Hi all, I went to Hualien in April 2012 and had a great time. TA helped alot in my planning so it's time to give back.
I would like to recommend Hualien Bay minsu and Mr. Li An Sheng (李安生) as a taxi driver / tour guide. Mr Li's number is 0912-092048.
My review on Hualien Bay is posted at the lodging reviews section. As for Mr Li, he is a quiet man and he will observe your group to see what you are like. He will note what your preferences are (for example, the elderly need to go toilet more often so he always ensured that there were frequent stops and pointed out where the toilets were). He also will observe to see if your group prefers him to give alot of information or that you prefer him to speak only if spoken to. However he will always intro the place to you and tell you about it. He is not pushy and will not force you to take his recommendations so feel free to discuss your itinerary with him and tell him your likes and dislikes; he will then give you his opinion of places. We did a last minute itinerary change due to his inputs and had a great time at the places he brought us to in the end.
At Taroko, he walked with us on 1 of the trails and would point out to us various flora and rock formations. He was always patient and never chased us, letting us enjoy the places we were in. I really appreciated this as I had elderly with me and it's hard to enjoy oneself if you are always asked to hurry.
I realise he would observe how we took photos and offer to take photos of us at all the various places. He even treated us to some snacks and he would recommend food places. Ask him to bring you to drink hong cha (红茶） or red tea in Hualien city. We wanted to buy fruits and he told us not to buy it in the main city as it was more expensive and drove us to a wholesale place that sold it cheaper.
If I go back, I will definitely engage him again!