Rainbow eucalyptus trees sound like something from a fairy tale. Frankly, they look like it, too.
The painted bark of the rainbow tree is a magical sight you need to see for yourself.
The rainbow eucalyptus trees of Maui are an unexpected Road to Hana delight. But despite their bold features, they aren’t always easy to spot.
Read this guide to find out exactly where the Maui rainbow trees are.
What Are The Rainbow Trees In Maui?
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An enchanting sight unlike any other, the rainbow trees of Maui have become a must-see for any photographer and sightseer.
A species of eucalyptus, the peeling bark of the rainbow trees reveal stripes of colors like brushstrokes of paint. This gives the rainbow tree their other name: painted bark eucalyptus.
The bark of the eucalyptus tree peels away, and reveals a layer of bright green underneath. The green then starts to age, fading to a darker green, before turning blue, then purple, pink, orange, and maroon, and turning back to brown.
As the bark peels away at different times, a variety of colors appear to be painted onto the trees.
It isn’t just the bark that makes the rainbow eucalyptus trees so fascinating. For a start, they’re massive. The eucalyptus trees soak up water and can grow to an incredible height, making the towering groves a truly impressive sight.
Rainbow trees can also delight another sense, smell. Walk through a forest of eucalyptus, and the notes of mint and honey will leave you feeling relaxed and comforted.
Where You Can See Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees On Maui
The rainbow trees of Maui live mostly on the slopes of Haleakala, where they were planted by settlers. Painted rainbow trees can be spotted along the Road to Hana, as well as Ke’anae Arboretum and the Garden of Eden.
Take a look at Haleakala from a distance, and you might be able to spot the dark groves of these towering trees. But from back there you won’t be able to see the painted effect that’s their most mesmerizing feature.
For a close up view of these unique trees, you’ll have to head to one of the places below.
Road to Hana
Among the waterfalls and beaches that populate the Road to Hana, the rainbow eucalyptus trees are an unexpected delight. A brief stop on the scenic drive, finding the trees can be a bit complicated.
The easiest to view grove of eucalyptus is found between mile marker 6.5 and 7 on the Hana Highway. Cars flying past will often miss the trees, so make sure to keep an eye out for this surprising spot.
You’ll come across a few pull-outs on the left and right of the road, which is where to park for the trees. On a busy day, there’s likely to be several cars parked already.
It is safe to park here, but make sure to be completely off the road, and take care when stopping out. If there’s no space, keep moving and pull in further up. You need to let the traffic flow, so it’s not a place to hang around waiting for other cars to leave.
The rainbow eucalyptus trees are to the makai side, toward the ocean. Take a walk around the trees, and soak up their distinctive beauty and smell. Make sure to bring your camera, because this is a photo opportunity not to be missed.
Maui’s Garden of Eden
Maui’s Garden of Eden is a bit of an underappreciated gem on the Road to Hana. The well organized gardens allow you to discover the best of the Hana Highway, in a serene and relaxed setting. The rainbow trees are just one of the many highlights of the arboretum.
Photography enthusiasts should definitely add the Garden of Eden to their must-see list, as the ocean vistas are bordered by tropical delights. You can enjoy the eucalyptus trees at your own pace, without having to rush back to the car.
Still not convinced? Film buffs may be excited to learn this is where the iconic Jurassic Park opening sequence was filmed.
The Garden of Eden is found at mile marker 10.5. Open daily from 8am to 4pm, the Garden of Eden also features a café and art gallery.
Visit the Ke’anae Arboretum for a chance to get really close to the rainbow eucalyptus trees for free. This is the place to go to nail your rainbow tree selfie, and get the classic “tree-hugger” snap.
Located roughly .8 miles past the 16-mile marker on the Road to Hana, the Ke’anae Arboretum is a free attraction with over 150 varieties of tropical plants.
The rainbow eucalyptus is the star of the arboretum, which is packed with interesting sights and glimpses into Hawaiian history. Paths are well-marked, and many of the species are labelled for inquisitive visitors.
A trip to the Ke’anae Arboretum is a chance to stretch your legs and explore, before carrying on to Hana.
Okay, this is perhaps not the best opportunity to get close to the rainbow eucalyptus trees. But a Skyline Hawaii zipline tour is definitely the most invigorating way to see the painted trees (just beating out parking on the Hana Highway).
Skyline Hawaii’s 5-line adventure tour swoops across the Haleakala slopes, and directly over a painted eucalyptus grove. You won’t be able to get a great selfie, but you will have an unforgettable experience.
The History Of The Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
The rainbow eucalyptus trees aren’t a native Hawaiian species. They originally come from the Philippines.
Requiring a warm and moist climate, the trees have thrived on Maui. It’s thought that the rainbow trees were planted to provide timber, and possibly as a fuel for sugarcane production.
Despite not being a native tree, the rainbow eucalyptus trees have a surprising use on Maui.
They’re home to the Hawaiian Hoary Bat, an endangered species that’s endemic to the Hawaiian islands. The bat can live among the trees, and can sometimes be spotted flying at dusk.
A Mesmerizing Sight, And A Photographer’s Dream
The rainbow trees of Maui really have to be seen to be believed.
Pictures of them look fake, but the reality is that these trees really are captivating. Spot them on the Road to Hana, or visit one of Maui’s arboretums and see the magic for yourself.