Explore Kualoa

Essential OahuOahu

PHOTO COURTESY KUALOA

Take a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch spread from steep mountain cliff s to the sea, add horseback riding, ATV excursions, a jungle expedition and other narrated tours to the mix, and you’ll have the makings of a grand adventure set in a gorgeous surroundings.

Located on the northeastern side of O‘ahu (a little less than an hour from Honolulu), KUALOA (kualoa.com) is a place brimming with history. It was once considered a sacred place — passing canoes had to lower their sails in deference — where the children of ali‘i (Hawaiian for royalty) were trained and the persecuted could find refuge. It’s also believed that Kualoa is the burial place of hundreds of chiefs, who still make their mountain-to-sea trek on certain evenings in the form of ghostly nightmarchers.

Just off shore, you’ll find MOKOLI‘I, commonly called CHINAMAN’S HAT. In legends, this islet is described as the tail fluke of a lizard-dragon killed by Hi‘iaka, the goddess of lightning (who also happens to be Pele’s baby sister).

In 1850, Dr. Gerrit P. Judd purchased the land from King Kamehameha III, and the property has remained in the family since. The owners have long been dedicated to preserving and protecting Kualoa from development and have designed tours showcasing the cultural significance of the land.

JUNGLE JEEP EXPEDITION is a great activity for the whole family. You’ll board one of Kualoa’s custom-built, 16-passenger vehicles and rumble along jungle trails, down ravines, through rivers and up to a scenic lookout with views of Kane‘ohe Bay.

On an ATV Raptor or horseback tour, you’ll go deep into Ka‘a‘awa Valley, where trails lead beneath cliff s and high above the ocean. You may even recognize a few sites; the valley has doubled as the back lot for numerous feature films and television shows such as Jurassic World, 50 First Dates , LOST and Hawaii Five-0. These film and TV shooting locations are all stops ALONG THE HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SITES TOUR , Kualoa’s most popular. THE BEST OF KUALOA ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE includes three 90-minute immersive Hawaiian experience tours including the HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SITES TOUR, JURASSIC JUNGLE EXPEDITION and TASTE OF KUALOA FARM TOUR. It also includes a Kualoa Ranch House Lanai Lunch Pack. Transportation to and from Waikiki is available.

Kualoa is open daily with free admission to the Visitor Center, restaurant, gift shop, Hawaiian History Hall mini-museum, Judd Theatre and Farm Animal exhibit where visitors may pet the horses. The KUALOAGROWN MARKET, located in the Ranch House, just beyond the Visitor Center, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays and sells produce and other products grown and raised on this working cattle ranch and farm.