Kula. A veritable wonderland of misty mornings, crisply cool temperatures, sprawling ranches, fragrant breezes, pure air, silvery eucalyptus groves, breathtaking panoramas, wildflower meadows, and rich, ripe earth, this upcountry town is where the rich and famous (such as Oprah) live side-by-side with locals, ranchers, and wealthy hippies…er…granolas — and where the rest of us wish we lived.
(Actually it’s a little chilly for my liking — in the winter, temps in upper Kula can dip as low as the 40s at night — but every time I’m there I forget about that fact and am swept away by the beauty & magic and want to never leave.) Draped across the western slopes of Haleakala Volcano, Kula is home to 6,925 varied residents, some of whom are very interesting. The Hawaiian word “kula” means “open meadows,” which is an apt description of this portion of Maui. Kula sits at an elevation ranging from 1800-4000 feet, and this elevation is what creates the cool temperatures, pure air, and breathtaking panoramas of the coastal areas far below.
I was lucky to get to hang out with some family members on their explorations of the island a couple weeks ago and discovered a new favorite place on Maui ~ the Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farm. The farm has over 45 different types of lavender growing on the property, but what captured my attention even more than the sprawling, fragrant fields of lavender was the huge, colorful assortments of other plants growing there. I’ve never seen so many unique (and unusual) flowers in one place! Editing their beaming faces was almost as fun as being there to look at them in “real time.” I’m not sure that “bizarre” is a word that should ever be used to describe a flower, but some of the ones at the Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farm were so crazy looking that it was hard to believe they were actually real. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
I have to admit, I had no idea there were so many different types of lavender. I thought there was just… lavender. But no. There’s English Lavender (which comes from the Mediterranean, not England,) Spike Lavender, Lavandin Lavender, Spanish Lavender, French Lavender, Fernleaf Lavender, and then heaps of varieties within each of those types.
Although it’s not native to Hawaii, lavender has acclimated to the farm’s pristine mountain slope and thrives, blooming year-round in the mediterranean-like climate found at the farm’s 4000 foot elevation.
The farm has beautifully manicured gardens you can ramble through, either on your own or with a guide. Filled with protea, olive trees, avocado trees, succulents, hydrangeas, and heaps more, these gardens were my favorite part. The lavender honey, lavender brownie, and lavender tea samples at the gift store were pretty rockin’, as well. The charming little shop features an assortment of everything, all lavender-ish, of course. Lavender soaps, lavender lotion, lavender pet shampoo, lavender cookbooks, lavender oil, lavender fudge sauce, lavender pillows, etc. I liked. The farm is definitely a place to leisure your way through — nothing in Kula can be rushed. If you feel like it, you can even roll around in a grassy green meadow. (Have I mentioned before how much I absolutely love all of the wide open space Maui has? Take time to appreciate it.)
1. Come to Maui.
2. From Kahului, take Hana Hwy (36) toward Haleakala.
3. Turn right onto Haleakala Hwy (Hwy 37 south). Follow it for around 30 minutes, into Kula.
4. Turn left onto Junction 377 East (just after Rice Memorial Park, which will be on your left)
5. After 1/4 mile, turn right onto Waipoli Road.
6. Follow the road to the top, over the cattle guard and through the gate. Follow signs to the parking and enjoy!
Address: 1100 Waipoli Road, Kula, HI. 96790
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