Let me say this right away. The 5-hour Kos Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure Tour was the most fun I've ever had in over 13 years writing about the island of Oahu.
I admit I'm a huge fan of ABC's hit series Lost and I might not even have signed up for the tour if it didn't include many Lost filming locations. Having taken the tour, however, I'm delighted that I did and it became clear very quickly that you don't need to be a Lost fan to enjoy it, although it certainly helps!
5-hour Tour Offers Great Bonding Experience
The 5-hour tour includes many of the same locations as the 2-hour tour but instead of having to drive up to Kualoa Ranch on Windward Oahu, it includes hotel pickup and stops at a number of movie and Lost filming locations along the way. It also is a "bonding" experience between you and the tour guide and others in your Hummer.
On my tour, our Hummer included our driver Scotty, a delightful young woman and huge Lost fan from Australia Tammie and a married couple Arlene and Don, who had never seen an episode of Lost. We quickly all became friends, chatting about television shows, movies, the island of Oahu, and just about anything else that came to mind. By the end of the tour we had all shared email addresses and promised to share our photos from the day.
Scotty was easily the most enthusiastic tour guide I've ever seen in Hawaii. Despite running the tour a couple of times daily, he never showed any sign of boredom. In fact, when we learned that Lost was filming in the Ka'a'awa Valley, he was just as excited as the rest of us. When we saw new sets and several of the actors, he was taking as many photos as we were!
I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, though.
Nu'uanu Pali Drive and the Nu'uanu Trail
As I said, I'm glad that I signed up for the 5-hour tour. Instead of having to make the hour-long drive to Kualoa Ranch on your own, you're picked up at your hotel. With only four guests in the Hummer, there was plenty of room to be comfortable. In fact, the Hummer was a much more comfortable vehicle than I thought it would be.
Our first stops were along the Nu'uanu Pali Drive and the Nu'uanu Trail. This is an area where few tourists ever venture as they speed up the Pali Highway to get to the windward side of the island only usually stopping at the Nu'uanu Pali lookout. You pass numerous luxurious homes, one of which was used as Anthony Cooper's first home in Season 1 of Lost.
The road also meanders though some very rural jungle terrain which has been used for filming in several episodes of Lost. One of the first season's most recognizable banyan trees is found here and we all had our photos taken inside the tree where Kate hid from the smoke monster in Season 1.
The tour then stops at the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout which is not known as a filming location, but which offers magnificent views of Oahu's windward coast where many motions pictures and television series have been filmed.
Windward Oahu - Waikane Pier and Moli'i Gardens
Driving north along the windward coast we passed several other filming locations and stopping briefly to view Waikane Pier which has been used not only in Lost, but made famous in the film 50 First Dates.
Our next extended stop was at Moli'i Gardens, an area owned by Kualoa Ranch but inaccessible to the public except on the Kos tour or on the ranch's Moli'i Gardens tour. The Kos tour, however, explores an area of the gardens not included on the ranch tour. Lost fans will recognize it was one of the sets used to portray equatorial Africa in Lost, but it has also been used as the site of the Hukilau Café in 50 First Dates and the site of a Nigerian village in the film Tears of the Sun.
Just a short drive away is the area of the gardens bordering the Moli'i Fishpond where the Dharma submarine was docked in Lost, where Juliet saw her first views of the island and which also served as Jin's father's Korean fishing village.
Ka'a'awa Valley - Prime Lost Filming Location
After a short bathroom/snack stop at the Kualoa Ranch Visitor Center, we proceeded into the Ka'a'awa Valley, owned by Kualoa Ranch. This undeveloped and beautiful valley has been used for numerous Hollywood films including Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Godzilla and 50 First Dates. It is also one of the major filming locations for Lost.
We could not have been more fortunate. Lost was involved in a major weeklong shoot in the valley. Numerous sets were constructed for the upcoming Season 5 and numerous Lost actors such as Terry O'Quinn (John Locke) and Josh Holloway (Sawyer) were right there before our eyes within easy shouting distance.
It was somewhat surreal to see Josh Holloway standing on the island of Lost in his Sawyer clothing but talking on a cell phone. If only the survivors of Flight 815 had cell phones and a nearby cell tower!
Lost, Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Godzilla, 50 First Dates and More
The Kos Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure Tour takes you further into the valley than the ranch's own movie tour (by bus) or ranch's horseback rides. That's a major advantage of using a Hummer, i.e. accessibility, speed and comfort.
We stopped and had plenty of time to take photos of numerous Lost locations including the spot where Hurley drove the VW Bus down the mountain, the area where the "security" fence was located and even the site of Hurley's golf course. In total we saw more than a dozen past and current Lost filming locations. We also stopped at filming locations for Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Godzilla and 50 First Dates.
We spent about two hours in the valley. The time went by much too quickly. With Lost actually filming right before our eyes, we were all definitely feeling a great high. Much too soon, however, it was time to head back to the Visitor Center and soon make our return trip to Waikiki.
Ed Kos - Owner of Kos Tours, Inc.
I had the chance to talk to Ed Kos, the owner of Kos Tours, Inc. I think Ed was genuinely surprised to find a travel writer who actually paid for the tour. As I said, I really wanted to take this tour and made sure to schedule it as part of my trip itinerary. Ed is just as enthusiastic and as big a movie and Lost fan as his drivers. Ed asked me not to reveal several of the surprises that are in store for tour guests and I gladly agreed to that.
Ed also advised me that he's looking to add a new ten-hour circle island tour early next year which will visit totally different sites than are featured on the tour that I took. I've already penciled that in for my 2009 Oahu trip.
As I said, up front, the 5-hour Kos Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure Tour was the most fun I've ever had in over 13 years writing about the island of Oahu. Whether you're a fan of Lost or not, there is plenty on this tour to give you five hours of total fun.
Remember to Tip Your Guide
If you go, please remember to take care of your driver/tour guide with a nice gratuity. Too many visitors forget how important that extra bit of cash is to these folks who live in Hawaii and have to work several jobs just to make ends meet.
If You Go
The 5-hour Kos Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure Tour currently costs a very reasonable $149 and departs twice daily from hotel and resort locations in Waikiki. The 2-hour Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure which includes just the Ka'a'awa Valley portion of the longer tour departs directly from the Kualoa Ranch Visitor Center and is offered four times daily. The cost for the 2-hour tour is currently $79. I highly recommend the 5-hour tour.
If you're interested in learning more about Kos Tours, Inc. visit their website at www.hummertourshawaii.com.
If you'd like to see a dozen photos taken on the 5-hour tour visit our Kos Hummer Movie/Lost Adventure Tour Photo Gallery.
For more information on Lost, visit About.com Guide Bonnie Covel's Lost site.