The quaint town of Kula on Maui may have gotten worldwide fame several years ago when media mogul Oprah Winfrey built her multimillion-dollar farmhouse there. But to those familiar with this rustic area on the slopes of Haleakala, Kula is simply a humble part of “Upcountry Maui.”
Meaning “open meadows” in Hawaiian, Kula’s known for its rolling green hills and the horses that gallop freely throughout the flourishing pastures. An elegance graces the vineyards and lavender farms nestled along the western slopes. It simply doesn’t get much more laid-back than Kula, Maui. In fact, it’s become a respite to the concrete and heat of busy southern Maui, as there is very little commercial development up there. People enjoy the Upcountry vibes.
And you really can’t blame them. A scenic drive through the twisting Haleakala Highway leads to endless green pastures, groves of thriving eucalyptus and beautiful blue jacaranda trees in the spring. I just fell in love with those magical jacarandas that shower the roadways with fallen flowers. And how can we forget the breathtaking panoramic view of southern Maui? The vast distance from above on the crater pleasantly drowns out the hustle-and-bustle of Kahului below, bringing a peaceful calm to Kula.
Overtime, the rich, volcanic lands of Kula have helped it to become an ideal place for a culinary resurgence in the islands. Be sure to take a farm tour while you’re up there; smell the fragrant lavender of Alii Kula Lavender Farm or bask in the beauty of the blooming birds of paradise and orchids at Kula Botanical Gardens. If you’re really brave, I dare you to pick one of those notoriously sweet Maui onions from Oo Farm.
In spring, blue jacaranda trees brighten Haleakala Highway.
Kula is just one of those places that you have to experience for yourself because there’s no real way of truly understanding its simplicity and overall beauty by just reading this article. Spend the day in Kula, or several. Drive up to the highest lookout and enjoy best seats for a spectacular setting sun show. Whatever you choose to do, the tranquility of Kula awaits.