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Kauai through the lens:
the movie tour

by Diannek

Kauai Pig, one happy piece of pork,
no luau in sight

I've lost count of the times I've visited Kauai (one of my favorite places on earth, by the way), so I'm always looking for something different to do after a couple days of sheer loafing around (which is the principal occupation of most Hawaiian visitors). I spotted a brochure advertising Hawaii Movie Tours. It claimed we could "See Kauai through Hollywood's Eyes." So I checked it out. 

There are two tours to pick from. One is called the "land tour", where you take a luxurious min-bus (!?) to look at famous movie locations, sing songs, view hidden beaches and eat lunch. The second is called the "extreme tour", in a 4x4 SUV equipped with an on-board TV set for viewing movie clips, plus promises of seeing almost impossible places to get to, and lunch. The second tour also promised no sing-alongs, so that's the one I opted for (besides which, I'm always more interested in going to extremes). 

on-board TV
Here's the TV in action, showing a clip from Jurassic Park (maybe)...

We got two tour guides, one for driving, and one for explaining things and firing up the TV. After picking up an SUV-full of folks, we set off. There were four Texans along for the ride -- Texans always have a good sense of humor. Whenever we drove past a lovely restaurant or pretty beach, the wife of one Texan would say, "that restaurant (beach) is so romantic, but we go there anyhow." 

Jurassic Park
The gate area to Jurassic Park

We traveled up into the mountains for our first stop, the location where the big gates to Jurassic Park were. Of course, the set had to be dismantled after shooting finished so all that was left was the eerie mountain shrouded in dark clouds and mist. It looked authentic enough for me. Our guides then told us about all the other movies that have been shot on the island and handed us a list -- 75 titles on it. There's probably a film in production at all times somewhere in Hawaii, but I had no idea how often film crews choose Kauai when they need exotic locations. To name a few less obvious titles: Manhunt, Six Days, Seven Nights, Outbreak, Throw Momma From the Train (!), Body Heat...and the list goes on.

Here piggy, piggy, piggy
Our driver, feeding the not-so-wild pigs

We then stopped for a picnic lunch on the beach. You know, watching the scenery go by in an off-road vehicle is hard work. After wolfing down our deli sandwiches and other lunch items, we took off for a private ranch located near Nawiliwili, where Outbreak was shot. The Outbreak jungle scenes were supposed to take place in the Congo, but Kauai was up to the task of Africa-look-alike. Now the virus is gone, along with the huts and Dustin Hoffman. The only thing left hanging around is a herd of Kauai pigs looking for a handout. This is a new take on the traditional pig feed.

Oops, in my haste to catch a pig in action, I accidentally
filmed my feet -- again.

I took lots of photos on this excursion. Mostly we saw fields, streams, waterfalls, overlooks, and more fields, and we were told many intriguing stories about film shoots -- insider stuff, I guess you'd call it. But in looking at the pictures afterwards, they seemed sort of uninteresting and out of focus, like something was missing. After the film is over, things go back to normal again.  I guess you just had to be there to get the full effect.

But the tour itself was great fun, and a good way to enjoy a day in Kauai. I heartily recommend it, and the other tour too (especially if you like singing along to South Pacific music). 

FYI: check out the Hawaii Movie Tour website!
or call for a reservation: 808-822-1192

and there's a book called The Kauai Movie Book, with lots of great movie photos and insider information


Find it here!     

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