You’re aware that a whole lot of exotic movies have been shot in Hawaii, as is the TV series “Lost.” You might correctly assume the most exotic locations would be found on the island of Kauai with its amazing verdure, or the Big Island with its other-world-like terrain.
But imagine you were location scouting for the first “Jurassic Park” film, looking for dense rainforestation; broad, open valleys and rich, green cliff faces through which the producers’ fantastic prehistoric creatures could roam and scamper.
Well, they found exactly what they were looking for on the island of Oahu, less than an hour from Honolulu.
Kualoa Ranch is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch, spread between steep mountain cliffs and the sea, on the northeastern side of the island. More than just a pretty place, it’s truly a great setting for outdoor recreation, accessible only by horseback, on an all-terrain vehicle or by hiking. And, far from being remote and unattended, it’s one of the ten most popular visitor attractions among all the islands. There are two major areas of the ranch. The northern half includes K`a`a`awa Valley, which contains many of the movie location sites, and the southern half that includes Hakipu`u Valley, the 800 year-old Moli’i fishpond, and Secret Island. If the ranch’s views look familiar, you may have seen them in other movies such as “Windtalkers,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Godzilla,” “Tears of the Sun” or “50 First Dates,” or in other TV shows such as “Hawaii Five-O” or “Magnum P.I.”
The ranch offers one- and two-hour horseback tours, on which riders take different trails beneath the cliffs and overlooking the ocean. Vistas of the famed “Chinaman’s Hat” island and ancient Hawaiian fishponds combine spectacular scenery with the old saying that there’s nothing as good for the inside of a person as the outside of a horse.
Or you may choose to take it all in by navigating an ATV through trails deep into the scenic valleys and to remote areas rarely visited by others. The ranch’s tours go out in all weather, through the dirt and crossing seasonal streams. One- and two- hour tours are available.
Kualoa is one of the most historically significant destinations on Oahu. In ancient times, it was considered sacred land. In 1850, Dr. Gerrit P. Judd purchased the land from King Kamehameha III and the property has remained in the family since. The current family owners strive to be model stewards of the ‘aina (land) by preserving and protecting it from development.
If you’d like to learn more, or to work a visit to this wonderful place into your vacation plans, pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Web site home page, or call 1-800-843-8771.