If you have ever watched the new series of Hawaii Five-O, then you will be familiar with the amazingly stunning scenery and Island locations that are always a massive feature of the episodes. However, in all honesty, before binge-watching the TV show, Hawaii had never really been on my travel bucket list! Well played Tourism Hawaii, well played.
There are definitely organised Hawaii Five-O tours that you can book over there buuuut we did our own and managed to fit most of the locations in and around our other site-seeing. So below I’ve shared a few of the locations we managed to get to during our week on Oahu.
Throughout the seasons of the show, I quickly fell in love with the culture and scenery of Oahu. So as soon as we confirmed that we would be honeymooning in Hawaii, I started researching places that had been featured in the show. And, seriously, there is no shortage of them.
I actually introduced Jake to the show over there (yep we watched Hawaii Five-O in Hawaii haha) and I was amazed at how much on location filming they actually do. We were then recognising street names all around Waikiki; it was actually quite a bit of fun. From the International Market place to Duke’s or even just the street we were staying on. One thing I will say… watching the show over there helped considerably with our pronunciation haha. Locals must easily be able to spot-the-tourist.
Bonus Tip: if you’re into movies, Kualoa Ranch is a MUST. It alone has been the set of over 50 movies and TV shows, including Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Hawaii Five-0, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla and Jumanji … just to name a few. And you can easily see why.
This is probably one of the easiest film locations to get to haha. A lot of the b-roll on the show is of Waikiki beach and the main drag. They have racks of surfboards for hire, volleyball nets set up and people everywhere!! Haha. When you are out on the beach in certain places you can look left and see Diamond Head off in the distance and then look right and see heaps of fancy hotels. All I can say is that because of the TV show it all felt extremely familiar to me annnd it took everything in me to not stop and take a selfie with every HPD vehicle that we saw.
Duke Kahanamoku Statue
Who doesn’t know this statue?? If you don’t then you probs haven’t watched the show haha cause it is one of those iconic Waikiki sites. Hearing more about Duke’s story and the Aloha culture was amazing to experience first hand. But how people manage to get the lais up on his hands… I have no idea haha. It’s not hard to find but it is up off the beach closer to the road. It was actually literally just down the road from where we were staying so I constantly used it as a landmark for our exploring and getting home. Just chuck it into google maps and it comes up!
Diamond Head Crater
We didn’t actually climb diamond head crater properly because we had our sights set on another hike on Oahu (you’ll see that next). But we flew across the top of it in our open door helicopter tour and often saw it off in the distance while on Waikiki beach. When I saw it from the aeroplane window when we were flying into Oahu… I got so excited because I recognised it and it sunk it that we were actually in Hawaii . I loooove the volcanic mountains and how green and tropical they are. I would always sit facing the mountains, while Jake would always face watching the sea. Yep how’s that for a combo… beach and mountains soooo close to each other. Its not all high rises like the beaches in Australia.
Koko Head Trail
Remember waaaaaay back in the start of the show (season 2 episode 15) where Steve and Lori go for a run up a massive set of stairs. Yep that was this set of stairs, all 1048 or so of them. There were some crazy people running buuuut most of us were just trying to walk them haha. It’s an endurance hike that’s for sure!! If you look at the photos you can see just how steep it gets but the view was totally worth it. While Steve and Lori technically didn’t get to the top … we defs did.
You’ll need to hire a car or catch a bus to get there. We took a local bus ($5 a day) and while it takes a lot longer to get there, the bus stop is directly across from the access road to the start of the hike. We used the time to plan more of our trip and take in the scenery.
You know how they often have fireworks at the end of an episode when they are having drinks together to celebrate? Well the Hilton village has a fireworks display every Friday night. While we didn’t make it to the Tropics (the bar they film at), there was a massive crowd of people gathered on the beach to watch the display. There were even some people out in their boats looking back at the shore… boy that would’ve been an amazing view.
It is super sad to think that the police headquarters doesn’t actually belong inside this building but we got to see it anyways!!! This statue is now so iconic from the TV show and we weren’t the only ones who where taking a million photos out the front. It’s location is outside of the Waikiki beach area so we caught a bus and walked a fair bit to get there… but 100% worth it!
The ranch is probably one of the most filmed locations in Hawaii. You might recognise it from Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbour, Jurassic World, Jumanji, 50 first dates, Lost and heaps more. It is first and foremost a working ranch and research centre but it also well setup as a massive tourist location with horseback riding tours, movie set tours, food tours, jungle tours etc etc. We spent the whole day there and had a ball!
The movie set tour took us to the bunker (season 6 episode 12) and also to the very famous and recognizable Kaʻaʻawa valley. I will have to do another blog post just on everything we got up to this day!!!
Pearl Harbour & the USS Missouri
Such an amazing and powerful place to visit and we obviously didn’t just visit it because of its role in Hawaii Five-O. We arrived super early and were lucky enough to get some of the free ferry tickets to visit the the Arizona memorial. It was incredible to see it from the water, having also seen it from the skies in our helicopter tour earlier that week.
Throughout the series, the battleship Missouri is seen quite a few times … even in the first episode. But I remember it best from Season 1, Episode 7 when Steve snuck onto the ship to try and help out in a hostage situation. We toured the whole boat: from the deck where the Peace Treaty was signed with Japan, and right down into the body of the ship.
Well this one isn’t exactly a Hawaii five-O filming location but it was the same company that they used in a few episodes (Magnum Open Door Helicopters) annnnd it meant we got to see Oahu from the skies which was amazingly surreal (especially as Oahu is often shown from the sky in the show as well)! We saw Pearl Harbour, Aloha Tower, Sacred Falls, North Shore, the Dole Plantation and much much more!! You can see more photos and read my 5 tips for an open door helicopter tour here.
But if you’re considering visiting Oahu and love the Hawaii Five-O scenery as much as I do, then you’ll have an amazing time. Whether you do it yourself (like we did) or go on an organised tour, the scenery is breath-taking and well worth every cent.