12 Stunning Panoramic Photos Of Maui
I normally don’t take my cell phone with me while traveling (as I recently wrote about prior to my trip to India). This is due to a wide variety of reasons including the cost of buying local SIM cards and topping them off with data plans, the potential for sticking out as a target for theft — particularly in high-crime countries and cities, the distraction phones create while you should be enjoying your new surroundings, and the very basic fact that up until recently, I had little need for instant access to phone calls, texts or the internet since I didn’t want to be bothered with these things while traveling (as a rule, while traveling, everything can wait).
However, during my most recent trip to Maui in September, I decided to bring along my iPhone 5 since it wouldn’t involve any issues with roaming, SIM cards or theft (most honeymooners on Maui have far more interesting things on their mind than swiping electronics).
As I look back, it was nice to be able to stay in constant contact with the other people I was traveling with, and sending out instant tweets, uploading pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and using Google Maps and Yelp for navigation and restaurant recommendations provided a fun way to both share my trip with my friends as I went along, as well as to make the traveling itself go quite a bit smoother (goodbye unmarked black-and-white maps in Lonely Planet, hello Google Maps!).
But the real highlight of taking my phone along with me was using the iPhone 5’s amazing camera. Though I had my DSLR on me the entire time, I ended up using it almost exclusively for video and pulling out my iPhone for photos, both for its easy-to-use white balance feature (I’m still trying to figure out how to do that on my Nikon), as well as for the ability to easily upload my photos to my various social networks.
I also got to playing around with the panorama feature of the phone, something that in the past I had mostly dismissed as gimmicky and not for “serious” photography. However, when you’re on an island where you are constantly surrounded by pure and unadulterated beauty, it’s hard to capture everything you are seeing in a limited 3:2 ratio. So I started selecting the panorama option once in a while to see how the images would come out, and I was more than surprised with the results once I got home and was able to look at them on my computer.
The following are a selection of some of my favorite panorama pictures during my trip to Maui. I decided to post the photos with absolutely no filters or post-processing done to them. I know that in the age of Instagram this is nearly heretical, but I wanted to present an accurate and unfiltered reflection of the beauty of the island, without a reader wondering to themselves, “I wonder what it really looks like?”
Also, most of these images were several-thousand-pixel wide in their native format; much too wide to be displayed on most monitors, let alone a standard web site like my own. Therefore, the images on this page have been scaled down to the width of 582 pixels to fit the page. But, if you click each image, a new tab will open and you can view each image in a much wider 1600-pixel-wide format.
The main highlight of visiting Haleakalā, the active volcano that makes up 75% of the island of Maui, is the memorable views of the sunrise as the sun rises above the perpetual cloudcover that sits below the peak of the volcano. This photo shows the vista about 20 minutes before the sun comes up.
Haleakalā Sunrise 2
The above picture shows the amazing colors that begin to form on the clouds shortly before the sun breaks free from the horizon.
Most people watch the sunrise from the viewing area just outside the visitor’s center, then turn around and head back to warmer environs. However, if you head just a little further up the main road, you will find the actual summit, complete with views of Hawaii (The Big Island) — along with views of its many observatories — in the distance, as well views of the Maui coastline along Wailea, the main town of Kahului, as well as the numerous telescopes off to the edge run by the University of Hawaii as well as the Air Force (one telescope allegedly tracks every object in the orbit larger than a basketball).
Located just north of Kapalua, Honolua Bay offers one of the most spectacular views of the pristine waters surrounding Maui. Off in the distance you can see Moloka’i, and on most days, down below in the water you will likely see scores of surfers, as these are some of the best waves for surfing in the world.
Heading north and east from Kapalua along Route 30 you will find many beautiful bays and inlets along the coastline, many of which you can park near and explore by foot. This one, Honokohau Bay, had a small shack nearby where you can buy a coconut from a woman who will slice it open for you on demand.
Biking Down Haleakalā
The problem with visiting Haleakalā to see the sunrise in the morning is that you are in total darkness the entire time. To really take in the views, rent a bike from the many companies that offer it (such as Haleakala Bike Company). They will provide you with a bike, helmet and jacket, and drive you up past the treeline, where you can then cruise down the quiet roadway at your own pace.
About halfway down, stop in Makawao, the famed “cowboy town, for lunch to refuel. Friend of the TheExpeditioner.com Kyle Ellison’s parents own Polli’s, the town’s best Mexican joint, where you can load up on giant burritos and potent margaritas. (Editor’s Note: This site does not advocate mixing Margaritas and downhill volcano bike riding in any manner.)
Sunset from Wailea
Sunsets along the entire western portion of Maui are simply breathtaking, and those as seen from Wailea are no exception. This was my view during cocktail hour before the night’s luau festivities got going.
Sunset from Wailea 2
Then, once the sun hits the horizon, the colors in the sky dramatically change, projecting shades of pink, blue and orange all around you.
Luau in Wailea
The problem with bloggers is that they’re always playing with their phones and cameras. That’s Megan McDonough of Bohemian Trails and Ryan Van Duzer of Duzer.TV ignoring the very interesting, highly entertaining luau taking place.
This particular Luau, Te Au Moana (or “The Ocean Tide”), takes place on the lawn of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and includes a free lei, a massive buffet with baked Kalua Pig as the centerpiece, more piña coladas than one should ever be allowed to drink at any event that includes fire, as well as one of the more authentic Polynesian dance performances on the islands.
Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area
Given the natural beauty that surrounds you, it makes sense that parasailing would be excellent in Maui, as it offers a once-in-a-lifetime view of the island (as seen strapped to the front of a Brazilian man tethered to a small piece of nylon being used as a sail in my case). This view is from Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, located about halfway up Haleakalā, which is where I met up with my particular paragliding guide, Proflyght Paragliding, Maui’s oldest and only full-time paragliding school in Hawaii (and run by Dexter Binder, pictured here with a mallard duck).
The Four Seasons, Wailea
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, pictured at the top right above, is the gold standard for luxurious resorts on the island, and it sits above one of the many picturesque beaches in Wailea, most of which are accessible by foot along the Wailea beach path. Early in the morning is nicest, and as lunch rolls around, the trade winds tend to pick up, with the palm trees bearing the brunt of its force.
Lana’i and Kahoʻolawe from Waiela
Looking in the other direction along the path you can see Lana’i off to the right and the uninhabited island of Kahoʻolawe to the left (with the diving-friendly Molikini Island Preserve just in front of it). Along the path they have focused on planting and maintaining all native species of plants, a stark contrast to much of the island that has since been planted with other non-native varieties over the years.
By Matt Stabile
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com. (@TheExpeditioner)