Destinations / GO
On the southeast side, the 241-acre Huleia National Wildlife Refuge
is closed to visitors to protect similar endangered species. You can spy
its wetlands along the Huleia River from the Alekoko (Menehune Fish
Pond) Scenic Overlook, between the airport and Poipu. As with the
Hanalei refuge, kayakers can get the closest look at wildlife.
FOR REPEAT VISITORS “A lot of folks tend to overlook the wedge-
tailed shearwaters, which give that eerie cry that sounds like a baby,”
Waipa notes. March through November, they nest in burrows, some-
times a few inches from walkways at Kilauea Point.
“They’re the most readily seen that close of any of the seabirds,”
Waipa says. “It’s a great experience, especially for children. When they
start hatching around August, you’ve got these adorable little fluff-balls
right at the level of kids.”
ADVICE FOR ALL The refuge is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through
Saturday, and admission is $5 (cash) for ages 16 and older. But during
any daylight hour, you can enjoy free wildlife watching from the park-
ing lot overlook at the end of Kilauea Road.
“It offers a great vista of the lighthouse in the distance and you can
look down into the cove and perhaps see monk seals resting on the flat
rocks, or red-footed boobies nesting in some of the ironwoods nearby,”
Haleakala National Park ( nps.gov/hale) has been on a triple mission of
late to protect its delicate ecosystems, Hawaiian heritage and visitors’
health, through crowd reduction and other safety measures.
As of a year ago, visitors who came to see sunrise at the 10,000-foot
summit of dormant Haleakala needed reservations to park in one of
the 150 available spaces between 3 and 7 a.m. Beginning this year, only
four tour companies (down from 16) are authorized to drive in the park:
Haleakala Eco Tours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Tours
and Valley Isle Excursions. In the park’s Kipahulu District, reached via
the renowned winding road to Hana, the tempting Pools of Oheo are
closed through April for rockslide repairs.
FOR ROOKIES Be sure to reserve a parking space for sunrise in the
Summit District, says Polly Angelakis, the park’s chief of interpretation
“I worked up there the first day of reservations and it was, no pun
“I highly recommend staying overnight in Hana, where there are
intended, like night and day from before, when we weren’t educating
people,” she recalls. “Now it was sacred, it was respectful and reverent
— everything a sunrise at Haleakala should be.”
Permits ($1.50) are available up to 60 days in advance on recreation.
gov. The good news for procrastinators, Angelakis notes, is that 40 per-
mits for parking spaces are withheld until 4 p.m. two days before sunrise.
FOR REPEAT VISITORS The park no longer offers guided tours of the
pristine Waikamoi Cloud Forest “out of an abundance of caution” to
prevent the spread of rapid ohia death, a disease affecting the longtime
native flowering ohia lehue tree, but you can see similarly lush, albeit
nonnative, vegetation in the Kipahulu District, Angelakis says.
gorgeous places to stay, so you can come out to Kipahulu in the morn-
ing, when it’s a lot quieter,” she adds. The park admission fee of $25 is
good for three days in either (or both) districts.
ADVICE FOR ALL When visiting the summit, “people need to be prepared by dressing in layers, bringing water, sunscreen, and snacks, and
wearing proper footwear,” Angelakis says. “People don’t expect to be
cold on Maui, but we’re at least 20 degrees cooler than it is at sea level,
and you will get cold.”
Most people refer to the home of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri
memorials as simply “Pearl Harbor,” but the official name of the
historic compound is World War II Valor in the Pacific National
Monument. It’s a mouthful, but there’s also quite a lot to do here,
including free and paid attractions.
FOR ROOKIES No one should miss a visit to the somber Arizona memo-
rial, an experience that includes a 20-minute documentary on land as
well as the short boat ride, for which you need free tickets.
“It’s not as hard to get tickets as before,” notes Carlton Kruse, vice
president of marketing of Pacific Historic Parks, a private partner of the
National Park Service. Two months out, 325 timed tickets become available on recreation.gov, which also offers 525 next-day tickets each day at 7
a.m.; when the park opens at 7 a.m. daily, another 1,300 tickets for that day
are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, Kruse says.
FOR REPEAT VISITORS If you haven’t visited Pearl Harbor in the last
decade, the massive new visitor center complex that opened in late 2010
will take time to digest. Expanded from 3 to 17 acres, it encompasses
numerous new facilities, including t wo galleries: the Attack Museum,
focused on the military and civilian impacts of Dec. 7, 1941, and the Road
to War Museum, which provides American and Japanese perspectives.
In January, Pacific Historic Parks debuted the Arizona Memorial
Deluxe Tour ($12.50), which allows history buffs to dig even deeper.
“You get a smartphone upon check-in, and on it is the Arizona
Memorial Narrated Tour,” Kruse says. “At each of the tour stops, you
have access to the National Park Service’s World War II Pearl Harbor
archives, where you can go into depth and get additional info and
videos about the subject matter.”
ADVICE FOR ALL If high winds or sold-out shuttle tickets keep you
from visiting the Arizona memorial, consider virtual reality. The new
Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center in the visitor center courtyard
offers a package of three historian-developed tours for $4.95, including
headsets and players. Together the tours take less than 20 minutes and
staff are available to assist you, Kruse adds.
“The first allows you to walk the deck of the Arizona before the
attack, the second to witnesses the attack on Battleship Row with four
different timelines, and the last one lets you experience the Arizona
memorial — you can read the names on the wall — and go to places
where the public can’t go,” Kruse says. “It’s incredible.” m