While the northeast side of Maui is well traveled by visitors and is quite lush, the opposite side of the island is the polar opposite. Since the prevailing wind brings the moist air from the northeast and the rising land results in that moisture being dumped on the land, once the air continues on across the island it is denuded of water and drops to lower altitudes. Consequently, there is very little rainfall on this side of the island. The landscape is more like a desert and, while very different, is quite striking.
The other aspect of this side of the island is that it is lightly populated and little traversed. There is a discontinuity in the road around the island so it is not a finished road for a few miles. The condition of the road is often made to sound far worse than it is so many tourists get to Hana and then turn back. We were intent on continuing on the full way having heard the road was not a problem and, more importantly, being aware of how twisting the road back from Hana was and that more and more cars would be coming the other way as the day wore on.
The trip around was not terribly difficult and the condition of the road soon improved to be something very good and quite fast. As we rose above the water, the views continued to be stunning. This is a great part of the island and one that more people should experience.