Olowalu – A Sanctuary to Relax and Call Home. This area, also referred to as “Coral Gardens”, is a local community. Home to one of Hawaii's most striking and important reefs on the West side of Maui, located about 4 miles (6.4 km), South of Lahaina town on the Honoapiʻilani Highway. For anyone called to make Olowalu your home, here is a guide to getting to know one of the most culturally and environmentally significant places in all of Maui
In Hawaiian history, Olowalu was known as a Pu’uhonua (sanctuary) where people could take the time to reflect, heal and take refuge.
Originally, it was home to a traditional Hawai’ian farming community governed by the high chiefess Kalola, who farmed kalo (taro), 'uala (sweet potato), and 'ulu (breadfruit) with water from the Olowalu stream, until the arrival of the Europeans around the 1820’s, who replaced it with a sugarcane plantation.
Today, you can see signs of the ancient Hawai’ians who once lived there in the petroglyph carvings, also known as Pu'u Kilea in the Hawai’ian language. It located along a basalt cliff in Olowalu.
Olowalu Beach is located close to the 14 mile marker on the Honoapiilani Highway, just off the side of the road. As the sea is calm and the beach is very long, it is a nice place to just sit and wade with young children. Note, there is limited parking and no designated stalls.
Olowalu is also known for its excellent snorkeling and is a popular surfing location. They transition during certain times of the year. Bring your water, hats, and gear for the day. Note, there are no restrooms or rubbish cans. Please pick up your wrappers and take your trash with you.
The Olowalu reef is Maui’s “crown jewel”. It is an absolutely stunning and nearly one thousand-acre coral reef. It extends four miles along the Coast and out a half mile from shore.
The picture perfect reef is the largest and oldest coral in the main Hawaiian Islands, boasting an amazing diversity of rare and unique coral species. Some giant coral formations have even been discovered to date back over 500 years!
The reef is also home to a wide variety of marine life - including the largest known Manta Ray (Hahalua) population in the United States, two Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (Honu) cleaning stations and a Black Tip Reef Shark (Mano Pa’ele) nursery - making Olowalu one of the best snorkeling destinations in all of Hawai’i.
More importantly, the reef at Olowalu is known as the "Mother Reef" which means the corals release a type of spawn, which then results in new coral growth on dozens of different reefs. There's a valid fear from marine experts and locals alike that should the Olowalu coral be damaged, then reefs from Maui to Moloka'i and Lana'i could all experience a decline.
As the Olowalu reef plays such a vital role in sustaining the life of our communities and interconnected eco-systems, it has been selected as the first priority reef in Maui for protection by most of the top coral reef biologists in the State.
Olowalu Local Restaurants and Shops
Lahaina is also only a 12-15 minute drive away, filled with good quality restaurants, nightclubs and bars, shops, exquisite local fine art galleries and hand crafts.
Olowalu also has a camp ground for tent sites, car camping, tentalows and A- cabins at Camp Olowalu.
For large wedding parties as well as corporate events, Olowalu Plantation House offers a spacious lanai overlooking a large oceanfront lawn as one of Maui’s most popular wedding locations.
The most pleasant months of the year for Olowalu are January, February and March. There are 7 comfortable months with high temperatures in the range of 70-85°. However, there are little trades that blow through.
September is the hottest month with an average high temperature of 86.9°, which ranks it as warmer than most places in Hawai’i.
Schools located near the Olowalu area include:
Lahainaluna High School
Grade Span: 9th - 12th
Sacred Hearts School & Early Learning Center
Grade Span: Pre-K - 8th
Princess Nahienaena Elementary School
Grade Span: Pre-K - 5th
King Kamehameha III Elementary School
Grade Span: Pre-K - 5th
Maui Preparatory Academy
Grade Span: Pre-K - 12th
Lahaina Intermediate School
Grade Span: 6th - 8th
Is Olowalu your Sanctuary?
One thing is for sure, Olowalu is a very rare and undiscovered jewel indeed, as one of the most culturally and environmentally significant places in all of Maui.
Whoever hears the special call to make Olowalu their home and local community has a kuleana (responsibility) to continue to help care for and preserve this Pu’uhonua (sanctuary) and treat it as their own, not only to help sustain life for the community and the interconnected marine life, yet for the future of the next generations to come.
For more Information about Olowalu, Get in Contact with Living Maui
For more information on buying or selling real estate in Olowalu, contact Kimberly at Living Maui Real Estate on (808) 359-1161 and she will help you find the right home for you. Having sold and represented different clients in the area, Kimberly offers comparable analysis and current statistics pertinent in the decision making.