Even though I've zipped over a canopy of trees and cycled down Haleakalā, I wouldn't exactly deem myself an "adventurous" traveler, unless, of course, you consider eating poi and wild boar organs—as Andrew Zimmern did while here filiming "Bizarre Foods"—an adventure. Personally, I prefer the Anthony Bourdain route, eating and drinking my way through cities. But for those who seek an adrenaline rush, there's no shortage of ways to get your heart pumping. Promising the adventure of soaring like a bird through a natural habitat, zipline rides have become popular in the adventure tourism trade of Maui. As ecotourism or green tourism becomes a more sought out way to spend vacations, ziplining has become one of the fastest growing eco-friendly activities throughout the world. Cycling, too, has gained traction among adventure seekers. Several commercial outfits sell bicycle tours down Haleakalā and as thrilling as the downhill ride may be, the true adventurist will face the challenge of cycling up and down the mountain. And if the adventure proves daunting, just think “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Combining surf and yoga lessons may seem odd but if you pause to think about it, they are actually complementary. Both disciplines help you breath deeper, combat fear and and achieve the kind of bliss that only riding a wave or pressing into your first headstand can provide. Stretching before surfing can also prevent injury.
Since gaining in popularity, entrepreneurs have opened ziplines across the island, from Kapalua to Upcountry. While zipping at high speeds suspended by a cable hundreds of feet above ground may seem somewhat daunting, operators always place your safety on top. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and inquire about the minimum age requirement.
Considered one of the best hikes on Maui, the Pipiwai Trail is moderately difficult because of some of the steep terrain. The 4-mile roundtrip hike leads to babbling streams, waterfalls, a bamboo forest and lush verdant flora. Parking costs $10 but is valid for three days. No other permits are necessary to access the trail.
Standup paddling has become the "in" sport over the past years, luring adults and kids alike to the water. Aside from a great workout, being on top of a board in the middle of the ocean can be a meditative retreat. For beginners, the waters off Wailea offer the perfect spot to try this sport, which stared in Hawaii in the 1960s.
A world away from beach resorts, the bucolic scenery in this part of Maui reflects its agricultural and paniolo (cowboy) roots. A winding drive leads to a working ranch 2,000 feet above sea level. Visitors to Ulupalakua Ranch can experience Maui’s only winery, and enjoy activities such as horseback riding and sporting clay shooting.
In the winter months, Ho‘okipa Beach Park is one of the top windsurfing destinations in the world. The strong winds and current churn out some incredible waves. Those who windsurf will not one to miss the chance to "fly" and perform aerial maneuvers above the water. The shoreline is rocky, and the currents, waves and winds can be strong.
Although The King Kamehameha Golf Club is private, one-day guest passes are available. And playing 18 holes here is more than just a golfing experience; you actually may learn a little about Hawaiian history, thanks to staff members who took specialized familiarization classes relating to the culture and people of Hawai'i.
A pioneer in educational ecotours for 38 years, Pacific Whale Foundation offers dolphin watch and snorkel trips, sunset dinner and cocktail cruises, stargazing excursions and a host of other ocean adventures. The best part is that Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect the ocean and marine life.