Desk jockeys, put down that dry cleaning and get inspired by your friends and neighbors. They make the most of Hawaii's giant backyard—and they want to show us how.
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Bridge, schmidge—it's more fun to get down and dirty on Kualoa Ranch.
Photo courtesy of Kualoa Ranch
Rumble in the Jungle
If Tarzan lived in the 21st century, he’d pick this car in which to get around the jungle. Hop inside Kualoa Ranch’s six-wheel-drive Swiss Pinzauer vehicle, and for the next hour, you’ll drive across bumpy backcountry roads, motor through passing streams, and witness incredible views of Molii fishpond and Kaneohe Bay. The white-knuckle ride is narrated, so knowledge-hungry folks will learn about Queen Kalama, who once owned the southern third of the ranch, and other cultural tidbits of the area. A five-minute hike will reveal a lookout of Kaaawa Valley, which is the northern half of the ranch, and Chinaman’s Hat.
“This is an opportunity to see a part of Hawaii that people don’t really know exists, and learn about the history associated with it,” says John Morgan, president of Kualoa Ranch. Tickets are $16 for kamaaina; there’s no age requirement for children but they need to be able to sit up and hold on for themselves. 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy., 237-7321, www.kualoa.com.
Soar like a Bird
Photo courtesy of the Honolulu Soaring Club
If piloting a plane seems terrifying, but you want to see Oahu as never before, consider a less adrenaline-pumping alternative: soaring silently in an engine-free glider. Honolulu Soaring Club has operated out of Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia since 1970, and offers an array of flight options, including scenic glides for those who want to relax and enjoy 30- to 40-mile views of spectacular scenery. One does not need to be a thrill seeker to enjoy the rush of seeing Kaena Point from 3,000 feet; anyone can enjoy beauty from a bird’s-eye perspective.
The aerial excursions are generally 30 minutes or less, and you are welcome to take pictures or a video. Twosomes ride behind the pilot, while a single can choose to ride in front. For more information, call 637-0207; www.gliderride hawaii.com.
Kayaking the Huleia River
It’s Indiana Jones style all the way when you launch your kayak at Niumalu and paddle Kauai’s impossibly lush Huleia River, just outside Lihue. The rugged Haupu mountains provide a scenic framework for the river, which flows right through the legendary Menehune (Alekoko) fishpond. The rock walls, reportedly made by the little people who first inhabited Kauai, are now engulfed by mangrove, adding to the overall jungle effect. You may even spot endangered native water birds within this federal wildlife refuge. Curiously, it’s actually easier to paddle upstream than down if the trades are blowing briskly.