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  3. Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail: hiking along the coast near Poipu
Written by Sandrine Updated on 18/03/20
6 km Round trip

If you pass by the Poipu side, we recommend this easy and very pleasant hike along the steep and colourful coast to Gillin's Beach, offering beautiful views of the ocean and the ridge between Lihue and Poipu. Allow 2 hours for the round trip.

1The start of the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

Park in the small parking lot at Shipwreck's Beach. Be careful, this one doesn't have a large capacity, so it's best to get there early. Otherwise, there is a second dirt parking lot a little further up the beach at Pe'e Road.

Once you arrive on the pretty beach where surfers often come to catch the waves, follow it east (or left) until you reach the end of the beach. From here you'll notice a path that takes you up to the small headland at the end of the beach and up a little until you reach a beautiful panorama that offers the first beautiful views of the coast.

Shipwreck beach near Poipu
Shipwreck Beach swept by the waves.
Shipwreck Beach and Bay - Poipu
View from the east end of the beach.

2The Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail 

From this point follow the path that runs along the ocean, crossing some sandy areas at the beginning of the itinerary that can be a little difficult to cover especially in hot weather. But this section is not very long and quickly leads to new views.

After a few hundred metres, the land turns ochre and in the distance you can see the Poipu Bay Golf Course whose impeccable green offers a new hue in this postcard setting. You will also notice on the side of the path the traces of an ancient "heiau", a stone temple built by the first inhabitants of the island of which it still bears some stones.

On the Maha'Ulepu Heritage trail
One of the most beautiful panoramas of the trail, the colors are superb!
Maha'Ulepu Heritage Trail - passage in the sand
Passage in the sand at the edge of the cliff.
Maha'Ulepu Heritage trail - Panorama
Panorama from the small cape just before reaching Gillin's Beach.

The trail now arrives at the golf course, which you will have to walk along for several hundred metres along its impeccably trimmed lawns. Once past the golf course, the path winds its way through the heart of denser vegetation, composed of large bushes. 

Poipu Bay Golf Course
The trail follows the impeccable green of the Poipu Bay Golf Course.
Maha'Ulepu Heritage trail - under the bushes
The trail makes its way through the vegetation.

After the small cape, just follow the trail for another 500 meters to finally reach the famous Gillin's Beach!

At the beginning of Gillin's beach
The beginning of Gillin's beach, at the beginning of the beach.

But don't turn back so soon! You could also take the opportunity to explore the Makauwahi Cave which is located a few dozen metres from the beginning of Gillin's Beach.

To get your bearings, go to the small dirt car park near the beach (see map at the bottom of the article) where a sign will show you the way to the cave. You can also go to meet the tortoises of Lida's Field of Dreams next to the car park. Note that these sites are also directly accessible from the road.

If you are motivated, it will still be possible to continue after Gillin's beach to reach Kawailoa Bay, or even extend the walk a little more to discover the small remote beach of Haʻula Beach.

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