Sunday, 23 February 2014

Lost in Hawaii

Last Monday, I joined a group of journalists for a movie locations tour of Oahu.

With us in the bus was Randy Spangler, veteran location scout who started in the business with the original Hawaii Five-O TV series. As you can imagine, he had plenty of stories about the TV shows and movies he'd worked for over the years.

As we headed up the east coast of the island, Randy pointed out various places that had been used for location shoots.

The most significant place was the Kualoa Ranch, a working farm which doubles as a popular tourist attraction with tours, and activities such as horseriding.

Numerous TV programs and films have been shot there, including such big guns as Jurassic Park, Godzilla and Lost. Some of the memorable locations have been marked for the benefit of visitors, such as this tree trunk behind which characters hid from velociraptors:

Driving on, we had lunch at the beachside restaurant at Turtle Bay Resort, on an attractive stretch of coastline near the northernmost tip of the island. And it was here we had a minor mishap.

The group was escorted on a couple of golf buggies into the furthermost reaches of the property, a jungle-like expanse where scenes from Lost and the recent Hunger Games sequel had been filmed.

However, a few days of rain had created unusually muddy ground, and as a result one buggy became stuck. You can see me carefully escaping through the mud in this pic taken by a colleague:

It turned out though, that our muddy halt had a silver lining. Taking charge, Randy led us on a trek to escape the jungle, via a nearby less muddy route.

This was fun. Here we were, lost in the area where they filmed Lost. Would we escape? Could this be turned into the basis of a hit reality TV series?

Actually, it was an easy walk. The first thing we saw was this beach, which Randy said had been used as a location in Hunger Games 2:

A Chinese colleague on the trip, Kylie, was equal to the task, getting into the Hunger Games spirit:

Turning inland, we encountered this amazing huge banyan tree, which had been used as a location in both Lost and Pirates of the Caribbean, among other productions:

Finally we reached in a gap in the fence and headed out to the highway, where the bus would pick us up:

And there we found this, a local fruit market which looked as if it had been plucked from the roadside of some Southeast Asian country:

It's a tribute to Hawaii's multicultural nature that I often found myself remarking on its striking diversity of peoples and influences as I travelled around; and how elements of Oahu would suddenly remind me of other places.

I guess it's a diversity which lends itself well to film and TV.

And, to tell the truth, it felt good to be Lost. Just for a bit.

Disclosure time... On this trip I travelled courtesy of Hawaii Tourism and the Oahu Visitors Bureau.