Hawaii Mom Blog: Kualoa - Jungle Expedition Tour




July 9, 2015

Kualoa - Jungle Expedition Tour

When we looked at the variety of tours that Kualoa offers, our family was torn between the Ocean Voyage Tour and Jungle Expedition Tour, so ultimately we decided to both!

And I'm so glad we did, because on each tour we learned a lot of different things, and it was a neat experience to be out on the ocean, looking at the mountains on one tour, and then on the mountains, looking at the ocean on the other. 

The 90-minute Jungle Expedition Tour began once we hopped onto one of the jungle vehicles (if you've seen Jurassic World, the vehicle will look familiar!), and our guide, Lehua explained we'd go to a Wahi Pana (sacred site) and through Hakipu`u Ahupua`a (land division).

Our ride during the Jungle Expedition Tour
Along the way to the Wahi Pana, we saw several Ki`i (aka Tiki) of Hawaiian gods.  Lehua briefly explained the roles of each of these gods, and told us how there are an astonishing 40,000 lesser gods!

Soon we came upon the replica Wahi Pana, and an offering was made, as would have been in ancient Hawaiian times, in order for us to enter the sacred area.
Replica Wahi Pana

From this site we had some amazing views of Mokoli`i Island!

Mokoli`i Island
We then made our way through Hakipu`u Ahupua`a.

Lehua provided us with more information about ahupua`a - self-sustaining land divisions marked by an altar with a pig.
A replica of an ahupua`a marking
On our way up the rolling hills of Hakipu`u, we saw lots of different plants and trees (Kualoa is home to the cyanea truncata, a plant once thought to be extinct!), fresh water springs (water, or "Wai," signified wealth in ancient Hawaii), and even saw some of the set used on Jurassic World!
Indominus Rex escapes from here!
Throughout our drive through Hakipu`u, we made a few stops for photo ops.

One of the stops gave us a great view of Moli`i pond, the 800-year old ancient Hawaiian fishpond that we were just on a couple of hours before on the Ocean Voyage Tour.  It was so neat to see the pond from afar!
Moli`i Pond
Lehua even stopped to pick some fresh mountain apples for us to try (my kids thought it was so neat to be able to see the fruit picked right off the tree)!
Near the end of the tour, we stopped to take in more views, and also did a short, but steep hike up the mountain for even more pretty views (this was two of my kids' favorite part of our entire visit to Kualoa - hiking up the mountain!).

Lehua was very knowledgeable and provided us with a lot of information about Kualoa, and the efforts of Kualoa to educate others on its history, as well as the importance of sustainability.

It was very intriguing to hear how Dr. Judd and now the Morgans, descendants of the Judds, became owners of  Kualoa, Hakipu`u, and Ka`a`awa - land totalling 4,000 acres.  It was also great to hear how hundreds of kids visit Kualoa each year to not only learn about the land, but how to take care of it as well (even I visited as a high-schooler!).

The Jungle Expedition Tour was fantastic.  To explore such a sacred area with so much history was a lot of fun, but also very meaningful.

At the end of the tour I was in awe of just how much land the Morgans own, but so appreciative of how they continue to care for the land, while allowing visitors, like myself, explore it and learn more about it.

49-560 Kamehameha Hwy
Kaneohe, HI 96744
(808) 237-7321

For tour information, click here.  Kama`aina and military discounts available.

Thank you to Kualoa for hosting our family's tour.  Guide gratuity was paid on my own.

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