by VICTORIA HENLEY
Kualoa Ranch, a breathtaking 4,000-acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch, has firmly cemented its status as not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hawaii (hosting a staggering 2,000 tourists per day, a number expected to increase to 3,000 by Jun), but also one of the most sought-after filming destinations for top Hollywood production studios.
Also a wildly popular wedding destination (offering an enticing array of secret beaches and hidden valleys to majestic mountains and ancient Hawaiian cultural sites) , Kualoa Ranch has hosted thousands upon thousands of special events and parties adding to its notoriety as the prime destination occasion venue.
The rich history of Kualoa Ranch is as vast and intriguing as the property itself, which was first acquired and established in 1850 by Dr. Gerritt P. Judd and is now owned and operated by his eighth-generation descendants.
A living memory of what the majority of Oahu looked like over 150 years ago, the name “Kualoa” means “long back” in native Hawaiian language, referring to the ranch’s deep valleys and soaring mountainous peaks.
Deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and considered sacred by the indigenous people, Kualoa Ranch is not only internationally recognized and beloved by cinema fans from around the world, but also staked out and revered by locals as holy land.
Brimming with gorgeous natural terrain and abounding with adventure, the Kualoa Ranch is filled with possibilities and memories just waiting to be made for you and your family.
Upon arrival at the ranch, you will see lush tropical greenery and sweeping, rolling hills that surround the Visitor’s Center. Inside the center, you will discover Kualoa Ranch-themed gift items, locally made novelties, artwork and reading materials, as well as Aunt Pat’s Cafe, a full-service cafe featuring various wraps, sandwiches, freshly baked pastries, pre-packaged foods for on-the-go snacking, and local delicacies such as macadamia nut ice gelato.
The cafe is named in honor of Juliet Patricia Morgan Swenson, a descendant of Dr. Judd, who was beloved by all who knew her as a genuine person with a good heart, beautiful singing voice, and a knack for writing and storytelling.
SECRET ISLAND BEACH ADVENTURE
The ultimate way to savor the luxurious beaches of Hawaii, The Secret Island Beach Adventure begins with a catamaran ride from the “base camp” over to the beautiful, quaint, and charming “Secret Island”, which offers an up close and personal vantage point of several iconic Hawaii sights and landmarks, including the instantly recognizable, “China Man’s Hat.” A plethora of water adventures await including canoeing (which offers an opportunity to exit the boat and swim around the crystalline waters at your own leisure), kayaking, paddle boarding, glass bottom boat adventures and more.
Our adventure guides were extremely personable and accommodating throughout our various adventures on Secret Island Beach, and a box meal is included in each package (featuring a scrumptious fresh chicken pesto wrap, crispy potato chips, a gooey chocolate chip cookie brownie and bottled water.)
HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SITES AND RANCH TOUR
Climb on board the expedition bus and adventure deep into the terrain known as Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot,” where over 300 block busterfilms (as well as many television series, concert specials and music videos) have been filmed.
Explore the military bunker displaying the movie posters, memorabilia, and in-depth reading materials and factoids about some of hit movies that were filmed on Kualoa Ranch, including “Jumanji,” “Jurassic Park,” “50 First Dates,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “Snatched” and “Kong: Skull Island.”
During your tour, you’ll receive exclusive, behind-the-scenes insights about some of the world’s biggest celebrities who have visited and filmed on Kualoa Ranch, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who regularly shares posts about the Ranch on his various social media pages with his hundreds of millions of followers, further contributing to the popularity and “viral” factor of Kualoa Ranch.
Toward the latter portion of the tour, guests are permitted to exit the bus for photo opportunities with real-life movie props from the various “Jurassic Park” films, “Kong: Skull Island” andothers for the ultimate social media bragging rights.
Special thanks to the wonderful and extremely helpful Moriah facilitating our spotlight feature.
PHONE: (808) 237-7321