A week ago I returned from a vacation to the islands of Hawaii where we were lucky enough to visit numerous locations from the Jurassic Park movies and the television show Lost, as well as a handful of others.
The islands of both Oahu and Kauai have been used extensively for film and TV productions over the years but I would say that the islands are most recognizable as both Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna.
Visiting the islands has been a lifelong dream – as it is for many fans – and standing on the many locations where the cast and crew of the movies stood can get fairly surreal. Seeing the mountains, valleys, and film sets in person is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
I wanted to share some photos from my trip, as well as describe the Kualoa Ranch tour (famous for the Gallimimus sequence, I-Rex Paddock, Gyrosphere Station) and the Jurassic Falls tour (landing at the famous waterfall) which I highly recommend to all fans who are lucky enough to visit the islands! I have already shared some photos from the trip on Instagram:
I was lucky enough to be shown around by my friend Sean from Reel News Hawaii, who knows the island of Oahu like the back of his hand. Leaving out the many locations we hit for Lost, we started off with the pier where the Isla Nublar ferry arrives at Jurassic World! The pier is naturally exactly as it was seen on screen, but you’ll notice the flag poles and CGI monorail aren’t to be seen.
We visited the Hawaii Convention Center which stood in for the Isla Nublar Hilton, as well as the car park in Jurassic World where workers are panicking and Owen and Claire leave on the ATV:
The Jurassic Park 3 landing strip was up next, which is at Dillingham Airfield. It was interesting to learn that a lot of foliage was added to the sides of the landing strip, and the small shack/building was also added. I had always just assumed it was always like this! Our website designer had some fun with the photo:
This was always one of my favourite scenes in Jurassic Park 3, so it was pretty cool to stand and explore this landing strip.
The first official tour we took was the Premier Movie Sites Tour at the Kualoa Ranch. It is the only tour that takes place in an air conditioned Mercedes Sprinter van and the tour is incredibly in-depth, playing scenes on monitors from various movies as you drive past, and in some cases, stop at famous movie sites. Our tour guide was called Stephanie and I’d highly recommend her! She was brilliant, knew as much about the Jurassic movies as any fan, and really has a passion for movies and the locations in which they filmed. She was joined by trainee Melani who will no doubt make an great tour guide herself. The famous Gallimimus scenes takes place right next to Hurley’s Golf Course in Lost, and while they don’t sign post the Gallimimus hill, a log sits roughly where the original log sat.
There are many other locations at the Kualoa Ranch, mostly from Jurassic World. The Helipad, the I-Rex Paddock, the Mosasaurus lagoon, the Gyrosphere Station and the “Jurassic Park” gate were all constructed here and in some cases, they remain. Check out the gallery below!
And obviously we had to recreate some photos too! Credit to Reel News Hawaii for some of the featured photos and the I-Rex poster below!
It’s pretty safe to say this tour is a must do for any Jurassic Park fan. The Kualoa Ranch have done an outstanding job of restoring many of the Jurassic World sets, and they ensure you have the best experience while touring the property. The property itself really shows off Hawaii’s natural beauty; I often found myself gazing at my surroundings, taking it all in.
If you take the Premier Movie Sites Tour – which I recommend – then you are given 10% off at the gift shop too. What I did find strange however, is that there is not a single piece of Jurassic merchandise to be found. After asking around, it seems that Universal Pictures have not provided the rights for the Kualoa Ranch to sell merchandise, which is just downright bizarre. After visiting the Jurassic Park filming locations, doesn’t everybody want to buy a shirt? It seems like one of the most logical places to actually sell merchandise, yet there is none to be found. Even the staff found it odd.
Aside from that, the Kualoa Ranch is a must-see on the island of Oahu!
While there are many locations to be found on the island of Oahu, the island of Kauai is where a large chunk of Jurassic Park was filmed. We only had the day on Kauai so we did not get to see much, but two minutes from the airport is the Island Helicopters office – the only helicopter company that land at the Manawaiopuna Falls, the waterfall from Jurassic Park!
This was the most surreal of it all. As you approach the waterfall, they play the Jurassic Park theme through your headphones – icing on the cake. It really places you there. Our pilot told me that some of the original pieces of the landing pad had been left on the other side of the plunge pool but I couldn’t quite make anything out in particular.
Once you have gazed in awe at the waterfall the Helicopter tour continues, taking you around the beautiful island of Kauai and showing you the Nā Pali coast, hidden beaches and much more. It’s a great tour, the whole island looks like Isla Nublar. Our waterfall experience was amazing, and we even got to witness a wedding proposal – congratulations to Marissa and her partner! What a great place to have proposed.
It’s hard, if not impossible to say which location was my favourite to visit but the waterfall does comes close. The whole trip was absolutely wonderful and I’m so grateful to have seen the islands. It’s something I have wanted to do since as early as I can remember and this trip ticked all the boxes. I finally got to visit Jurassic Park. Hands down the best vacation I have had.
I want to thank Sean for showing us so much on the island of Oahu! The Reel News Hawaii/Jurassic Outpost meetup finally happened!
If you are lucky enough to take a vacation to Hawaii then be sure to check out the Kualoa Ranch website for more information on the tours they offer, and the Island Helicopters website for information on the waterfall tour!
I hope you have enjoyed this write-up and the photos too! This trip was filled with great memories that I’ll never forget. Have you been to the islands? Be sure to share your stories and photos with us in the comments section below!