Visiting Hawaii, but want to spend some time riding trails and enjoying the dirt, not just lounging by the pool? You can do both and more thanks to the excellent team at Kualoa Ranch.
Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve is a fantastic ATV/UTV and wildlife park where you can hop on an ATV and take a guided tour through Jurassic Valley or hang out longer to experience horseback riding, ziplining, and more.
In this review of Kualoa Ranch, we’ll cover the essential info, what the park offers, the best ATV tours, and others available.
Where Is Kualoa Ranch?
First off, let’s start with the basic information before we look at some of the best ATV tours Oahu has to offer. You can find Kualoa Ranch just 45 minutes from Waikiki in Hawaii, and they give you very clear instructions on how to drive there on this page. If you don’t have a vehicle with you, not to worry, there’s also a city bus from Honolulu – which takes some time – and various options from Waikiki hotels. We suggest checking with your reception staff as they’ll be able to support with timings and more.
Kualoa Ranch is a family business and has been covering the 4000 acres of land in the area since 1850. They keep the lands undeveloped thanks to the tours and activities that allow the family to earn money without sacrificing any of the fantastic scenery you’ll be greeted by.
In terms of opening times, there isn’t really an option to wander around unguided, so you’ll be best off checking with them when you can book tours, and all the relevant information will be shared at the time.
What Is Kualoa Ranch Like?
We’ve established that you can go on Kualoa Ranch ATV tours as well as a multitude of guided tours and adventures, but you’re probably wondering what it will be like on the premises first.
The site has been in the US Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places since the 1970s, covering sacred lands and historical spots. The ranch extends over 4000 acres named Kualoa, Hakipu’u, and Ka’a’awa, all part of a nature reserve and a working cattle ranch with over 600 head of cattle, 120 horses, and 200 sheep. Sounds idyllic, right?
Although only 24 miles away from Waikiki, this is a great destination to unwind and forget all about city life. There’s dense Hawaiian rainforest, broad open valleys, and everything in between to discover. And, thanks to its fantastic scenery, Kualoa Ranch offers a range of sports to enjoy and explore the premises, from mountain biking to ATVs and Jungle Jeeps!
Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Park
Ok, it’s not actually “Jurassic Park” as in the movie, but the ranch’s Jurassic Valley contains many movie locations you will recognize: Jumanji, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, 50 First Dates, and – yes! – Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom all feature scenes filmed here.
This is also the backdrop for some TV shows like LOST.
Moli’i and More
While the northern half of the ranch is “Hawaii’s Backlot,” the southern end includes gorgeous Hakipu’u Valley rainforest, an 800-year old Hawaiian fishpond called Moli’i, and the Hokule’a beach.
Kualoa Ranch ATV Tour Options
If you’ve come to Kualoa Ranch looking to ride on some excellent trails, you’re in for a treat. The 2-hour Raptor Tour covers the stunning Ka’a’awa Valley (the Jurassic Valley we mentioned above) and is among the most popular adventure tours on the island. You get to drive your own Raptor and bring along up to 5 passengers, who can swap with you mid-tour if you’d like.
Tours go out almost daily (except on Christmas and New Year’s Day), and in all types of weather, so you can get quite different experiences depending on when you book, from dusty to muddy. Experience the trails from your favorite movies and immerse yourself in the adventure during a 2-hour tour, or you can opt for the shorter one-hour version, too.
Other Kualoa Ranch Adventures
Kualoa Ranch isn’t just fun to discover riding their Raptors. If you don’t want to ride your own vehicle, there’s the option to discover Jurassic Valley and all the movie locations through the 2.5-hour Jurassic Adventure Tour.
This tour is run in 16-passenger open-air custom vehicles and is one of the best-selling options offered by Kualoa Ranch. Alternatively, you can leave the shores behind and head out to the sea on the Ocean Voyage Tour. This takes you from Kaneohe Bay in a catamaran, allowing you to admire the mountains from afar. Get to know Moli’i Pond as well as discover “Secret Island” in the process. The tour includes a 20-minute fishpond boat tour where you can learn about Hawaiian stewardship practices of the olden days and oyster farming.
Also, how about taking in some altitude on the Jurassic Valley Zipline? This Kualoa Ranch adventure tour starts above the spectacular Jurassic Valley and takes you across seven zip wires, two suspension bridges, and five hiking trails. This is an ideal mix of nature and adventure, which lasts 3 hours and includes information about Hawaiian traditions and the local flora and fauna. It’s one of the best-loved immersive experiences at Kualoa Ranch.
Finally, get your feet firmly planted on the ground (or not entirely) by going on a horse riding adventure. The 2-hour Horseback Walking Tour mixes riding and walking around the beautiful grounds. You’ll feel like a real movie star as you ride off into the sunset in the middle of Jurassic Valley, so this one is an experience not to be missed!
What Else Is There at Kualoa Ranch?
It looks like Kualoa Ranch does have a lot on offer, but it’s not just great tours and walking adventures. Once you make your way there, there are dining options such as Aunty Pat’s Café, and they offer a range of catering services featuring farm produce if you’re looking to organize a party in a different location.
Unfortunately, for such a scenic location, there aren’t any on-site accommodation options so that you can extend the adventures, but Kualoa Ranch offers a wide range of wedding venues! You can have a Jumanji-themed wedding or get married on the Secret Island, in truly unique surroundings and with the magic of the island on your shoulders.
Finally, the Kualoa Grown market features locally grown produce, from grass-fed beef to fruits and vegetables and some great seafood, too. You can learn about their aquaculture operations from the actual farmers, find out how they raise sustainable shrimp and take home some delicious food once you’ve finished your ATV Oahu adventure (or any other tour!).
Kualoa Ranch: ATV Adventures in Paradise and More
With its unique scenery and fantastic locations throughout the massive property, Kualoa Ranch has a lot to offer for nature-loving tourists with a vast range of interests. Whether you want to explore movie sites, sail on the sea, or browse the food at the KualoaGrown market, this is a brilliant place. And, as far as off-roading goes, it’s also the place where you’ll find the most immersive and fun ATV tours Oahu has to offer.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.