If you have already read the previous Mauilicious Vacation posts, then you already know how I feel about Maui and its food and surf. But let me tell you about one of the best reasons to go there: to witness the natural ecosystems that exist all over the island. Experiencing these natural areas and their wildlife is all part of why I will return to Maui again someday.
One of the things that all four of us were looking forward to seeing while we were on the Island was the botanical gardens’ flora and fauna. Peggy managed a farmers’ market in Arkansas and Joanna has a green thumb; all four of us have produce gardens and enjoy orchids and tropical flowers immensely. It was knowing this about my fellow travelers that helped to inspire me to stay in a condo at Makena Surf.
Makena Surf’s resort gardens and grounds are botanical, lush, and spectacularly diverse. Not only do they have beautiful flora and fauna living here, there are special herb gardens for guests to use as well. Herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, lemon chives, and much more are all there for the picking right outside your door.
When you come to Maui, you expect to see palm trees, orchids, heliconia or “birds of paradise”, ginger, and hibiscus, all of which are found at the Makena Surf Condos and in thousands of places around the island. It wouldn’t have been right to explore only the gardens at our condo, so we set out for the Twin Falls hiking area and the Garden of Eden Botanical Gardens & Arboretum for a glimpse at these species in the wild and in a well-managed preserve.
Twin Falls, located at mile marker 2 on the Hana Highway (Hwy 360). Don’t be fooled by the mile markers as you start out on your trip to Hana. You will know you are there when you see the Twin Falls Farm Stand and parking lot of cars. This is a popular site for travelers, but don’t let the parking lot fool you: this place is huge and has more than two falls. The falls themselves were nice, but it’s the flora and fauna here that make this place worth stopping. Don’t miss the coffee plants, giant yucca, and banyan trees all over this area. I recommend wearing waterproof shoes and a swimsuit for this journey.
Seeing the flora and fauna at the Twin Falls hiking area was spectacular. Plants I see daily in offices and homes all over the states are enormous in this climate and happily thriving here. You can’t help but gain an appreciation of their sheer size and abundance. Just when I thought I’d seen the most beautiful place, we arrived at the Garden of Eden.
The Garden of Eden is a preserve for all things tropical on Maui including peacocks, geckos, ducks, and thousands of amazing plant varieties. Much of what lives on this preserve was planted by one man, Alan Bradbury.
The Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden is the vision and creation of Alan Bradbury, Maui’s first I.S.A. certified arborist and landscape designer. Development of this special project began in 1991 and opened to the public in the fall of 1996. In 1995 this project received recognition from the state of Hawaii for its conservation practices and proper land use and development techniques.
Our goal is to help restore natural ecosystems and promote Hawaii’s native and indigenous species. We also feature many exotic plants and trees from the South Pacific region and tropical rain forests of the world. Presently we have over 500 plants botanically labeled.
Utmost thought and care has been taken in developing each trail, improvement and planting to assure the most natural enhancement of this uniquely beautiful Hana district property.
Every inch of this place was a dream, but the most impressive parts for me were the 100-year-old mango tree, the incredible Ficus tree towering at least 50 feet above us, and the bizarre blue viney orchids hanging in the “Enchanted Forest” area. This place lives up to its name with its abundant waterfall views and unsurpassed beauty. Enjoying this place for hours is easy to do. There are several picnic tables and this is a great spot for lunch, but make sure to bring your own food and a garbage bag to carry out whatever you bring in.
The combination of the beauty in our resort, the wildness of Twin Falls, and the preserved gardens of the Garden of Eden made this afternoon one of the best we shared on this trip. To make the day completely unmatchable we prepared a fresh fish dinner for our moms in a private orchid dining area at our condo.
The best fresh fish can be found at Eskimo Candy Fish Market. We had a local fish called walu that night and prepared it by picking a banana leaf to wrap the fish, seasonings from the herb gardens at Makena Surf and steaming it on the BBQ. As I finished cooking the dinner and setting the table in this secret orchid garden, Cassie went back to the condo and brought the Moms to our special dinner place to eat under the hanging orchids. This was a great end to a spectacular day.
Stay tuned for my next post in this series, Mauilicious Vacation Part 4: Side Effect, Sleepless Nights