Garden of Eden Arboretum

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Tucked into the folds of the Ko’olua Forest is the mystical Garden of Eden, an arboretum built on the hills of Maui.  I found this arboretum while cruising along the Road to Hana, and I made a last-minute decision to visit this hidden paradise during an early morning rain storm.  I was not planning to visit, but the weather was affecting my views from the RtH and I was in no rush, so I took the opportunity to explore by foot while the rain fell.  And I am so glad I did!  I really enjoyed exploring the Garden of Eden and meeting some fearless ducks. I\’m sure if you visit, you\’ll find a charming paradise awaiting for you to explore.

Honking Will NOT Work

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I was greeted by a sign that read:  “Continue at Slow Speed. Ducks will move. Honking will NOT work

I laughed and looked for the obstinate ducks. Unfortunately at this hour of the early morning (they just opened) and in the rain, I didn’t see any ducks blocking the road.  I did see peacocks strolling around and shaking the rain drops off their feathers. But no ducks.

Unfamiliar with the gardens, I parked in the first parking lot I found.  Here I found the world’s fanciest port-a-potties.  Seriously. I took photos. Decorated, with official toilets, and painted bright colors – I was fascinated! I was also grateful as I was in need. I didn\’t realize that further in the garden was a larger, more established public restroom facility. But my early morning coffees were making themselves known to me, and I used the world\’s prettiest port-a-potty.  Somehow it felt like an accomplishment.

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I sat in my car while the heavy rain fell, relaxing and eating my snacks.  After a while, the rain eased into a soft drizzle and I opted to explore the gardens.  I studied the map and opted to drive further into the gardens and park.  And guess what?  When I pulled out of the lot, I was lucky enough to finally see why that duck sign existed.

There in the road was a lone duck, calmly strutting down the middle of the road and blocking traffic.  A jeep was patiently following the duck. And sure enough, as the sign promised, the duck was not in a hurry or concerned about the jeep at all.   I really enjoyed that chuckle – but I also moved along before the duck got in front of my car!

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Exploring Gardens

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The gardens are located on several acres of a hill.  The trails are a mix of gravel and hard-packed dirt. There are some asphalt paths as well.  The terrain is diverse and requires shoes with traction if you plan to explore all of the trails.  If you stick close to the top of the garden only, you may survive with loafers. But why bother? There\’s so much to see and explore.

Which is what I did: I walked and explored for hours, visiting the banana grove, enchanted forest, bamboo alley, and several overlooks: Pouhokamoa waterfall overlook, and Keopuka ocean overlook.  Many of the scenic overlook locations have a bench or two for visitors to sit and enjoy. I definitely took an opportunity to enjoy these scenes, relaxing on the benches and soaking up as much of Maui magic as I possible. There is a large variety of flowers and trees to enjoy, and plenty of ducks and peacocks to entertain.

Maui-Doggie

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I was settling in and observing the beauty that surrounded me when I noticed something moving down the road. I looked down and saw what is the most Maui-thing I’ve had the pleasure to witness:  a relaxed black lab casually taking himself for a walk down a trail while wearing a floral lei.  He was in no rush and was strolling alone. He stopped, looked at me, wagged his tail slightly, and then continued on his way.

This dog’s life is better than my life.  I envy him.  I want this dog\’s life. I also love this dog. You go, Maui-doggie. Live your best life!

Picnic

The arboretum has picnic areas, some open and some covered. And as I mentioned, there is a true restroom facility available for visitors (beyond the amazing porta-potties).  If you have a chance to visit, bring a bagged lunch and find a beautiful spot to soak up the scenery and breathe in the perfumes of the flowers.

Anthurium Garden

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Jutting off from a trail was another inviting trail. A sign showed it was the Anthurium garden trail, and I followed it inside. It is shady and cool in this dense growth, and the flying insects rose up to greet me. I was grateful I had repellent on me.

Puohokamoa Falls

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There are two places you can view the falls from: the large wooden picnic area at the tail end of the gardens.

You can also take the trail that gives you the Valley Overlook, Keopuka Rock Overlook, Rainbow Overlook, and the Waterfall Overlook.  The dirt trail descends down to the last ledge, which gives you the Waterfall Overlook. But the entire trail is beautiful, lined by colorful flowers and stunning views.  You follow the trail until you come to a fenced area with a small earthen platform. From here, you can look down upon the Road to Hana and the Puohokamoa Falls.

Bamboo Alley

On the way back to my car, I took the Bamboo Alley and found another shaded trail lined with tall bamboo.  It was neat that I could hear them clunk together in the breeze.

Birds!

Peacock, Peahens, and Peachicks

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I saw something in real life for the first time: a baby peacock. Or as the internet tells me, a peachick.  I don’t know why, but I had never seen a peachick in real life prior to visiting Garden of Eden. The peacocks in this garden are calm and confident, they do not fear humans.  If you happen upon a mother and her babies, the peahen may calmly turn and slowly walk away instead of darting with her chicks.

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Due to their calmness, I was able to see my first peachick!  The chicks are relatively large with soft tan/gray coloring.  It is hard to immediately identify the chicks when they are very young, as they lack the distinctive coloring.  I only noticed once I saw their over-sized wings that I realize I was looking at a very young peachick.  And while I studied the peahens and their chicks, I quickly realized there were chicks of various ages in the gardens.  I saw older peachicks with longer necks and iridescent neck feathers. These looked more like the classic peacock than their younger siblings.  I was just amazed by the birds. No one else may care; but boy did I enjoy stalking the peahens and studying their babies.

Fearless Ducks

My last in the garden before I left was the duck pond.  Apparently this pond is designed to entertain the kids. Naturally I was entertained.  I fed some coins into the duck food dispenser and suddenly I had several new best friends at my feet.  Geese and ducks know the sound of that feeder and showed up wanting the food in my hand.

I fed the ducks and tossed some feed to the doves hovering in the distance.  I was trying to get a photo of the ducks, but couldn’t. I couldn’t because they were so close to me that I couldn’t get the camera back far enough to actually take a photo. I’m pretty sure that if I leaned back far enough, I would have ducks in my lap.

So I quickly tossed all the food away and the ducks all scattered to chase the feed.  That’s when I made my escape to the car.

Paradise in Paradise

The arboretum Garden of Eden is a small piece of paradise nestled in the paradise of Maui. It would be difficult for any garden not to grow into something magical in Maui.  But I’m very glad I took the time to enjoy this garden.  I’m sure to return the next time I’m in Maui