We drove there ourselves from Aiea to Kualoa Ranch, it was about a 45 minute drive. It rained as we went into Kaneohe, but by the time we got to Kualoa, the weather was sunny.
We didn’t get a package, just selected different activities to do (prior to date). We did Experience B–The Mountain, Jungle Expedition Tour; Experience C–The Ocean, Ocean Voyage & Garden Tour; Adventure E–Zipline Tour, Treetop Canopy Zipline Tour; and had their Ranch House Buffet Lunch.
Our schedule for the day:
8:45 a.m. check-in
9:15 a.m. The Mountains — Jungle Expedition Tour
11:00 a.m. The Ocean — Ocean Voyage & Hawaiian Fishpond and Garden Tour
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Buffet Lunch
2:30 p.m. Zipline Tour
We arrived early and ate breakfast in the car. We weren’t sure what we could/should bring with us but I got Jeremy to carry the backpack with everything for the day.
Checked in at the ticket booth, they gave passes for the different experiences and lunch. For ziplining, we needed to fill out a waiver but they said just to come back around 2:00 p.m. so we wouldn’t carry the papers around.
We had to check in another booth for the Jungle Expedition Tour. We gave them our passes and got a photo in front of the vehicle we were going to be riding in during the tour. Once everyone arrived we set off into the Hakipu’u Valley. The ocean view was amazing and we got to get off twice. Once by the replica Wahi Pana and another overlooking both valleys by Saddle Ridge Hiking Trail. From the stopping point it was a five minute hike up to the view. Our guides (Kaipo and Harlem) were informative and amusing. The tour itself was about 1.5 hours, the route was a bit bumpy and dirt came up all over the place.
I think all their vehicles are open-aired, not glass windows to stop you from sticking your hands out.
Once we got back, we had time before checking in the Ocean Voyage & Hawaiian Fishpond and Garden Tour. Jeremy was much more amused with the Kualoa Ranch cats and I went over to the horses (https://instagram.com/p/2Wt0rqntw_/). We looked inside the restaurant for lunch. Unfortunately, for the buffet, we couldn’t leave the restaurant with the food and bring on the catamaran so we just went to the bathroom before checking in for the next tour.
There was a total of four of us and our guide was Kaipo, same from the Jungle Expedition. Rode the minibus to a different part of the ranch, next to the Kualoa Regional Park. He showed us the garden and we got to snack on a lychee. A bit tart but still yummy. We got dropped off at the fishpond and rode the canoe to Secret Island. From there we got on the Kailani catamaran, met Captain Jon and first mate Chibi. We sailed out towards Chinaman’s Hat. Sailing out was rough (https://instagram.com/p/2WxFA_Ht2n/), sailing back, calm. We saw turtles along the way and past the reef where the babies were. Didn’t see any babies, just grown sea turtles. This felt like a quick tour. It’s recommended to sit when it’s rough and if you want to get splashed, stay downstairs. There’s shade on the catamaran so we didn’t bother with sunscreen. Ha ha.
HUNGRY, FOOD. We weren’t sure where to redeem the voucher so we asked and they pointed us the right way. For the buffet it’s $18. But prior to, I was looking at their garlic shrimp plate. What I got for lunch (rice, corn, chili with beans, ribs, chicken–salad and dessert not pictured): https://instagram.com/p/2W4b-xHtya/. Piled on that corn, even went back for seconds. There’s tables indoors and outdoors. During the buffet times, it gets packed!
Views around Kualoa Ranch: https://instagram.com/p/2XELV0nt0L/
Once we were done, we went to the ticket booth and checked in for zip line. We filled out the waivers and held on to it. We gave it to our guide as we were being weighed and got on another minibus to drive into Kaaawa Valley. We were probably the last group of the day and a small one, total of six. This time I left my Nikon since I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t think I’d be able to take photos while on the line.
The crew helped us with the gear and told us what we needed to know. There is a locker that can hold your belongings, free of charge. Someone just has to hold the key to their harness. In total six zip lines and two bridges. The crew (Angie, Eric, forgot the last one’s name) was helpful and entertaining. They’ll make sure you’re strapped in and when we’re on the platforms, we were always harnessed to a line. Doing a line went by really quickly. Seemed scary since the only thing holding you is the harnesses and being high up from the ground. I only got stuck once but I wasn’t too far out that someone had to come in and get me. It was my first time zip lining and an interesting experience. Between some lines we did have to hike up a few paths, it wasn’t that long though, so wear closed-toed shoes. There are two water stations. If I had a GoPro, I would’ve used it. So bring one if you have one! You can use your phone and/or camera but if you drop it, bye bye.
Once we got back to the Center, I wanted some shave ice, but they closed and the park seemed deserted :(