I didn’t know what to expect on the drive up to Kahua Ranch. I had heard so many good things about the place, but I just couldn’t figure out why anyone would visit a ranch while they were in Hawaii. It just seemed…almost silly. You would never associate Hawaii with country livin’, you know? At least I never did. But I had to see for myself. The first thing I noticed on the drive up was the dramatic change in scenery. The ranch is pretty far up in the mountains, so you start to lose sight of the beaches as you go up. But oh my goodness, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Very different from the beaches, of course, but every bit as beautiful (if not more). I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I was just so awestruck by the natural beauty of this place. The rolling green hills, the slow-moving clouds, the sense of just being in a completely different world…it was all just so untouched. It was a very refreshing break from the touristy side of the island that we were staying at. To be honest, I’d take this over the beaches and waterfalls any day. Definitely going back the next time I’m on the Big Island.
Kahua Ranch opens its doors to the public once a week on Wednesday evenings. Definitely make reservations ahead of time, either through your resort, or by calling directly. They only take a limited number of people so that they can ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. And I thought the crowd was the perfect size. You learn a little bit about the ranch when you first get there (after you’re settled in with wine or beer). John is a great host and will keep you thoroughly entertained before dinner is served (and after). The dinner itself was amazing. It’s served buffet style but I didn’t see anyone going back for seconds, so not sure if it’s an actual buffet. But the food was amazing. The chicken was my favorite—it was so tender the meat was practically falling off the bone. And the accompanying sauce was perfect. The corn was delicious, the mashed potatoes were great, and the steak was delicious as well. You’ll be pretty full afterwards! They’ve got live country music playing during dinner, and the husband/wife duo that played when we were there were fantastic!
The after-dinner activities were just as enjoyable. They’ve got a good mix of everything—line dancing, lasso-ing, a s’mores station, a telescope set-up, and a couple more activities that I can’t remember off the top of my head. You’ll also meet the family pig, the baby goat, and the adorable dog! Overall, it was a very fun and memorable experience. Combined with the amazing scenery, there’s really nothing more you can ask for. This place had me hooked…literally from the moment I stepped out of the car. I can’t wait to come back someday. In the meantime, I can’t recommend this place enough. If you’ve had enough of the beaches and the waterfalls, or if you’re just looking for a very different experience altogether, this is the place to go. Trust me, you’ll never want to leave 🙂