Locals know to escape the heat, head to the rolling hills and expansive pasture land of Kula, and the quaint communities beyond of Ulupalakua and Keokea. Kula means “open country”, and this loosely designated area that sits between 1000 feet to 8000 feet elevation, is known as the breadbasket of Maui.
The “farm to table” phenomenon has catapulted many gardens and farms into creating some outstanding farm tours and tasting opportunities for their locally made products. Relaxed and slow-paced, the regionʼs farming and ranching history and sheer isolation, as there is no direct public road connecting it to South Maui, have helped to maintain the “vibe” we know and love as Kula.
See Kula Map
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Heading along Hwy 37, make sure to pass the turnoff for Hwy 377 that takes you to Haleakala Summit, and continue on Hwy 37 through beautiful Kula to begin your journey. The area is known for its tropical gardens, lavender, protea, sweet Maui onions, goat cheese, coffee, carnations and orchid for leis, cattle, and plenty of generations-old farms, zipline, cowboys, and artists.
Stop into one of the handfuls of eateries and cafes that dot the hillside. With amazing views of the ocean below and a cool breeze, this part of your Maui vacation will be a welcome reprieve from the busy tourism hubs of Kihei and Wailea below.
The area that makes up Kula, Keokea, and Ulupalakua is primarily comprised of three large ranches Haleakala Ranch, Kaonoulu Ranch, and Ulupalakua. In the mid to late 1800s, the Great Mahele occurred, which divided up Hawaiian lands for sale, and these influential families began acquiring the land for use. Many Chinese and Portuguese laborers, after fulfilling their contracts, moved into the area to farm the land. They were soon joined by a large number of Japanese and Korean immigrants who have maintained their agricultural character to this day.
Today the real estate values in Kula rank as one of the priciest in Hawaii. With its quaint communities, low traffic, cooler temperatures, and impeccable views, the property values have skyrocketed. And, a new type of residence now dots the area. The “gentlemanʼs farm”, comprised of a plot of land, and a large upscale home, is becoming more frequent.
Points of Interest
505 Aulii Drive, Makawao HI
Maui Alpaca is the home of six friendly female alpacas and a crew of fuzzy angora bunnies. This unique farm hosts tours and personalized picnics on the Upcountry slopes. Visitors will get the chance to feed the alpacas, cuddle with the bunnies, and learn more about both animals and their fibers. Maui Alpaca is an excellent Upcountry activity for animal lovers and families!
4051 Omaopio Rd
Award-winning vodka made on the slopes of Haleakala. Tours available.
Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Rd
A favorite for families and foodies alike. This farm is known for its 18 national cheese awards. Favorites include Udderly Delicious, Ole, and the Men’s Challenge made with horseradish. Try their line of goat cheese chocolate truffles or lilikoi (passion fruit) goat cheese cheesecake. Enjoy any of their platters or treats at the outdoor cafe. Petting and milking opportunities for the kids. Tours available.
Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula
2505 Kula Hwy
9 am-5 pm Daily
Offers a variety of tropical and Asian trees, shrubs, and flowers. The gardens offer a small gift shop, the Hibiscus Cafe, and it is well worth the stop.
3158 Lower Kula Rd
7 am – 9 pm
Authentic French cuisine made by Chef, Thierry Michelier. Crepes, flaky croissants, and filet mignon, with the option to dine al fresco taking in the ocean views.
Church of the Holy Ghost
Lower Kula/ Alanui Place
Kulaʼs most notable landmark, the brilliant white, octagonal structure can be seen from South Mauiʼs shores. This gift from the king and queen of Portugal to the islandʼs Portuguese plantation workers was built in 1894 and has been recently restored.
4566 Lower Kula Rd
7:30 am – 10:15 am & 11 am – 8:15 pm
Formerly Cafe 808, this restaurant has undergone a major renovation. They specialize in homestyle food with an Italian flair, youʼll find pizzas, pasta, great breakfast food, and homemade desserts. Located across from the Morihara Store, where purchasing alcohol for BYOB is an option.
4581 Lower Kula Rd
Small grocer and convenience store.
Kula Lodge & Restaurant
15200 Haleakala Hwy
This rustic restaurant is a favorite breakfast spot for those coming down from catching sunrise atop Haleakala Crater. Warm up beside the fireplace, admire the art in the downstairs gallery and enjoy a tasty loco moco while taking in the impeccable views. Be sure to stroll the garden in the back before you go.
7am – 7pm
Next door to the Kula Lodge, Kula Marketplace offers a wide variety of specialty gourmet foods and locally made products, including jewelry, pottery, heirloom quilts, and arts and crafts.
15427 Haleakala Hwy
Sun-Thu: 7am – 12pm
Diners can expect French toast with homemade Portuguese sweet bread, country omelets with fresh local veggies, and kalua-pork sandwiches for lunch. There is a gazebo and terrace, with ocean views.
Kula Botanical Gardens
638 Kekaulike Ave
Established in 1968, this 6-acre botanical garden has a wide variety of tropical plants. Gift shop with snacks for purchase.
Kula Hwy/ Waipoli Rd
Bathroom, Grills, and tables.
Kula Country Farm
375 Koheo Rd/Kula Hwy
This is a great farmers’ market run by a 4th generation of families. Fresh island sweet Kula Onion, sweet Kula corn, and strawberries. There are also fresh-baked goodies, jams, jellies, and fresh-cut flowers.
651 Waipoli Rd
Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm
1100 Waipoli Rd
Lavender products, lavender-infused biscuits, and tea for dining on the grounds. Take a self-guided tour around the property or opt for the guided tour for more information about growing lavender in Maui.
St Johnʼs Episcopal Church
8992 Kula Hwy
The Kula Festival happens here in September.
Across from St. Johnʼs Church
A public restroom is available.
Shim Coffee Farm
625 Middle Road
This grower placed 5th Statewide in Cupping Competition and 2nd place in the Maui District, recently.
Henry Fong Store
9226 Kula Hwy, located next to Grandmaʼs Coffee Shop.
Offers some convenience products, souvenirs, and locally made gifts.
Grandmaʻs Coffee Shop
9232 Kula Hwy
A local favorite with itʼs screen door, rustic one-room plantation-style cottage, and homemade treats. A tradition for the past 50 years, offering breakfast and lunch. Seating is very limited.
100 Keokea Pl., Kula
Clinic hours are also available. Mon – Fri, 8am – 4:30am
This unique hospital, originally known as the Kula Sanitarium, was built in 1910 by Dr. W. F. McConkey to help battle the increase of tuberculosis.
Kula Hwy between mile markers 18 and 19
Small roadside park honoring the late Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. Yat-Sen (1866-1925) is often referred to as the father of modern China. This revolutionary political leader served as the first provisional president of China after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911. Ulupalakua Ranch donated land in 1989 for the park that now hosts a bronze statue of itʼs namesake.
Tasting Room: 10am – 5pm
Traveling on Hwy 37, the road changes names to 31, about a mile past is the winery on the left, you canʼt miss it.
In 1974, Tedeschi Vineyards was established here on Ulupalakua Ranch, and the name recently changed to Mauiʼs Winery. In 1977, the winery experimented with pineapple wine and released their unique Maui Blanc Pineapple Wine. The top seller is the Maui Splash, made from pineapple and passion fruit. Make sure to stop by the tasting room, and then walk or picnic on the beautiful grounds.
Ulupalakua Ranch Store
Located directly across from the winery, this is a great place for lunch. The store opened in 1849, and now houses a small deli where patrons can find made-to-order deli sandwiches or hot-off-the-grill specials made from the ranchʼs livestock, like beef or elk. Enjoy yours outside on the veranda.
Home Shopping in Kula
Kula is somewhat of a hidden gem as plenty of people who move to Maui tend to gravitate towards the beachier areas near Kihei and the West Side. However, thanks to the area’s mild temperatures, buying in Kula is an excellent choice for people who love Maui but aren’t exactly a fan of the tropical heat and humidity. Kula is also near some of the island’s best schools and is only about a 30-40 minute drive from Kahului.
But Kula’s true crown jewels are the views of both coastlines and the West Maui Mountains- read: epic sunsets.
Annual high temperature: 72.3°F
Annual low temperature: 55.6°F
Average temperature: 63.95°F
More on Haleakala Ranch…
Owned by the Baldwin family, it was incorporated in 1888 and has been run by five generations. H.P. Baldwin, the son of missionaries, is the original owner and was responsible for teaming up with Samuel Alexander (of Alexander & Baldwin) to help create the irrigation system that now waters the sugarcane seen across Central Maui. A total of 30,000 acres, rising from south Maui up to the leeward slopes of Mount Haleakala, this ranch now hosts approximately 1,100 breeding cows, 2,000 nanny goats, and 350 ewes. Their natural grass-fed beef can be purchased in local grocers and restaurants through their partner, Maui Cattle Company.
Maui companies residing on the ranch include Maui Lavender and Botanicals, Skyline Eco-Adventures, Pony Express Tours, Maui Floral Protea, Tropical Flower Farm, Haleakala Distillers, and Maui Nui Farm and Farmers Market are located on Haleakala Ranch land.
More on Kaonoulu Ranch…
Owned by Henry Rice, this ranch is comprised of 10,000 acres that stretch continuously from the beaches of South Maui to the top of Mount Haleakala and is estimated to be worth close to $50 million. The Department of Land and Natural Resources says it is one of the very last intact ahupuaʻa left in Hawaii. An ahupuaʼa is a type of ancient Hawaiian land division that stretches from mountain to sea that sustainably supports the landʼs natural resources. The Rices have employed the same native Hawaiian cowboys for decades, and they refuse to sell and break up the ahupuaʻa. Henry Rice acquired the land from his grandfather, Maui senator Harold W. Rice, who is said to have bought it from a sugar magnate, who bought it from a Chinese potato farmer, who had received the original ahupuaʻa from a Hawaiian.
More on Ulupalakua Ranch…
Ulupalakua Ranch is Maui’s second-largest cattle ranch. The peak size was approximately 40,000 acres, 20,000 of those acres have been turned over to the State of Hawaii Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and also to the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to be preserved as parkland. Known as Rose Ranch in the late 1800ʻs, the ranch was a favorite of King Kalakaua, where a special cabin was built for the king and his royal party. The bare slopes were once covered with Sandalwood and Koa trees. Pardee Erdman purchased the ranch in 1956 and renamed it the Ulupalakua Ranch, he continues to maintain the land today. Visitors love strolling the grounds near the Winery and exploring the history and old structures there.