Saturday, December 20, 2014

Star in your own movie at Oahu's Kualoa Park.

With razorback ridges sloping into clear blue waters, Kualoa Regional Park and adjacent Kualoa Ranch have star quality—the setting in fact for dozens of Hollywood movies ranging from Godzilla to 50 First Dates. Most people zip by on the way to the Polynesian Cultural Center on Windward Oahu. Don't be one of them. 

Kualoa Big Island Hawaii

The park's signature feature is tiny Mokoli'i Island, a.k.a., Chinaman's Hat. The island is a premier snike (snorkel-hike), featuring a 600-yard swim followed by a scamper up to the 200-foot summit. This pic was taken from Secret Island, a dreamy beach that is a short hike from Kualoa Park's camping area. A large ancient fishpond borders the strip of sand, making it into an 'island,' a destination for paid tours, which you can easily reach for free.

On the way to the park (just south) is old-timey Tropical Farms, a family run attraction that serves up free coffee and bowls of macadamia nut samples. Tropical Farms is a sure thing if you need gifts or souvenirs. Just inland from the park is Kualoa Ranch, where much of the movie making takes place. The front deck of the ranch is the best place on this coastline to grab a meal (sandwiches, Asian buffet) with a view. Their giftstore also gets high marks. You can roam the grounds and say 'howdy' to the horses, or sign up to see the surrounding 4,000 stunning acres via horseback, ATV, or jungle vehicle.

For driving directions consult your Oahu Trailblazer guidebook.

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