Kualoa Ranch – Ahupua’a Hawaiian Land
As I drove west along Kahekili Highway, the skyscrapers of Waikiki faded away, and the lush Hawaiian lanscape began to make its presence known. With the Chinaman’s hat as a landmark to my right, I turned left into Kualoa Ranch for my horseback riding vacation. The Kualoa Ranch land is unique in that it covers three ancient Hawaiian land divisions known as ahupua’a – from rain forest to open valleys, cliff faces and beach.
Hollywood Meets Kualoa Ranch
The 4,000 acre Kualoa cattle ranch was initially acquired by Dr. Gerrit P. Judd back in 1850 from King Kamehameha III. Now privately owned by the Morgan family, horseback riders will recognize many of the movie and television sites filmed at Kualoa Ranch.
My guide, Michell, pointed out where Hurley set up a golf course for his LOSTcastaways. Further along, we rode by the Penguin that Henry (Adam Sandler) set up for Lucy (Drew Barrymore) in 50 First Dates. We also rode past the giant log that the children and professor hid behind in Jurassic Park. Finally, we rode on horseback by the general store that was used in the movie Mighty Joe Young. Not the ideal location for a horseback riding vacation, the “store” looks a lot different now that the cows have claimed it for their own.
Kualoa Ranch Horseback Riding
With over 75 horses at Kualoa Ranch, there is a horse or pony to accommodate all riding levels. Aside from the two horseback riding guides, I was the only experienced equestrian in our group. Next visit, I would opt for either the 9:15 or 11:30 a.m. two hour horseback ride. This ride is open to a maximum of six guests and is faster paced. While you can see the beach from the trail, Kualoa Ranch is located across the street from the Pacific Ocean.
My horse was named Hekili, the Hawaiian word for Thunder. Hekili was part Belgian Draft Horse and part Quarter Horse and was a Premarin rescue horse.
Kualoa Ranch – Horseback Riding Vacation for Beginning Riders
The ranch offered a short horseback riding demonstration on neck reining and how to keep your horse moving forward when we passed grass along the trail. There was also a short video for the Japanese equestrians in the group. There was a one hour and two hour horseback riding vacation tour. The two hour horseback trail ride, $93. included the movie tour. Children under 10 years of age may go on a Kiki ride, five minutes for $5.
If You Go:
Kualoa Ranch (808) 237-7321
49-560 Kamehameha Highway, Ka’a’awa, HI 96730