pau Vodka
The PAU Distillery is located just outside of Makawao town in Upcountry Maui. The tour walks you through the process of how the PAU spirits are created and bottled. PAU creates several spirits including the flagship vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey which you are able to taste at the end of the tour in the tasting room. PAU vodka stays true to its ‘Aloha Spirit’ as it is made from Maui Gold Pineapples and other local ingredients. Tours cost $10 per person and takes a half hour to 45 minutes.
Eat at Hali’maile General Store
Located directly across the street from the Pau Distillery is the Hali’imaile General Store which has been around since 1988. It’s a great restaurant to have lunch at while you’re touring around upcountry. The menu is American with Hawaiian and Asian twists like the Kalua Pork Enchilada Pie and my person favorite the Coconut Fish Curry. If you’re having dinner be sure to sample a craft cocktail or 2. They also have a beautiful wine list. Open for lunch Monday through Friday and nightly at 5 p.m.
Saturday Morning Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning there is a farmers market held in Kula from 7 am to 11 pm. This is where you can get the cheapest and freshest produce on the island. There will also tents selling their fresh product like poke bowls, turmeric shots, and small ‘plate lunches’. Fresh fish, macadamia nuts, tropical flowers and plants can all be found at this farmers market. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags and your appetite.
Most people visit upcountry only to watch sunrise or sunset on at the summit of Haleakala Crater. While this is a great way to see the sunset there are other ways to explore Haleakala. You can hit the trails and traverse down Sliding Sands Trail into the crater. The hike is strenuous but worth the pictures and what an experience to be hiking inside a volcano. You could also bike down the switchbacks from the summit of the volcano to Paia Town.
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Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
The 13.5-acre farm sits nicely on the slopes of Haleakala Crater. The farm is filled with 25 different varieties of lavender, olive trees, hydrangeas and more. There’s a gift shop where you can buy the local lavender products like essential oils and soap. Soak in the sights as you sip lavender tea and eat a lavender scone. Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.