Maui

White-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, breathtaking scenery and first-class spas and resorts have seen travellers and magazines vote Maui the best island in the world. And no wonder...

Maui has more then 80 beaches of different hues: white, gold, black, green and even red sands will take your breath away. Maui's waters offer some sublime snorkelling, in particular the waters of Molokini, a semi-submerged volcanic crater and marine conservation area.

Maui is also a fabulous place to watch the Humpback Whales: time your visit for the annual whale festival in February and join in the celebrations.

Map of Maui

West Maui

Boasting the most beautiful beaches on Maui, as well as a wealth of shopping, restaurants, water sports and some of Hawaii's best sunsets, West Maui is home to the main resort areas on the island.

The Honoapiilani Highway takes you from one sun-kissed resort to the next, each with its own personality. The main resort town on the west coast is Lahaina. A former whaling town, the picturesque and historic buildings hark back to Lahaina's days as Hawaii’s busiest port. Today, the lively restaurants and bars along Front Street and winter whale watching make it a great base for exploring Maui.

A few minutes by car up the highway and you’ll find yourself in another beach resort area, Kaanapali. Whether you’re staying in the area or just passing through, a stroll on the Kaanapali Beachwalk is always in order. With a range of beachfront resorts lining the calm beach, the resort area also boasts the shopping and entertainment hub - Whalers Village. The mall even contains a fascinating Whalers Museum (fortunately, the warm waters of Maui are now a protected haven for these gentle giants).

At the northern end of the coast lies Kapalua, home to more private resorts, gated communities and stunning golf courses.

 

Kaanapaali Coastline with paraglider
Hawaii Tourism Authority & Tor Johnson

South Maui

Boasting the sunniest and driest coastline on Maui, the quiet southwest coast is blessed with long stretches of sandy beaches and small offshore islands.

The main resort areas of Wailea and Makena are home to stunning hotels and resorts as well as some of Maui's best golf courses.

A highlight in this region include the Makena Beach State Park, also known as Big Beach, which is one of the largest beaches in Maui. Explore the immersive underwater aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center in the whale-friendly Maalaea Bay.

Filled with an abundance of marine and bird life, Molokini Island offers visitors a kaleidoscope of colourful birds, coral and fish, and is the perfect location for snorkelling and diving. Head there early in the morning to experience the most of this premier diving spot. The crescent shape of the island makes it an ideal spot for beginner snorkellers. 

 
Beach Walkway along Wailea Beach

East Maui

The lush, East Maui coast is famous for the winding road to Hana. Beginning in the Kahului, the Hana Highway runs for 83 kilometres amongst waterfalls, dramatic vistas and flowering rainforests. The Hana Highway was dubbed the 'Great Ocean Road of the Pacific' by Mark Twain. This is a journey not to be rushed: take your time absorbing the spectacular vistas along the road that challenges you with more than 600 twists and turns and 54 one-way bridges.

This isolated destination on the east side of Maui is truly a tropical paradise. With a population of only 1,000 people, the small town of Hana is where Hawaiian traditions are alive and aloha is a way of life. This is a great place to stay in for a few days for a spot of snorkelling and soaking up the sun.

Beyond Hana is the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park, the site of the beautiful Pools of Oheo.

Central Maui

Home to Maui's airport in Kahului, central Maui is often the first port of call for visitors to Maui, but often overlooked as they head straight to the east and south coast resort areas. However, Central Maui is home to much of the island’s local community, and this lush, troical region offers plenty of off-the-beaten-path treasures to uncover.

Browse the small-town shops and restaurants of Wailuku. Visit historic and sacred spots like Iao Valley State Park. Discover Maui’s thriving arts community at galleries and performance venues like the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Or explore the streets of Kahului for its unique variety of shops, malls and restaurants. Experience the Magic Isle like a local in Central Maui.

Rolling hills and misty mountains unfold as cool breezes carry the scent of eucalyptus throughout Upcountry Maui. Located on the high elevations around Haleakala, the fertile slopes of Upcountry are home to ranches, botanical gardens and farms with soaring views.

From early times, Hawaiians farmed the volcanic soil of the Upcountry fields, growing taro and sweet potato. Today, take a farm tour in Kula and see how Maui produces the famous Maui onion and other fresh farm-to-table ingredients for Hawaii’s finest restaurants. Discover small-town Makawao, home to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) and a thriving art scene. And don’t forget to drive beyond Upcountry up to Maui’s highest peak to explore the rare flora and fauna of Haleakala National Park.

Hawaii Tourism Authority & Tor Johnson

Whale watching off the coast of Maui

The Road to Hana
With 600 curves and 54 bridges, the road to Hana on Maui's seldom-visited eastern coast, is one of the world’s most scenic drives.

Images courtesy of Hawaiian Tourism Authority. See www.gohawaii.com/au/ for more information about Hawaii.