"Commonly called 'Iao Needle, the traditional Hawaiian name for this 2,250 foot high peak is Kuka'omoku. This peak is known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean."
I swear that's what the sign said. I'm not making that up.
Maui warriors would climb to the top of the needle as lookouts during war time. 'Iao Valley was the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790, which was a horrifically bloody battle, even by the standards of the time.
While you can not climb on the actual needle, you can climb 166 steps up to a lookout point where you can have a much closer view of the needle. The paths are well paved and the steps are easy, but my thighs were screaming the next day.
The botanical garden is small, but very pretty. There are many native plants on display. And someone living in a tent, but I wasn't sure if they were homeless or maybe a researcher of some sort.
The view in this area is stunning. I'm not much of one to wander around and look at leaves, but this truly was a gorgeous area.