Up, down, left, right. Curve around the hill, straight through the tunnel of trees, pass the grazing cows, race with the galloping horses, and marvel at the Hawaiian fauna that surrounds you. This is a typical scene along the roads in Maui’s upcountry on the fertile slopes of Haleakalā. And driving here is an experience you won’t soon forget. We initially came upon these roads, not to purposely drive on them for the views, but because we wanted to go to Maui’s Winery. And luckily the main road to our destination took us through this curvacious and scenic route. Kula Highway (Hawaii Highway #37) was one of the most beautiful surprise we came upon.
Driving straight through Kula Highway is possible but probably won’t be probable. There are a selection of stops and some of them you won’t be able to resist. This area is home to many farms and ranches so you can expect produce stands to be abundant. Several gardens with unique Hawaiian plants, and even some not so indigenous, like lavender fields, are also here. We even stopped to provoke a few cows and horses, though not recommended.
The views you get here are partially dependent on the time of day. In the mornings, mist covers much of the road. The mountain itself is shrouded in clouds. It almost feels like you are in the Scottish highlands or the Irish countryside rather than on the tropical island of Maui. But in the afternoon, the sun reveals much more. By this time, the mist is mostly lifted away. The top of the mountain is unhidden. And the ocean below becomes visible. It will look more tropical than otherwise. While both times of day you’ll get excellent views, I prefer the look, smell, and feel of the misty mornings.
Be aware, it’s always chilly here any time you go.
Maui’s Winery is located near the end of scenic Kula Highway coming from Lahaina. It’s a part of Ulupalakua Ranch, and it’s sometimes called by the locals as “Ulupalakua Winery.” It’s not big, in fact, it’s quite small. They have a garden with picnic tables and statues, a few building, and storage for their wines. It’s fair to call it rustic but charming. Take their free tour, as it’s quite informative, I was told (unfortunately we missed it). And when you’re done, stop in their store where you can taste their wine. They make a pineapple wine that I thought tasted like port: sweet, interesting, and delicious. The staff are helpful and friendly, as you would expect on the island. And if you’re lucky, their gray cat (and mascot) can often be found roaming the grounds.
This area is no Napa Valley, but it is lovely in it’s own unique Hawaiian way. Don’t forget to take some motion sickness pills, if you can’t stand curvy roads, because you will be on one for miles and miles. Maui’s more famous Hana Highway gets all the attention. But Kula Highway, is much more safe and varied. Bring on your adventurous spirit and be prepared to go up, down, left, right until you can’t take it no more.* The above address is to Maui’s Winery. It is a destination along Kula Highway. The winery itself is a mere location along a beautiful journey. This address is an end point, but the road to it is the actual adventure.Scenic Drive to Maui’s Winery