The tropical Hawaiian island of Maui is a place of lush valleys, crystal clear water and fiery sunsets…

In July this year, I spent 10 days with my daughter visiting two of the beautiful Hawaiian tropical islands of Maui and Oahu. After an exceptionally wet Australian summer, followed by a cold Sydney winter, the decision to go somewhere sunny and warm was an easy one.

Departing Sydney on yet another cold and very stormy winter evening, some 10hrs later, I landed in Hawaii with the sun shining and a balmy 28ºC. An easy transfer through Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International airport, it was a short domestic flight of 40mins to my first stop – the island of Maui.

As the plane flew out of Honolulu, the spectacular views of Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater below were breathtaking. The flight took us over the islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i, and soon touched down in Maui where my holiday in the sun began.

Located to the east of Oahu, Maui is the second largest of the eight major Hawaiian islands and is well known for its lush valleys, crystal clear water and fiery sunsets.

Our destination of beautiful Kā‘anapali beach is around an hour’s drive towards Maui’s northwest coast. Recognised as Hawaii’s first purpose-built resort area, I stayed at one of the oldest hotels, the Royal Lahaina, celebrating 60 years this year.

This beachfront resort originally opened with only a handful of modest bungalows set amongst 27acres of lush gardens filled with palm trees, colourful hibiscus and masses of fragrant frangipanis.

Over time more bungalows were added before the 12-storey tower was built in the 1970s, adding a cool retro feel to the resort.

Strolling through the gardens gives a feeling of being on a tropical island hideaway and also a cool place to relax and escape the heat of the midday sun.

*The resort recently began an upgrade of the tower rooms and bungalows. My bungalow is what I would describe as authentic. If a renovated room is your preference, it’s best to check when making your booking.

Kā‘anapali Beach is the perfect place to take in the stunning views across the water to Lana’i and Moloka’i islands and as my first day drew to a close, with a Mai Tai in hand, I watched the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean as the sky turned from a fiery red to soft pink and lilac, the best way to end the day.

There are so many on-water experiences to choose from when visiting Hawaii. Swimming with turtles, snorkelling amongst the coral filled underwater volcano craters, dolphin spotting and during the winter months whale watching, sunset cruising and the list goes on…

We were visiting Maui for only four days and a half-day snorkel and dolphin spotting cruise seemed a great option.

The cruise departure at 7am was from Lahaina Harbour around 7km from our hotel and as the boat made its way from the jetty into the open water, the sun’s rays cast a soft glow over the West Maui Mountains.

The trip to the snorkel site off Lana’i Island is approx. 25kms and by boat it takes some time. As we approached the south side of the island, the water seemed to be moving and soon enough to our delight, we were surrounded by hundreds of Spinner Dolphins.

These speedy swimmers and saltwater acrobats launch themselves high into the air, flipping, spinning and splashing.

They are difficult to capture on camera and try not to blink or you’ll miss them!

This large pod was very curious and swam all around the boat and they kept us delighted with their antics and agility

We anchored at the Manele Small Boat Harbour for snorkelling and while there were many coloured fish and patches of coral, I’d say I had a better experience snorkelling in Australia and Fiji.

A different trip option I considered was swimming with the turtles and dolphin spotting at the crescent-shaped Molokini Crater. This popular trip books up quickly and departs from Wailea some 50kms from our accommodation, which really shows how big the beautiful Hawaiian tropical island of Maui is and the vast distances needed to see it all.

~ Don’t forget to click on the images to see them in full!

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