Going Upcountry

A trifecta of Maui activities make a relaxing day

By: Karla Aronson

This is the first Image
The Surfing Goat Dairy shop sells more
than 25 different cheeses, as well as
snacks and beverages.
A goat dairy, a lavender farm and a winery might not commonly be associated with Hawaii. But on the island of Maui, the amazing bounty of its Upcountry region can be enjoyed in a series of agricultural tours circling the slopes of Haleakala Volcano.

“Look at that goat. Oh! Look at those things,” were the words that escaped from the ten-year-old in my company upon arriving at the Surfing Goat Dairy. In all, more than 100 goats reside on the 42-acre farm.

Owners Eva and Thomas Kafsack, both from Germany, bought the property in 1999 and opened their dairy five years ago. The state of Hawaii has only two other goat dairies, both located on the Big Island.

Located about 20 minutes from central Maui and the Kahului airport (about 35 minutes from south Maui and around 50 minutes from west Maui), Surfing Goat Dairy is open seven days a week. The daily tours cost $5 per person and do not require reservations. Special tours include the Evening Chores & Milking Tours, three days a week at $10 per person, while the $25 monthly Grand Tours include a sampling of their national award-winning cheeses produced on the farm, during an extended two-hour tour.

When we took our tour, two baby goats, called kids, had been born over the weekend and three more kids were born that day. We walked to the different pastures where the goats were separated by age and sex: the first-time mothers from the pregnant mothers, and the 3½-month kids from the nine-month teens. The seven-year-old billy goat with his 11-inch horns intact stood his own ground.

The most memorable moments occurred during the milking and feeding when about 10 goats trotted up a ramp to be milked by machinery while they ate from the food trough below. Their goat milk was instantly pasteurized for the cheese making.

And in the petting area, strewn with surfing boards for the goats to play on, children swept up the kid goats into their arms with stares of delight.

The Surfing Goat Dairy shop sells more than 25 different cheeses, as well as snacks and beverages. We tasted the delicious lilikoi (passion fruit) goat cheesecake and the fresh garlic chives chevre. All items are available for mail order.

After the first stop on our journey, we headed higher up the slopes of the volcano, driving another 20 minutes on Kula Highway to Alii Kula Lavender Farm. At 4,000 feet elevation, the panoramic views of the distant West Maui Mountains and the ocean shorelines below were stunning.

Lavender is not a native plant to Hawaii, but its calming properties suit the healing spirit of Maui. More than 45 varieties are grown in the cool climate and volcanic soil of the ten-acre farm, but it is not the 25,000 lavender plants alone that define this enchanting garden.

The property was once a protea flower farm and more than 125 varieties of the protea flower remain, alongside many other exquisitely maintained Hawaiian plants and flowers. The meandering paths through the garden lead to several breathtaking resting spots.

Several different tours are offered. The 2½-hour Tea Tour, at $35 per person, includes lavender herb tea and scones and a 45-minute guided walking tour of the lavender fields, including information about how they grow, their variety and background and the items that can be made with them.

The extended Lunch Tour, for $60 per person, includes a culinary demonstration of a lavender-infused lunch preparation. The gourmet meal, prepared by Paul Lamparelli of Fed Well Catering, included lavender lemonade, lavender-seasoned chicken salad, blue marlin with lavender-infused oil and vinegar sauce, lavender rolls and lavender brownies.

All tours require 24-hour advance reservations. Other seasonal tours include wreath making, gardening classes, holiday celebrations and special events.

If a tour is missed, visitors have the option of following a self-guided map to wander through the gardens and stop in at the Studio Gift Shop. Among the variety of 75 lavender-inspired items on sale are lavender truffles, fudge sauce, coffee, jams, love potions, aromatherapy pet shampoo, shaving gel, eye pillows, scented note cards and cloth embroidered lavender toilet-paper holders.

Continuing the journey on Kula Highway, only about seven miles farther, but on an increasingly curving roadway, the vistas open to the green pasture lands and groves of eucalyptus trees and cook pines surrounding Ulupalakua Ranch.

By now, visitors may realize that everything seems able to grow on Maui like magic, even vineyards. The 20,000-acre ranch is home to Maui’s Winery, also referred to as Tedeschi Vineyards. The winery, a labor of love for the owners, was established in 1974 on the former sugar plantation grounds and current cattle ranch lands.

The winery is open seven days a week and offers three daily tours at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. No reservations are required for the free tour.

The 20-minute guided walking tour of the grounds includes an overview of the winemaking process and a peek at the bottling, barrel storage and fermenting rooms. It ends with a private wine tasting for the group.

All the wines are locally made, some out of pineapple, a popular tourist purchase.

The winery distributes two red wines with surprising complexity; three white wines, including a nice blush; two sparkling wines, one well-worth its higher price; as well as specialty wines, including a Raspberry Framboise.

The wines can be sampled and purchased in the Kalakaua Cottage tasting room, located in a former historic cottage of Hawaii monarch David Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. The tasting room features a Hawaiian-style 18-foot-long mango tree bar cut from a single tree, and provides another opportunity to buy Hawaii specialty foods and gifts.

Loading back into car at the end of the day, drunk on the scents of the lavender sachet hanging from the rearview mirror, but certainly not on the wine-tasting buzz, we can say that Maui’s Upcountry magic provided a fun time for the whole family including the kids.


Alii Kula Lavender
Kula, Maui

Daily tours are $35-$60 per person. Special events offered.
Travel agent commission negotiable.

Maui’s Winery Tedeschi Vineyards
Ulupalakua, Maui

Free daily tours offered and private tours available for 20-75 people. Special events and weddings offered.

Surfing Goat Dairy
Kula, Maui

Daily and weekly tours are priced at $5-$10 per person.
Monthly Grand Tours are priced at $25 per person.
Special events and gourmet meals offered.
No travel agent commissions, but agents can be placed on a preferred sales clients e-mail list.