Friday, October 7, 2011

Kualoa Ranch

We had visitors last week, and it gave us the excuse to go visit a few tourist spots that we hadn't been to yet. One of those places was Kualoa Ranch.
Kualoa Ranch is in a beautiful location, nestled into those mountains that I love so much.
They offer a variety of tours of the land. Some are on ATV, some on horseback, and some by tour bus. We didn't go for a trail ride, but Crumpet got to climb around on a "horse" in the petting zoo:And check out some tree climbing goats:There are two reasons that I wanted to tour the ranch. One is that I wanted to get into those mountains, and see the valleys behind them:There are many different tours of Kualoa. They have historical tours, jungle tours, ocean tours, and the movie site tour. The movie site tour was my second reason for wanting to check out Kualoa Ranch. You see, Lost was filmed here, and I am an addict...
So we climbed aboard the bus and set off into the mountains.
We learned that early on, this land was used to grow sugar cane. This is what's left of an old sugar mill.
Sugar doesn't grow well in sandy soil though, so they started raising cattle instead. This is still a working cattle ranch, and you can buy beef during your visit. There are cows roaming all over the land.

This is an old military bunker which is now used to store movie posters and props:Here is the submarine that was used in the show Lost. I have to say that seeing the props and locations took away some of the magic of the show - I don't really want to know that the sub was just half a sub floating on the water ...We saw the site of Jurassic Park:And Godzilla's footprints. These footprints used to be much deeper, but cows kept getting stuck in them! So, they filled them in a bit!The film location of Windtalkers:A traditional Hawaiian home. This has been used in films, and they also use the area to teach children about Hawaiian history.There were beautiful views of the sea from the ranch. This is the island known as Chinaman's Hat:
And Turtle Island:
This was a fun tour, and it was nice to finally see what was back there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tropical Farms Macademia Nut Farm

We had visitors last week! My very close friend Michelle brought her family out to Hawaii to stay with us for a week. It was wonderful to see them, and we got to visit a few new tourist sites with them.
My favorite was the Tropical Farms Macademia Nut Farm. I had heard wonderful things about this place, and we were not disappointed!
Here's Michelle's little man, Brendan, at the entrance.
We signed in for our tour of the farm, and then we had about an hour to wait. There was plenty to do to pass the time. They have a wonderful shop, with lots of free samples of flavored macademia nuts and yummy coffees.
The farm is in a gorgeous location, at the base of my favorite mountains.

There are lots of beautiful flowers.
Here's Michelle, checking out the flowers with the new baby (due in February!).
The boys enjoyed cracking macademia nuts with rocks and sharing the contents with the grownups.
And sharing with the many chickens who wait nearby. Finally, it was time for our tour. Here's our chariot:
And the inside:

Fortunately, we weren't going far! I'm not sure the bus would have made it...

We drove past fields of a variety of Hawaiian plants, and then we got out at a small outdoor amphitheater. Our guide, who was extremely entertaining, demonstrated some traditional Hawaiian activities.

This is a giant taro root. Taro is a very important food here in Hawaii.
He demonstrated how to open a coconut using a sharp stick.
He cut the coconut in half :And passed it around so we could drink from it (yuck...):We all got to try some fresh coconut meat, and then, the ever present chickens got a meal.
The guide made a fire:Lit some of the coconut fuzz on fire:
And performed a fire dance for us.He also made headbands for all of us. Crumpet was thrilled...Next, we got to take a little boat ride around their fishpond. There were beautiful views of the Kualoa mountains.Many movies have been filmed at this farm. This is the site of the cafe in 50 First Dates.

We got some gorgeous views of "Turtle Island" (do you see the turtle?).
We all had a great time on this tour. It was fun, yummy, educational and beautiful. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Oahu!