ALOHA! WHERE TO EAT, PLAY, SHOP & STAY IN HAWAII
Maui is definitely one of our favourite places hands down for a relaxing, but activity filled getaway. Just 9 and a half hour flight from Sydney it is an accessible overseas holiday (Australian’s have an inbuilt tolerance for long distance flights right?). Maui has amazing resorts and restaurants but is also filled with activities for those of us who love a bit of adventure to fully unwind. We recommend hiring a car while you are on the island (Convertible Mustangs are a cult favourite) so you can explore, however if you just want to set up shop by the pool and not move for a week, that’s cool too. You do you.
The Andaz is by far the best place to kick off your shoes for a week in Maui and is located in Wailea on the south side of the island. It is only a few years old and ultra sleek and modern. It has 7 pools (Yes, you read that right…. 7), a private beach, countless activities to offer on a daily basis such as yoga, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and group fitness classes, as well as housing possibly one of the best restaurants on Maui, Morimoto. What’s not to like? Set yourself up in an ocean view room so you can watch the stunning Maui sunsets from the comfort of your own private balcony.
The Westin is located right on picturesque Ka’anapali beach surrounded by a plethora of restaurants and shops which means that if you want to explore without straying too far from your hotel, you can. With a beautiful beach at your fingertips and a gigantic pool a stones throw from your room, paradise is at your fingertips. Ka’anapali is a little bit further north of the resort hub of Wailea, however there are plenty of exciting hikes, tide pools and rock jumps around the area that are only 5-10 minute drive from the hotel.
Where to start. Maui has some of the best restaurants and dining experiences in the world so make sure you book ahead to avoid missing out!
Mama’s Fish House His our number one must do while you are visiting Maui. RUN, DO NOT WALK PEOPLE, this place books out FAST. The restaurant is situated right on the beach and its décor is quintessentially Hawaiian. The restaurant is situated in the cute town of Paia, which is on the opposite side of the island from most of the resorts. It should take you about 40 minutes by car to get there from most of the big hotels but it is 100% worth the drive. Book an Uber so you can enjoy the amazing cocktail and wine selection! Do not leave without trying Mama’s Stuffed Mahimahi & Lobster and the Ono, Ahi & Mahimahi in Penang Curry and Coconut Milk – Easily one of the best meals you will have in your life. Guaranteed.
Flatbread Paia. Go here for lunch while you are shopping the cute boutiques around Paia Town. The Mopsy Pork Flatbread changed our life. There are no words. And I never thought I would say that about pizza. Make it one of your first stops.
Morimoto is an incredible Japanese restaurant located inside the Andaz Hotel. Reserve a table poolside at sunset and enjoy a Basil Smash cocktail while chowing down on some fresh sashimi. The restaurant is owned by the ‘Iron Chef’ Masaharu Morimoto and is world famous.
Monkey Pod at Wailea is renown for having the best Mai Tai’s on the island. Couple this with a Lobster Pizza and some Truffle fries and you have yourself the perfect post day in the sun meal. If you happen to book before 7pm, you will find half price cocktails, entrée’s and pizza on offer.
Sansei (Kihei) is a casual and cheap Japanese restaurant chain. There is always a line, so make sure you book or get there in the early evening. Order the Dynamite Shrimp, the Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Roll and the local roll – this is not your average sushi joint. The sashimi is super fresh and the service is fast and friendly.
Maui isn’t the place to go if you are looking for pumping clubs and dancing all night long however there is plenty to keep you busy during the day so that by the time you have washed dinner down with a few cocktails you will be asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Jump on a tour and visit the Haleakala Crater at sunrise, the 3am pick up time will be tough at first but the reward at the top is worth it. Make sure you check the weather before committing to a tour though as you want the clearest day possible so you can get the full impact of the view. You can also opt to ride down the volcano on a BMX bike which is not for the faint hearted but is a one in a lifetime experience – Pick between an 11km ride and a 22km ride. There are plenty of companies that offer a tour similar to this but we recommend Bike Maui, the guides were safety first and made it a day not to be forgotten.
The Road to Hana is world famous and is a must do while you are in Maui. It is just over 100kms long and made up of 620 hairpin bends and 59 one way bridges (Note: Those of you who get car sick – medicate, medicate, medicate. This might just be your idea of hell). You can drive the road yourself if you have a hire car, however we recommend jumping on a tour as the guides can show you some of amazing tide pools and waterfalls that you can swim in just off the side of the road, which are often not marked or hard to find on your own. Try Hike Maui, our guide was knowledgeable and funny to boot and showed us the lesser known swimming spots that were 100% Instagram worthy. Bring comfy shoes as there is a bit of walking and a change of clothes so you aren’t sitting in your wet bikini all day!
Maui is the original home of surfing, so why not learn while you are there? We aren’t suggesting you hit Jaws straight away, but there are plenty of bays around the island that have perfect waves for learners like yours truly. Hit up the guys at Maui Waveriders for a good time, a great work out and you can even choose to purchase photos of your lesson at the end of the day to remind you where you came from (Started from the bottom now we’re here…. Right?) We recommend doing this with a group of friends or your partner, so you can laugh at each other or get competitive – whatever floats your boat.
If you are reading this thinking ‘this is all great but it’s not a holiday unless I can have a few shots and dance the night away, then we get you. We aren’t going to lie to you. Maui is not nightclub central. However, there are a few cute bars which will do the trick. Most of the nightlife is based in Kihei which is about a 10-minute drive from Wailea. Check out ‘The Triangle’ which is a cluster of local bars that is often packed on a Friday and Saturday night. If you are around the area also try Fred’s Mexican Café – Taco Tuesdays, need I say more. If you are just looking for a casual drink while you take in the sunset, you can hit up any of the restaurants I have mentioned above and grab a seat at the bar. Honourable mentions also go to Hula Grill, where you can sit with your toes in the sand while downing a cocktail or beer from their extensive list.
If you are holidaying for the soul purpose to shop up a storm, make sure you stop over for a few days in Waikiki as the shopping there is on steroids. Seriously though… Ala Moana is UNFREAKING BELIEVABLE. We could have spent weeks in there. But I digress…. Maui might not have the offering of Ala Moana however it has plenty of cute boutiques and designer shopping to satisfy your needs. Oh and did I mention that if you are looking for a bikini, Maui is THE PLACE.
Paia Town has the best of boutique shopping on the island. It is almost a cross between Noosa and Byron with colourful wooden shop facings and a relaxed vibe. Paia is the place to come to if you are bikini hunting, bandeau, triangle, one piece, cheeky, padded, crocheted – Paia has it all. Paia is also the place to come for relaxed beach ware and cover-ups. Spend a few hours browsing the town stopping for lunch at Flatbread (You might remember I mentioned this earlier.. life changing pizza… ring any bells?).
Whalers Village K Ka’anapali is probably the biggest shopping destination on the island. Home of Sephora, Lulu Lemon, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton and many many more. Located on the beach, we recommend you spend the morning working on your tan and then retreat to the village to give your credit card a work out and grab some lunch. If you need your Americana hit – head to Cheeseburger for the Fish Taco’s or a good old fashion American Burger.
If you are staying in Wailea and don’t want to go far, head to The Shops at Wailea. Most hotels will provide a courtesy bus that will shuttle back and forth from here so you can shop for hours without having to be on someone else’s schedule. Housing big name brands such as Prada, Tiffany & Co, Gucci and many more, be prepared to drop some cash. There are also a few good restaurants here although Monkey Pod only 5 minutes up the road is still our number one pick for some much needed post shopping sustenance.
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