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Hillsborough, New...
Level Contributor
221 posts
2 reviews

Planning a May visit to Maui and the BI. I was planning to visit both Mauna Kea and Halaekala, but I feel like both are almost full day trips and with only 12 days on Hawaii, we want add to our relaxation time, plus it seems somewhat redundant.

If you could see just one which would it be?

I'm leaning toward Halaekala because

a) the route seems more scenic

b) we could go at our own pace and see more in less time

c) safer drive that doesn't require a tour

I think we are going to try to do sunset rather than sunrise there..Are you able to get above cloud level in a rental car? Has anyone done stargazing there? Is it comperable to Mauna Kea?


Tempe, Arizona
Level Contributor
2,112 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Halaekala

we did the sunset and stars tour while on the big island and have not gone to Maui yet so only commenting on that, but I will tell you that it is one of the highlights of our memories from the BI. Nice to be picked up from the hotel, very bumpy (and long) drive to the volcano, but great information from the guide about the island and volcano and telescopes on the way; Dinner is served along the way to get you acclimated to to the elevation and at the top the views were great on every side- it felt like being on top of the world, it was amazing to see the sunset above the clouds and then to hear the telescopes opening- really cool!!!; the rest of the night was spent looking up at the stars where we were guided to the various constellations and learned about how the Polynesians found their way to the island using the stars. He used a laser to point them out which made him easy to follow. We loved it! and- yes it is a full evening- think we got picked up at about 4 and weren't home until after 10. I am sure we went to the beach (we were very close to Hapuna Beach) for relaxation earlier on in the day.

As I said we have not been to Maui yet, but this seems like a different experience all together. Self drive, multiple overlooks along the way, a chance for a hike if you want down a bit into the crater, and lots to see along the way in upcountry if you make it a full day. And just the price of gas and a lunch unless you bring your own picnic!

I think it would be neat to see both- and you can see Maui from the top of Mauna Kea so you could see it from different perspectives also

We are definitely planning on the sunset at Halaekala- and some star gazing to see if we can remember anything that we learned on our guide through the stars the last time!

Edited: 03 January 2014, 04:32
Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
1,559 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: Halaekala

a) Check

b) Check

c) Check

Yes, stargazing is generally very good there. Typically you can get above the clouds, but not always. In the last lunar eclipse we were having weather so we decided to drive up to the top to get above the clouds - didn't work so well and ended up having the same weather just 30-40 degrees colder.

Especially if you plan right you could really have a good day at Haleakala. They have hikes to Waikamoi a couple days of the week, so you could do that, or maybe hike on your own. And then there are occasional nighttime events there - for example one we went to was a talk about the ua'u birds that nest up there, and they have infrared scopes that you can use to look at them in the dark as they come back from the ocean in the evening. Just look here when it gets closer:


3. Re: Halaekala

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