Why would a local visit a tourist attraction? Because Kualoa is a beautiful escape and a place to appreciate Hawaiian culture.
Building sprees that began in the early 1900s spread across Hawaii with no concern for desecrating places of cultural significance or taro farmland, making it more remarkable that this land system running from the mountains to the sea, known as an ahupua'a, still exists.
The Morgan family, descendants of Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, land-owner after King Kamehameha III, have diligently kept the integrity of the area intact while providing a financial base to preserve Kualoa's 4000 acres on Oahu.
Drive out to the ranch on your own or arrange a Waikiki pick-up, then take in a full or half-day of tours, a beach day, and dinner show.
Kualoa Ranch has been a scene-stealer in many movies and a tour will drive you through some of the locations. If horseback riding is your thing, experienced wranglers can set you up on well-kept horses. While your gentle mount does all of the work, magnificent vistas will leave you breathless. For those preferring their horsepower with four tires, there are ATV rides or, a jungle expedition in a Pinzgauer up mountain trails stopping for a stunning view of Kane'ohe Bay, an 800-year-old fishpond and a tiny island called Mokoli'i. There are easy options like the garden tour and fishpond boat ride. Everyone will enjoy the authentic Hawaiian show featuring ancient dances about Kualoa while dining under the stars.
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Best Oahu Activity
Kualoa means “long back,” and the land and name fit with its massive mountain range. Established in 1850 and known as a sacred place, it was a residence of kings, training ground for royalty, a sanctuary and refuge.
King Kamehameha III’s physician and friend purchased 622 acres in 1828. This grew to 4,000 acres. The estate is still owned and operated by descendants of Dr. Judd, of the Morgan family.
Kualoa is a location for many well-known films, a working ranch, producer of fruits, fish and prawns, and activities. Its owners have kept Hawaiian history alive and offer activities to support it. During all this time, the focus has been stewardship and preservation of all Kualoa’s natural wonders.
Tours abound, from visiting a 800 plus year old aquaculture pond, movie sites and ranch, jungle expedition, horse back riding, ATVs, garden, ancient hula lessons, legends of the legacy, secret island and ocean voyaging, there is plenty to do and see. Guides provide history along the way.
Before you consider a luau anywhere, I’d suggest the Legends of Kualoa. This dinner show is an all-Hawaiian performance with hula kahiko and sounds of old Hawaii. The leader beats an ipu (gourd) and chants that take you through ancient customs of the people and land. This is traditional all the way. An added bonus, food is very good. For me, Kualoa is a not-to-miss activity. Check out its website at www.kualoa.com. Kualoa does offer round trip transportation from Waikiki.
While vacationing on Oahu with my parents and husband, we decided on a whim to go ATVing—and had the best time of the whole trip! The entire park the ranch is on is incredible, with incredible scenery and ocean views. Being on the ATVs felt a bit adventuresome while offering quicker access to multiple spots on the ranch. So much fun!