Like any Hollywood actor, Hawaii has played many different characters onscreen. We’ve seen it play a prehistoric world in Kong: Skull Island (2017), alien jungle planets in Avatar (2009) and Predators (2010), and even itself in The Descendants (2011). And in 2017, it was chosen to play the world of “Jumanji”. In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the titular fictional jungle – which isn’t even seen in the original 1995 film – is finally realized, so now there are many Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle filming locations that you can visit, and you don’t even need to roll a dice to see them!
The original film sees the late Robin Williams battle the board game in New England, but the action-packed comedy sequel takes place inside Jumanji. It stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart, as four in-game avatars, each controlled by real-world teenagers. This time, the game makes itself more appealing to teenagers – and perhaps modern audiences, too – by transforming into a video game console. To escape the game with their lives (because video game characters have only so many), these unlikely heroes must see their adventure through to the end, before calling out “Jumanji”.
So, if you want to behold the wonder of Jumanji yourself without being sucked into a deadly game, here are the most mystical Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle filming locations.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Filming Locations
1. Kawainui Falls – Pepeekeo, Big Island
In a scene not unlike one in Predators that sees the characters jump from the top of a thundering waterfall in an attempt to outrun their pursuers, our Jumanji heroes do the exact same thing. But there’s another reason why this scene might look so familiar – it’s actually the same waterfall used in the 2010 sci-fi film! Kawainui Falls can be found near Pepeekeo, just north of Hilo, and while they are exaggerated to look much taller onscreen, in reality they’re no less spellbinding and majestic. But unless you’re actually The Rock, jumping is hugely discouraged.
2. Kualoa Ranch – Kaneohe, Oahu
Speaking of the musclebound movie star, Kualoa Ranch has probably appeared in as many films as he has, but in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the lush green landscape of Jurassic Valley shares the screen. While often enhanced with CGI, the valley is seen countless times in the film, from the recurring “Jaguar Statue” – Jumanji’s centerpiece – to the helicopter hangar scene. One scene in particular, in which bikers give chase to our heroes, takes place on the same hill as the dinosaur stampede in Jurassic Park. Hit “play” with the Premier Movie Sites Tour and visit this iconic Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle filming location.
3. Kawela Bay – Ko’olauloa District, Oahu
At the tip of Oahu’s North Shore, one of Kawela Bay’s sandy and secluded beaches served the opening shot in which teenager Alex discovers the Jumanji board game half-buried in the sand. The area’s popular Banyan tree (also seen in TV Series Lost) can be seen later in the film, too, when the heroes – along with Alex in avatar-form (Nick Jonas) – pay reference to Robin Williams’ character when they’re hiding out in his makeshift jungle house. Just a short walk west of Turtle Bay Resort (where Soul Surfer was partly filmed), Kawela Bay offers epic coastal views. But if you hear any drum-like sounds here, it’s best to just keep walking…
4. Waimea Valley – Haleiwa, Oahu
Besides Kawela Bay’s Banyan tree and Kualoa Ranch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle shares another filming location with TV Series Lost. A number of jungle scenes were filmed at the Waimea Valley Audubon Center, just southwest of Kawela Bay along Oahu’s North Shore, including a scene where a character is eaten by a hippo. This site might not feature ancient jungle ruins, but there are settlements of cultural and historical significance here, as well as gorgeous botanical gardens. There’s also a short trail to Waimea Falls where you can enjoy a tranquil swim without worrying about hungry hippos (no, not the board game).
5. The Judd Trail – Nu’uanu Valley, Oahu
Perhaps Waimea Valley’s riverside forests didn’t prove enough in the end, as Nu’uanu Valley’s Judd Trail was also chosen to serve jungle scenes (after all, there are many of them – the clue’s in the film’s title). On this hiking trail, you won’t need to worry about monstrous rhinos and evil jaguars – instead, you’ll enjoy deep forest trails, sparkling streams and serene rock pools, all of which make this area a “Jumanji” in its own right. But when hiking anywhere in Hawaii, even along the most seemingly-modest of trails, always be prepared, because calling out the word “Jumanji” won’t help you in the real world!
6. Kapena Falls – Alapena Pool, Oahu
Oddly enough, this film isn’t the first time Dwayne Johnson “welcomed” audiences “to the jungle”. He starred in a 2003 film also titled Welcome to the Jungle (known as The Rundown in the U.S.). This was shot in Hawaii, too, on both Kauai and Oahu. One Oahu location in that film was Alapena Pool, which just so happens to be yet another Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle filming location. And there’s no surprise as to why this area was chosen, seeing as it’s so thick with jungle that it looks like it’s a million miles from civilization. Luckily it’s not, though, as it’s located just off the Pali Highway a few miles south of the Judd Trail.
Jumanji‘s jungle roots can be traced all the way back to 1981, when Chris Van Allsburg wrote and illustrated children’s picture book Jumanji. In 2002, he created follow-up-of-sorts Zathura: A Space Adventure, which also became a film, technically making Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle the third – and not second – in the series. In fact, following the 2017 film’s success, another sequel is now set for 2019. Whether or not it will return to Hawaii is unknown, but Hawaii does continue to serve the likes of the Jurassic World films decades after the originals, so it’s very likely. Either way, it’s far from “game over” for Jumanji…
Dan is a freelance writer from the UK who works for a number of online publications. He’s also working on a science fiction novel, and believes the impression Jurassic Park made on him as a child – both the Spielberg film and the book by Michael Crichton – to be the source of his passion to write. He previously critiqued theatrical releases for his local radio station, while his blog ‘Curious Rookie’ remains his platform for sharing film, travel and book reviews. Dan has also visited some of the most iconic film locations around the world, and his favorite destination is the island of Kauai in Hawaii.