When in Maui you can’t miss the breathtaking Haleakala National Park sunrise from the islands highest peak. At 10023 feet (3005 m) above sea level the summit of Haleakalā will leave you speechless.
Be sure to book your trip in advance to the Haleakala National Park sunrise as when you’re on holiday on the Hawaiian island of Maui this is something you do not want to miss!
Also, since the 1st February 2017, due to popularity, viewing reservations are required per car.
Fortunately for Lynne and I, as I mentioned in our trip to Hawaii and San Francisco itinerary we had booked a bus trip in advance.
The only real hassle for us was having to get up so early having not fully recovered from our jet lag!
Halekala National Park Sunrise Day Trip
We were up at 0215 to be picked up at our hotel at 0310 by a bus which took us to a rendez-vous point at a petrol station to get more people and a transfer to another bigger bus.
The tour company and trip that we chose was Roberts, Hawaii and their Maui – Haleakala Sunrise Tour.
At that time in the morning as you can imagine the bus driver, Kimo, needed to be fairly lively to stir everyone’s enthusiasm from their slumber.
Fortunately he was giving us a full run down of all the historical and geological facts of the volcano, park and surrounding area.
The road to the summit is very curvy and steep. There is NO WAY I would have considered hiring a car and driving on the other side of the road on an unfamiliar and challenging route. Nope, not for me I was happy in the warm bus!
The bus climbs slowly up the road navigating the darkness (there are no streetlights) and zigzagging (switchbacks) for what seems like forever.
When we finally arrived at the summit parking area at 0545 our driver provided us with a welcome hot cup of coffee and a muffin.
There’s just time to enjoy these and a welcome trip to the bathroom (yes there is one) before grabbing a spot in amongst the already busy viewing area for the sunrise scheduled for 0628.
It was cold.
Now, we’re from Scotland and used to a much (much) colder climate than Hawaii!
But the drop in temperature from 24°C (75°F) the previous day to 5°C (41°F) at the summit was a shock to the system!
Make sure you’re prepared for this change in temperature. We had brought our hat, scarves, gloves and warm fleeces but saw people standing about shivering with just blankets draped around their shoulders.
So once you have your viewing place staked out and your camera to the ready it’s just a case of waiting.
Waiting and watching in awe.
Watching as the colours of the sky slowly begin to change.
Watching in silence.
Watching the dawning of another day.
As the sun slowly begins to climb above the horizon you can begin to feel its welcomed warmth on your skin.
It’s only when the sun has just about fully appeared that you realise you’ve been completely memorised by the whole experience.
It really is completely breathtaking.
One of those “it’s good to be alive” moments when you really appreciate everything you have.
It was definitely the best place Lynne and I have ever witnessed a sunrise.
It’s worthwhile checking out the visitor center after you’ve regained your composure from the moment as we did.
Books, maps and souvenirs are on sale as well as there being exhibits, information boards and a park employee on hand to answer any questions you might have.
The crater view above is seen fully from the visitors center.
Its like a scene out of Star Wars isn’t it?
Back on the bus and commencing the trip back down we made several stops at places of further interest where we could get stunning views and photographs.
An observatory has been built which makes use of Halekala’s location above one-third of Earth’s atmosphere, and the fact there’s limited light pollution.
It also has a military use being part of the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI).
As the clouds below retreat to reveal the stunning Maui landscape and another day of fantastic weather ahead it’s little wonder to see why this island is so beautiful.
Driving further down the volcano the bus made a welcome stop for breakfast at the small, quaint, cowboy town of Makawao.
The breakfast at Casanova Italian Restaurant was included as part of the tour with as many coffee “top-ups” as you could fit into the time allocated and it was delicious!
My chosen breakfast was a delicious frittata of baked eggs with zucchini (courgettes), onions and sundried tomatoes and focaccia bread.
Yes, it’s on the list to re-create here in the breakfast recipes section!
Lynne had a bagel with cream cheese, salmon and fresh fruit.
Well that’s our quick review of the Haleakala National Park sunrise, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d certainly recommend putting it on your bucket list.
Don’t miss the next part of our trip to Hawaii and San Franciso when we go whale watching in Maui!