Top 10 Things to Do in Upcountry Maui
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You’ve heard of the magic it holds, you’ve seen it in photographs, and now it is time to set out and explore all the beauty that is Upcountry Maui. Nestled on the slopes of Mount Haleakala lies four major components that help makeup what we call “Upcountry.” These four major components include the towns of Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, and Ulapalakua.
Although many might consider this region of Maui to be more of a visual journey, in this article I have highlighted the “Top 10” must-see destinations along the way. So fasten your seatbelts as we set out on a journey that is sure to leave an impression.
#1 – Haleakala Crater
Last, but certainly not least, find yourself at Haleakala Crater. It’s a long journey up the mountain to the crater summit at 10,023 feet, but as you can imagine, the views are unsurpassed. Sit on top of the clouds and watch the sun rise or set over the Maui central valley. A destination where pictures speak louder than words, Haleakala (which means “House of the Sun”) is an incredible sight to take in.
Along with the breathtaking views at sunrise and sunset, Haleakala National Park offers several hiking trails along the crater for the more active individual, and there are a handful of companies that offer biking tours down the mountain as well, such as Haleakala Bike Company. Downhill biking tours are available after sunrise and are a great way to cruise down the mountain. Another great way to take your Haleakala adventure to the next level is to rent a cabin down in the crater and stargaze after sunset.
No matter how you choose to enjoy this unique volcano, always keep safety in mind, as there is less oxygen available at such high altitudes.
To visit the Haleakala Crater, you must make a reservation. For more information, visit Haleakala National Park
#2 – MauiWine
Ready to sip some wine on the countryside? Look no further than MauiWine. Located next to Ulupalakua Ranch Store, MauiWine produces and bottles a variety of wines uniquely made from both pineapple and traditional grapes. As you enter the property at Maui’s only winery, take in the sights of beautifully carved Italian Cypress trees that have been made into sculptures that reflect the rich history of the land.
Ideally, it is best to plan a visit to the winery around the time of 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., where you can participate in a free walking tour. Starting in the beautiful tasting room, take the opportunity to try some of the wines that have been grown, produced, and bottled right at this very property. As you continue into the King’s quarters, enjoy a tour that begins with an introduction of the rich history, and goes on to explain the processes of making and producing some of Maui’s most memorable wines. The tour takes you through every aspect of production, including the cellar where the wine is stored for fermentation.
After your tour, be sure to snag some of your favorite bottles to share the experience with friends and family. They even ship bottles to the mainland!
For more information, visit MauiWine
#3 – Ulupalakua Ranch Store
Set alongside the “back side” of the Road to Hana is Ulupalakua Ranch Store. When coming from Upcountry, enjoy the beautiful drive through blooming Jacaranda trees as the road twists and turns along the countryside. As you head around to the Ulupalakua Ranch Store, make sure you bring your appetite. What once used to be a pit stop to people visiting the winery has now become a destination for amazing food!
Executive Chef, Will Munder, cooks up some delicious meals including slow-roasted beef brisket, and burgers made from lamb, beef or elk. Everything at the ranch is now made from scratch and sourced as local as possible. With the charm of the old cowboy heritage to pair with the delicious selection of food and unique gifts, you simply can’t go wrong with this destination Upcountry.
For more information, visit Ulupalakua Ranch Store
#4 – Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is truly a sight for sore eyes. Set along the slopes of Haleakala at about 4000 ft. elevation, the lavender farm is a great place to visit for the entire family. Visit the farm and take a guided walking tour learning all about the history of the property and about the varieties of lavender grown on the farm, or roam the fields on your own just taking in the sights and smells of the beautiful countryside.
Another unique way to experience the farm is by taking a crafting class. Throughout the year, AKL offers a variety of classes to engage your inner artist, including everything from wreath making to living container gardens. And for the kids – look no further than AKL’s treasure hunt. Starting at the Gallery Gift Shop, the treasure hunt will take you through less-traveled sections of the farm as you uncover hidden treasures.
When you’re ready to wrap it all up, be sure to exit through the gift shop as the farm has an outstanding gallery and cafe filled with everything imaginable that can be made using lavender infusions.
For more information, visit Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
#5 – O’o Farms
One of the unique ways to experience the farm culture of Upcountry Maui is to visit O’o Farm. Standing out from the crowd, O’o delivers an exceptional farm-to-table experience in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. The breakfast tour, known as the “Seed to Cup” tour, places more of an emphasis on the coffee that is being grown and roasted on site at the farm, while the lunch tour offers more in-depth information on farming practices and growing vegetables.
In this unique tour, guests have the opportunity to learn and see first hand the farming practices of an organic and biodynamic farm while helping to harvest and create a beautiful salad to go with their lunch. Once the walking tour is complete, the tour group will then proceed to the outdoor kitchen and dining area where the farm chef has prepared a special meal sourced directly on site. The only thing left to do at this point is to sit down, soak up the beautiful country scenery, and appreciate the care and hard work that goes into creating a beautiful meal as you enjoy every moment, from one bite to the next.
No matter which tour you choose at O’o Farms, having the unique opportunity to dine and tour at the very place your food is being grown and cultivated is something very special that just about anyone would enjoy.
For more information, visit O’o Farm
#6 – Upcountry Farmers Market
The Upcountry Farmers Market is definitely one of the local favorites. Held every Saturday right in the middle of beautiful farm country, this market boasts everything from organically grown leafy greens and vegetables, to freshly picked tropical fruits, coconuts, kombucha, coffee, homemade breads, farm-fresh eggs, cold-pressed juices and more!
Set along the hillside of Haleakala, you can enjoy the beauty of this open-air market as you try something unique like some freshly juiced sugarcane to go alongside with some homemade banana bread.
No matter how you choose to indulge in the Upcountry Farmer’s Market, you will want to make it a point to get there early before the goods sell out!
For more information, visit Upcountry Farmers Market
#7 – La Provence Restaurant
Tucked away in the heart of Kula, right next to the True Value, lies one of Maui’s most unique and exceptional bakeries, La Provence. A popular spot for the locals, La Provence is a family-owned restaurant and bakery that is known for serving up the most decadently delicious French cuisine and pastries.
From the moment you step foot in the entryway, you are greeted by the quaint appeal of their outdoor garden patio. Offering an atmosphere that is both casual and relaxing, La Provence is an excellent dining option while traveling through Upcountry.
For more information, visit La Provence in Kula
#8 – Makawao Galleries & Shopping
Makawao is considered to be one of the most visited towns of Upcountry Maui. What used to be an old cowboy town filled with paniolo (cowboys), is now home to many amazing galleries filled with working artists, unique gift shops, and a few dining options as well. As you roam the streets of Baldwin Ave. and Makawao Ave., be sure to stop in and check out some of the incredible galleries filled with paintings, sculptures, blown glass, woodcarvings, handcrafted jewelry, and more!
Many of the shops sell locally made goods, as well as some great consignment, finds. As you take in the scenery of amazing artwork and peruse the shops seeking out little treasures, be sure to save time for the delicious fresh-baked creme puffs at Komoda Bakery. These delicious baked pastries sell out fast, so you will want to hit this spot early! Some other great options for grabbing a bite to eat include Casanova’s (Italian food), Makawao Steak House, Polli’s (Mexican food) and Market Fresh Bistro.
However, if it’s a taste of the rich history of this historic cowboy town that you’re looking for, look no further than the Makawao History Museum. You will find this museum tucked between the little shops that line the east side of Baldwin Avenue. This small but charming museum chronicles the history of Makawao all the way from its’ establishment in ancient Hawaii to its’ rodeo culture and draw for tourism that persists today. Every 3rd Friday of the month is Makawao’s Maui Friday’s party. It’s an awesome place to meet the local community, shop with Maui made vendors, taste food from Maui food trucks and enjoy live entertainment.
For more information, visit Makawao 3rd Friday’s
#9 – Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center
With a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1800s as one of Maui’s very first sugar mills, Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center has since transformed itself into a destination that has become a platform for creativity through exceptional visual arts education. Founded in 1934, Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center is a nonprofit arts education organization that offers everything from artist lectures, exhibitions, events, tours, classes and workshops for all ages, and more!
Enjoy free entry into the historic Kaluanui Estate where you can view the Hui’s current art exhibition, peruse the gallery shop for unique gifts made by local artists, and watch the artists in action creating everything from ceramics to paintings, photography and more!
Afterwards, enjoy a stroll through the Hui grounds on either a guided or self-guided tour taking in the breathtaking surroundings.
For more information, visit Hui No’eau
#10 – Pukalani Country Club
Made up of mostly residential real estate, the small town of Pukalani boasts very little to the eye of the tourist. With a few local grocery stores, a public pool and the charm of a small town, Pukalani is often surpassed by many people visiting the island. However, one destination that makes the “Top 10” list of things to do Upcountry lies right here in this sleepy little town.
In Hawaiian, the word Pukalani means “Entrance to Heaven,” and this is exactly what you will get at the golf course of Pukalani Country Club. Offering an 18-hole course across the span of nearly 160 acres at a par 72, Pukalani Country Club offers some tremendous golfing to even the well-seasoned golfer. Set along the gentle hillside of Upcountry, this golfing destination offers remarkable views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Valley Isle of Maui.
For more information, please visit Pukalani Country Club