On location at Hawaii’s Kualoa Ranch

posted in: USA | 24

We have to admit we have never heard of Kualoa Ranch before we arrived on the island of O’ahu but once we heard that they were home to quite a few movies which were filmed here, we had to take the short drive along the North Shore and check it out. Located about five miles north of Kane’ohe on Route 83, the ranch is pretty hard to miss. From the moment we saw the road sign it was at least another mile before we went through the main entrance.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
Welcome to Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa ranch isn’t only used as a movie set, it is also a farm with lots of horse, cows, sheep and pigs dotted around the 4,000 acre site. Also the main aim of the ranch is to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the land and at the same time, develop agricultural and recreational business that doesn’t harm the environment.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
The films filmed at the Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
And of course, television programmes. Couldn’t leave those out!

Arriving at the ticket desk, the tour we wanted to go on was fully sold out for the next ten days (which was the tour of the film sets and a lot of extras added on). Luckily we were able to do the next best thing, a ninety minute tour of the ‘Discover Hollywood Movie Sites’ to which we had to wait an hour for the next available tour. So we wasn’t disappointed and before we knew it, we were on a bus into the Ka’a’awa Valley to see some of the fifty Hollywood blockbuster movie which were filmed here.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
The open-windowed tour bus we took.

First stop on the way we were exploring an Second World War army bunker which overlooked the ocean. During the attacks on Hawaii by the Japanese army back in the early 1940’s, the US army declared martial law and took over the ranch. Soon after a few bunkers were built as well as an airstrip. Today the bunkers are still here and a few items but most of the stuff at the time was cleared up by the US army once the war was ended and Kualoa ranch was returned to the owners in the state they found it. Also in the bunker were props used in certain films.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
Gear left behind from the Second World War
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
A prop from the film Jurassic World.
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
A view from the Second World War room

Down the hill into the valley, we saw the breathtaking mountains surrounding the plain grassy lands where famous shots of movies were taken, like the fallen tree in Jurassic Park, the Windtalkers battleground, the two children looking above at the planes as they flew towards Pearl Harbor (out of the film Pearl Harbor of course), the scene with Matthew Broderick standing in Godzilla’s footprint, Hurley’s golf course in Lost and the famous ‘penguin’ road site from the 50 First Dates.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
This is what we came for! Look at this beauty.
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
The area is also known as ‘Jurassic Valley’ – named after the film of course.
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
We came across dinosaurs too!
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
50 First Dates was filmed on this road through the valley as well.

But it wasn’t the filming locations we came here for. As soon as we heard about the ranch and did some research, we wanted to see the landscape. We are suckers for totally beautiful surroundings and the Ka’a’awa Valley had it all. Mountains with lush greenery with a tropical climate with a huge grassy valley ripping through the heart of the land which leads out to the clear blue ocean, this was a place for us which we didn’t want to miss out.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
These mountains are just amazing. No wonder this area is used a lot in Hollywood blockbusters.

We also learnt that as well as having a lot of farm animals, they also produce a lot of vegetables and fruit, most popular is bananas, sweet potatoes and dragonfruit. During the tour we were also learnt a lot about Hawaiian history and that the ranch is one of the most historically significant areas on the island and that it is a very sacred place. Legends say the ranch was a place of refuge where natives could come to seek forgiveness. We also learnt that Kualoa ranch used to host the Makahiki, which took place once a year where skilled natives would come here to train and participate in warrior games of skill.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
A view over the bay from the ranch.

Our tour at Kualoa Ranch was one of the highlights we saw on the island and would totally recommend it. Not only did we get to see amazing scenery which blew our mind but as film geeks, we got to see some locations of epic blockbusters of the last few decades. Driving away from the ranch with huge smiles on our face, we definitely left a tour where we took a way a lot of memories which will last a lifetime.

Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA
Found a T-Rex in the World War II bunker. Isn’t he scary?

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Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, USA

24 Responses

  1. Watch out for those dinosaurs guys! This spot has been on my list since I saw the first Jurassic Park movie in ’93, for obvious reasons. Looks like a tropical paradise and it feels like it is pretty much on another world. Both enough reasons for me to check it out. Amazing how many movies and TV shows filmed there.

  2. We have never been to Hawaii. This would be so ne place we would enjoy visiting if we went.

  3. Can’t believe how many movies were filmed there! Now we really wanna go! Love that you can do a bus tour of the sites. Your dinosaur pic is funny! Going to see Jurassic World movie tonight actually.

  4. What incredible views and a fun trip. I will share the post with my husband and we can add it to our Bucket List.

  5. How amazing that this was a location for so many really different films! Would love to do a tour of the various sites, especially the Jurassic Park series ones. Went to see the newest film in the cinema a couple of weeks ago!

  6. Gemille Sleweon

    These pictures look incredible. I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii, but i haven’t had the chance to. I’m glad you guys had fun!

  7. I have been to Hawaii a number of times, and know about this place, but have never gone! It is just gorgeous!! So much of the island is!

  8. Everything we see about Hawaii is moving it higher and higher on our travel wish list. Fascinating to see the spot where so many movies were made. My husband is also a film geek and he would love to say “I know where that was shot”. The lush green mountain views were definitely breathtaking. A great spot to visit.

  9. As film geeks ourselves we love visiting movie locations when we are travelling, the famous ones and the more obscure. We still haven’t visited Hawaii, the views from the ranch do look beautiful.

  10. So jealous! I would love to go there. Hawaii has always been at the top of my list.

  11. I’m a HUGE movie fan and would totally love this! I’ve only been to Oahu once and it was for a super quick trip, but this will definitely be on my agenda for the next trip. I knew a lot of films and series were filmed there, but I didn’t realize how organized everything was so that you could see what and where!

  12. That’s so fun. I loved the Jurassic Park movies and the opportunity to go on location is really cool. Interesting to learn that more than a movie location it’s also a working farm. Gorgeous landscapes and fun post to read.

  13. I always wanted to go to Hawaii! So beautiful!!!!! But all I know about Hawaii are the beaches, and this is my first time hearing about the Ka’a’awa Valley! I remember the scene from 50 First Dates clearly! I hope to visit Hawaii this year!

  14. Wow the scenery at the ranch really is stunning, you can see why it is so popular for films! And so many good films too! I love 50 first dates, and of course Jurassic Park is a classic. You’re right though, even without the film history I would still love to go for the surroundings.

  15. I totally see why Hollywood would love this place — the scenery is amazing! (Is it bad that the film that stuck out most to me from the list was George of the Jungle? Ah, 90’s childhoods…)

  16. Wow, what a wonderful place. Stunning scenery! I would to visit there.

  17. Omg! All The images are very beautiful and eye catching. I hope I would travel to this place once a day and turn my visuals into reality

  18. Jennifer Melroy

    Wow, so many movies have been filmed here. It is amazing that they haven’t all started to look the same. I knew most were filmed in Hawaii but didn’t know they were all filmed on one ranch.

  19. Oh I remember visiting this ranch years ago on my trip to Oahu! Kualoa Ranch is amazing and they even offer ATV tours, isn’t it? I remember driving a quad bike around to explore those beautiful landscapes, the coastal views are to die for as much as the green cliffs.

  20. This place has stunning views. I can just see where Battleship was filmed here. So many fun movies and series that were made here, including Lost. What a great trip and that dinosaur pic is hilarious. 😀

  21. Wow the views are gorgeous! No wonder so many films have been shot here. I had not heard about this is earlier so thank you for enlightening me with this.

  22. We have a friend who have always invited us to visit this location and now thank to your post we know why. With your photos you inspired us and we’d love to try your same experience especially the tour around Jurassic World!!

  23. Ok, I’m very jealous now!! Hawaii is one of my dream destinations and it’s for these photos you’ve shown! I loved the film 50 first dates, and remember the gorgeous landscape they had in the movie! Love the photos with you and the dinosaur, scary!

  24. Wow so many movies filmed here and truly it must be amazing to go for this kind of tours. Also, it is nature’s paradise and therefore I am adding Kualoa Ranch in my wishlish.

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