With its volcanic landscapes, bountiful beaches and world-class surf, Hawaii is a paradise in many ways. It’s no surprise, then, that the tropical archipelago has captured the attention of many a studio location scout. Whether it’s transporting the viewer to an alien landscape, a land of archaeology action heroes or a dinosaur theme park, The Aloha State has Hollywood covered. And discovering these epic locations makes for a fascinating holiday activity too; here we reveal our favourite blockbusters and where they were shot in Hawaii:
WHERE? Kauai & Oahu
The most famous spot this incredible movie franchise is filmed at is Kualoa Ranch on Oahu – there’s a reason this place will look familiar, having been dubbed Hollywood’s Hawaii backlot. Lost, Kong: Skull Island and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle were also shot here, as well as several scenes from the Jurassic Park sequels.
On this 4,000-acre estate you can seek out the logs that Dr Grant and the kids hid behind to dodge being trampled by dinos, as well as taking an ATV tour across the plains where these prehistoric creatures roamed in the movie. It’s a film buff’s dream. Avid fans should also consider a helicopter ride via Kauai’s Manawaiopuna Falls, often referred to as the ‘Jurassic Park Falls’ and known for the film’s initial arrival scene. Welcome to Jurassic Park...
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall may not feature some of Hawaii’s most stunning landscapes, but it does showcase one of its most beloved hotels: the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore. In the movie you get to see Jason Segal (and his heartbroken wailing) in the hotel’s beautiful Ocean Villas, admire the stunning cliffs at Laie Point (pictured above) near the property, and marvel at the delicious food at on-site eatery Olas Restaurant. If these scenes don’t inspire you to book a stay here – and discover nearby gems like Waimea Valley’s botanical gardens and beach – we don’t know what will.
WHERE? Oahu & Maui
Obviously we’re talking about the original (far superior) Point Break movie. Some of the nineties flick’s best surf scenes were filmed off Oahu’s famous Waimea Bay. No surprises there – Hawaii is renowned for its epic swells after all. If you prefer the remake (how could you?), the surf scenes were partially shot at Jaws-Peahi, Maui’s biggest surf break, famous for its higher-than-a-house waves. While only for the most extreme, experienced surfers, it really is a fantastic place to observe this water sport at its finest.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Remember that elaborate Raiders of the Lost Ark opening scene, where Indiana Jones is revealed in the Peruvian jungle? Well it’s not South America after all. In fact, it’s Kauai’s Fern Grotto, and its surrounds. And how about that iconic moment when Jones has a near-miss with that boulder? This was shot in the island’s Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, home to a plethora of endangered birds and native plants. Head out on a boat trip here, along the Huleia River, and you’ll feel like you an adventure pioneer – just like Indy himself.
Authenticity was crucial when recreating the real-life events of Pearl Harbor for the movie. Filming was done on several locations across the island of Oahu, including the Wheeler Air Force Base, Fort Shafter, and of course Pearl Harbor itself. The movie – while not without its Hollywood dramatisations – provides a clear timeline of the tragic events that took place here in 1941, and is a perfect prelude to visiting this compelling site. Chat to your Flight Centre Travel Consultant about arranging tickets or a tour including transfers.
WHERE? Big Island
Avatar may have been a CGI masterpiece, but there were still locations used that were so beautiful, no computer dabbling was required. Big Island’s Hamakua Coast was one such spot. The lush scenery here, from coast to inland rainforest, served as Pandora’s verdant landscape in several scenes. The colours in the movie may be vivid, but forget what you see on screen – nothing is as striking as seeing this paradisiacal region up close, in real life.
Kauai served as a double for Vietnam in Tropic Thunder – a comedy that lays claim to the largest film production in the island’s history. In the movie we see the dense forests of Kauai, the area around Wailua Falls and the fields of Kauai Ranch, all of which give a glimpse into how picturesque ‘The Garden Isle’ is, not to mention how it earnt its nickname. For an off-the-beaten-track Hawaii holiday, this area is truly special.