A Day at Kualoa Ranch - Honolulu Travel Diary

A Day at Kualoa Ranch // Almost Chic

Coming at you with another travel diary from my time in Honolulu, Oahu (if you haven't read my first one click here). This time I’m going to give you a peek at one of many "best day ever" type experiences from our Hawaii trip. The day we spent at Kualoa Ranch. Totally different to my last diary where we pretty much just had a lazy day exploring the city; the ranch was more Jurassic Park style adventuring (literally since this ranch actually was the set for some parts of the films!!).

One of the main things I noticed about the city of Honolulu, life starts at ridiculous-o’clock in the morning. Everyone seems to be up and about by 5am buzzing off to paddle board yoga classes on the beach, to pound the streets in their running shoes or just simply to scoff coffees while the sun rises. It came as no shock, therefore, when the Kualoa Ranch tour company told us we’d be picked up at 7am (spew) to whisk us off for a day of adventures. The ranch was only about a 40 minute drive from the city centre (even though from the drastic scenery change, you’d think it was worlds away) and the company that runs the tours have a super handy bus service which picks everyone up at their hotels in the morning and drops them back at the end of the day.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 1 // Almost Chic
When my boyfriend told me were heading for a ranch I was picturing one or two dusty paddocks with a barn and a few horses being trotted around by cowboys. Boy was I wrong. Calling this place a ranch is not a lie in any way, it is indeed a working ranch with cattle and crops galore, but the name didn’t lead me to expect the fact that it would be spread over two huge lush green volcanic valleys. 4000-acres of private nature reserve spread over the 2 valleys to be exact!
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 2 // Almost Chic
On arrival at the ranch you’re greeted by breathtaking views of volcanic mountains and smiling tour guides. Everything is insanely organized, by the time your guide has finished a brief introduction some mystery worker bees have already prepared itineraries for everyone based on their chosen activities (which we’d only just written down on a bit of paper on the bus ride there). So there’s no stressing about where to go or what to do to make the most of your time there. And best of all there’s no queing for activities because they’ve organized it such that everyone rotates round each one. Make sense? So off we toddled for our first activity which was the Jungle Expedition and Nature Tour. Basically we hopped in a heavy duty off road truck thing which had open air seating at the back and got taken on an adventure up a lush rain forest covered mountain.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 3 // Almost Chic
Our tour guide explained a lot about the sacred Hawaiian traditions and culture as well as about the history of the ranch itself. Best of all were the incredible view points we stopped off at. There were views like I've never seen before and will probably never see again in a lifetime. The final view point was only accessible via a wee bit of hiking up a steep rainforest path and boy was it worth it (like seriously just look at the view in the picture above). After a bit of a scary, slip'n'slide type, trip back down the hiking trail - not a great time to discover the shoes you're wearing have no grip whatsoever - the truck boosted us back down the mountain in time for our next activity which I was most excited about.
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Activity number two was for sure the highlight of the day!! Boosting around the Kaʻaʻawa Valley on quad bikes was the most fun ever. The Jurassic park-esque scenery literally had me looking out for dinosaurs. Only thing I came across was a baby cow which wandered in front of my quad though. I would highly recommend choosing the 2-Hour ATV Tour if you ever happen to visit Kualoa. This one isn't so much of a talking tour, obviously because you couldn't hear a thing over the top of ten growling quads.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 5 // Almost Chic
However, there were a few stops for photo opportunities where our guide explained some bits and bobs about this particular valley. For the most part though you were just allowed to chug along enjoying the beautiful sunshine and wonderful scenery. Towards the end of the tour we pulled onto an off-road trail through the jungle for a bit of fun! You know like a kind of mountain biking thing with hills, jumps and tight corners. Well, apparently I have an inner adrenaline junkie/speed freak that I didn't know existed because while other people were taking on the trail with extreme care, I threw caution to the wind. I was flying round the track like a madwoman as fast as the quad would let me (and don't worry they were limited to a certain acceleration/speed for safety so I wasn't at too much of a risk of killing myself...). I had the most fun.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 6 // Almost Chic
We arrived back at the main part of the ranch covered head to toe in a layer of grimy dust from our quad biking shenanigans and starving. Luckily we were just in time for the included buffet lunch. After gorging ourselves on bbq-ed chicken wings and pulled pork (a HUGE favourite in Hawaii for some reason) we found we had some time to kill before our next scheduled activity. Cue my second (but big contender for first) favourite part of the day...we found a petting zoo. My inner Disney Princess was ecstatic. This wasn't your average petting zoo though. Yes there were a couple of goats, chickens and a rescued donkey. But there was also this...
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 7 // Almost Chic
Yup two Giant Tortoises just roaming around in the picnic area. I was nearly passing out from glee (or heat stroke) at this point. And because I'm a lot bigger than the children that the petting zoo is meant for (whatever, there were g-i-a-n-t tortoises!! Need I say more!!) I could reach over to where their lettuce was. Obviously I spent the next half an hour hand feeding them the lettuce whilst squealing with joy, taking 50 million snapchats and 100 million photos. Life complete.
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Eventually my boyfriend had to pretty much physically drag me away from my new pals because we were at risk of being late for our third and final activity of the day. We climbed on board an open air bus and headed off for the Movie Set and Valley Tour. I'm not even going to list how many movies were filmed at Kualoa. Go Google it. You can basically assume that if a film has really, really cool scenery it was filmed here.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 9 // Almost Chic
From Godzilla's footprints to parts of the helicopter from the new King Kong film we saw so much cool remnants from Hollywood sets. My boyfriend was particularly excited about the Jurassic park stuff, he's a big fan, including when we got to go inside this actual dinosaur enclosure from Jurassic World. It had the scratches on the wall from where the big dinosaur escapes and everything. Pretty darn cool.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 10 // Almost Chic
It wasn't all movie sets though, there's a lot of interesting World War II bunkers around the ranch (some of which have been repurposed for movies and shows) so if movies aren't your thing then there's something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed spotting the sets and scenery from one of my favourite TV shows LOST. Loads of it was filmed at Kualoa, in the old war bunkers and just around the valleys in general. Any fellow fans will enjoy this picture!
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 11 // Almost Chic
If you're going to Hawaii, Oahu island specifically, I can not recommend a visit to Kualoa Ranch enough. It was pretty much an experience of a life time. If you don't fancy the tours we did check out their website here, they have loads of other stuff available from zip lining to horse back riding. I'd say you're guaranteed an awesome day regardless of what you choose. Also follow them on Instagram here if you want to see some more pictures of this beautiful and unique gem of place. Be warned; may induce severe holiday cravings.
A Day at Kualoa Ranch 12 // Almost Chic
I need to stop reminiscing about this day before I cry about the fact I'll probably never get to visit Kualoa again. Stay tuned for more travel diaries from my trip to Hawaii if you want to see more and check out my previous post A Day In Paradise about my first day in the city of Honolulu.

This was my first post from the #LazyBlogging Project I'm taking part in with Ella and Katie. If you don't know what it is I have a post explaining it here. If you're following our project make sure you've seen Ella's first post - 5 Visually Striking Films and Katie's first post -"My Mac Lipstick Collection"

JessicaJane

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