by Robert Bush: September 6, 2013

Torch Ginger I love Hawaii.  What’s not to love.  Warm weather all year around, great beaches, warm weather, spectacular snorkling, volcanoes, rain forests, and wonderful golf courses.  One of the problems with Hawaii is that everyone loves it, which leads to more and more wonderful hotels and condos, more and more restaurants and golf courses.  Not that I don’t enjoy those things – but every once in a while, it is nice to be able to visit a more laid back and relaxed Hawaii, a Hawaii as it must have been 50 or more years ago.  And that is still possible.  All you have to do is head down the winding Hana Highway and you are soon transported to an entirely different world, a world with the red blooms of  torch ginger (see photo on right), fields of white ginger,  the ever present African tulip tree with its red flowers; past rushing waterfalls and peaceful natural pools; alongside miles of black lava cliffs meeting the turquoise Pacific Ocean.  Instead of strip malls and restaurants, you will find small roadside stands selling banana bread (made from bananas growing in the area), mangos and passion fruit – sometimes with just a basket to leave the money.  

Each year for the past three years, we have been riding our bikes from the Haiku area down the approximately 50 winding miles of the Hana Highway, over the 49 one lane bridges, past waterfalls, wildflowers, and always with a view of the cliffs and Pacific Ocean.  We have been able to explore a spectacular and eerie bamboo forest, watch thunderstorms and rainbows glide across the horizon on the late afternoons, and watch waves crashing against the lava cliffs.  Riding bicycles on the Hana Highway is really a great way to see it.  You don’t have to maneuver your car around the 600 curves on the highway, stop at each of the one lane bridges for oncoming traffic, search for a parking place when you see something out of the corner of your eye.  People always ask me whether it is safe.  The narrowness of the road suggests that a bike rider would be pushed right into the traffic.  Actually, the cars are going so slowly – for much of the highway less than 20 miles per hour – that it is far safer than being on the shoulder of a highway, with cars whizzing by at 60 miles per hour, or on a city street, with distracted drives passing right next to you at 40 mph.  I think of it as being one really nice bike path.


These are a few of the photographs from those trips.  I hope they capture some of the magic of Hana. Go to the Hawaii galleries on this website to view these photos, and others.




Robert Bush_Rainbow Eucalyptus (2) copy 2

One of the first great places to stop along the Hana Highway is at about Mile Marker 7 where are two groves of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees.  Patches of the outer bark of these trees shed at different times, showing a bright green inner bark.  This bark then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.  Some stops along the way. 


One of the many stands selling locally grown fruits and crafts.  Leave your money in the box.  



hawaii four photos

The Hana Coastline is characterized by steep cliffs formed by lava from Haleakala meeting the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.  These photos are of the black sand beach of Wai’anapanapa State Park (upper left);; one of the best views along the highway (upper right); the rugged coastline just south of Hana Town (lower left); and Hamoa Beach just outside of Hana Town (lower right).


 Riding over the bridges and through the tropical rainforest.



Another bridge...Another waterfall.Bridge on the HighwayWaterfall and pool on the Pipiwai TrailRaining Rainbow

Scenes along the way.  Raining rainbows from passing afternoon showers, one of the many fruit stands along the Highway.  Leave your money in the box!!