Upcountry Maui Activities Set Spirits Soaring

From touring a lavender farm to wine tasting with locals, there is plenty to see and do in Upcountry Maui

By: By Marty Wentzel

Two pairs of tandem paragliders above Maui // (c) Proflyght Paragliding 2009

Two pairs of tandem paragliders above Maui // (c) Proflyght Paragliding 2009

Draped across the flanks of Haleakala volcano, Upcountry Maui seems to cast a spell on clients who take the time to explore it. Here are a few suggestions for lofty pastimes in this magical destination.

Alii Kula Lavender Farm
During a garden tour of this 8.5-acre attraction, clients can see more than 25,000 lavender plants as well as protea, hydrangea and other exotic flora. The farm’s gift shop features one-of-a-kind lavender collectibles as well as tea and scones available for purchase throughout the day.

Haleakala Bike Company
While commercial downhill bicycle tours are no longer allowed in Haleakala National Park, clients can still rent bikes and explore the beauty of Upcountry Maui at their own pace. Packages include bikes, helmets, a car rack, rain and wind gear, gloves and a backpack with tools.

Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center
Located on the grounds of a gracious Upcountry estate, this creative gathering place presents public programs, lectures, exhibitions, art events, historical house tours and workshops by prominent artists. A self-guided tour of the buildings and grounds — including 10 acres of gardens — takes about one hour.

Oo Farm
Perched 4,000 feet above sea level in Kula, this private farm serves the needs of three Lahaina restaurants: Pacifico, Io and the Feast at Lele. During a tour, clients see how farmers cultivate fresh citrus and vegetables in the region’s fertile volcanic soil. Afterward, they savor a feast cooked from freshly picked ingredients.

Proflyght Paragliding
This company helps clients rise above it all while remaining safely strapped to a certified instructor. After a thorough introduction to the basics of the sport, the student (and guide) take off as the wind lifts their parachute, sending them flying quiet and free above the slopes of the mammoth mountain.

Skyline Eco-Adventures
During a two-hour tour, clients shoot across five lines that run above gulches and amid groves on the slopes of Haleakala. Ideal for families, it combines a short hike through a towering forest, a swinging bridge and five progressively longer tracks, reaching speeds of up to 40 mph on the final line.

Surfing Goat Dairy
Crafting gourmet products for nine years, this 42-acre agritourism attraction invites clients to explore its pastures, learn about cheese production and actually milk a goat. After the tour, they sample some of the dairy’s award-winning cheeses along with crackers, fruit, nuts, olives and pickles.

Tedeschi Vineyards
Maui’s only commercial winery sprawls across 20,000-acre Ulupalakua Ranch, whose rich volcanic soil is ideal for growing grapes. The tasting room, dating back to 1874, features an 18-foot-long bar cut from the trunk of a single mango tree. Along with sipping, clients can tour the grounds and purchase Hawaiian-made products.

Tour Da Food Maui — Taste Upcountry
Founded by island culinary expert Bonnie Friedman, this unique food tour company offers an Upcountry itinerary showcasing insider favorites in Kula, Makawao and Pukalani. Stops might include a bakery, supermarket, an ethnic food market, an ice cream maker and snack shops. Friedman customizes the outings for one to three guests.