Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Kualoa: Oahu working ranch offers magic, entertainment, education

Part of the educational fun at Kualoa Ranch is watching workers prepare the harvest for sale in
the store on the property, and for demonstrations during various farm tours of this working ranch.


The beauty of the Kualoa Ranch acreage includes lovely
seafront areas, near movie sets and a World War II bunker.



KUALOA means "long back" in the Hawaiian language. It resides in Oahu's deep valleys and dramatic mountains, which resemble a back in some ways.
We went to this beautiful refuge -- our second trip -- to again soak up the wonders of this magical place.
Bicycle tours give participants a chance to explore and view
close-up the wonders, variety and beauty of Kualoa.
Established in 1850, Kualoa is a 4,000-acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch which also served our country as an important World War II air base.
IT'S BECOME a popular tourist attraction and filming location on the windward coast of this varied and exciting Hawaiian island.  Most tourists land on Oahu, at the capital of the state, Honolulu, Many make their way to the chain's other islands.
Hawaiian gods are present in wooden sculptures on view.
We often spend time on Oahu and now have made Kualoa a regular stop.  It is about 24 scenic miles from Honolulu, and 32 miles from

Haleiwa, easily accessible by car -- or if you arrange, the Kualoa bus will pick you up at a central hotel.
FOR CENTURIES, the valley was sacred to ancient Hawaiians. A respected chief, Laʻa-mai-kahiki, settled  here after visiting Kauaʻi before returning to Tahiti. It was also the site of the sacred Hill of Kauakahiakahoʻowaha, the key to the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Oʻahu. According to an ancient Hawaiian genealogical chant, Kualoa is where revered leaders Papa and Wakea buried their first still born child, Haloa. Native people believe that the first kalo or taro plant grew from the fertile soil where Haloa was buried.
Posters and educational displays
are part of the Kualoa intention.

Cookie tastes a cocoa bean
on a farm tour at Kualoa.
Tours take visitors around the ranch, into sacred
areas where ancestors worshipped. 

THE RANCH is a kind of rural Disneyland, where guides share the place's larger than life history along with imparting its sacred meaning to the Hawaiian people.  It's close to Honolulu on a verdant valley, but far enough away to be another world.


WE LOVE that despite all the spectacle, Kualoa  is a working cattle ranch -- (my Montana roots are showing.)  There's  enough to see for at least two visits. 
Keller climbs aboard one of the jeeps used in filming
"Jurassic Park." The studio left several remnants behind.
 Kualoa is one of the world's prime filming location, too. It spreads out on prime land on the windward coast, a lovely drive from the bustle of the city.
Movie fans from around the world enjoy the chance to
walk around Kualoa Ranch's "Jurassic Park" where many
hit films and TV shows have been filmed.

ranch is home to some famous movie and television sites, it offers much more than movie making entertainment.
On our second visit, we chose from various and diverse offerings.  We narrowed the field from a horseback ride through fields, a zip line over the valleys, a boat trip to a private hideaway, and a bike tour and farm overview. 
You can even exercise your green thumb and plant a tree, one of many ecologically hip offerings at this pretty and progressive place.
Our movie tour the first visit was great fun, and this time we enjoyed trying other options. 

Horseback tours are among the
preserve's most popular.

WE ENJOYED a visit to the World War II bunker where in 1941, the U.S. military occupied the land and developed Kualoa Airfield.
After the war the ranch was returned to the Morgan family, owners and descendants of Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, the  American doctor and missionary who in 1850 purchased 622 acres of ranch land at Kualoa for $1,300.
Kualoa grows its own produce and has shrimp ponds, too. It's
a working ranch, unique because it also has historical status

managers are proud that the land was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in Oahu in 1974, has hosted major rock festivals, and is listed in many guidebooks and international publications.
 John Morgan oversees the working cattle ranch and tourist enterprise from the island of Hawaii. Kualoa offers  eco tours, movie and horseback tours, bicycle tours, ziplines and more.  It has a gallery of vintage posters, photos and Hawaiian history. It also has a lovely store, with produce grown here, souvenirs and delicious teriyaki beef. 
More information or to book a tour:
A rainbow is part of the spectacle of a Body Glove tour out
of Kona. Various options are available for a mix of fun. 

UP NEXT: Body Glove is a fun option while you're in the Hawaiian islands.  The creative operation offers leisurely catamaran tours and a more adventurous high-powered, fast moving raft trip.  Its specialties are boat tours and wildlife and snorkeling trips. Our favorites are the sunset cruises, where we have seen gorgeous sunsets and beautiful rainbows. A skilled and lively historian accompanies the history and scenery tours and first-class amenities are provided on board -- from cocktails to delicious local fare. The Kanoa II is back, nicely renovated with a multi-million dollar price tag. She's both comfortable and attractive and whether you choose a dinner cruise, or a dolphin and whale watch, we give Body Glove thumbs up! Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on nature, travel, performance, family and the arts.


  1. We enjoy Body Glove trips each year with our family. Super operation. Lovely rides, snorkels and sunsets.

  2. The Kualoa horseback rides are the best. We are booked on the zip line next week and are excited. Fun piece.

  3. Always enjoy your suggestions. Kualoa sounds lovely.

  4. We make a point of visiting Kualoa each time we fly to Oahu. It's ever changing, with respect to the native Hawaiian culture and well informed guides, fun tours.