The Descendants

Matt King (George Clooney) comes face to face with his wife’s lover for the first time while running along Hanalei Bay, a crescent of unspoiled palm-lined beaches flanked by emerald-green mountains. Recreate his scenic jog along the shore (celebrity sightings are not guaranteed) before heading back to the St. Regis Princeville Resort, the luxe lodging where Clooney’s character stays with his daughters in the Academy Award-winning flick. The jaw-dropping views of both the coast and Makana Mountain, which can be ogled from the windows of most guest rooms, are even better in real life. For a taste of the island’s spirit and to mingle with the locals, grab lunch and a mai tai at Tahiti Nui, the rustic diner in the tiny town of Hanalei, where Clooney meets his cousin.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Makana Mountain on Kauai’s North Shore is sometimes referred to as Bali Hai, the name of the mystical island in the classic flick South Pacific. The rugged peak towers over the bay near Ke’e Beach in Ha’ena State Park. Today that stretch of golden sand is perhaps better known for the scene where the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) takes a sunset stroll at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Before diving in, ask a lifeguard if it’s safe as the current on North Shore beaches is much stronger than on its southern counterparts, especially during the winter months. For those who prefer to admire at a distance, the nearby Limahuli Garden and Preserve offers panoramic ocean views, complete with seasonal whale sightings. Sea monsters, however, like those in the film, have yet to be spotted.

Six Days, Seven Nights

In this romance-adventure flick, a grouchy, middle-aged pilot (Harrison Ford) crash-lands his airplane on an unknown island in the South Pacific with New York City editor Anne Heche aboard. (Spoiler: Love blossoms in the deserted setting.) The scene was shot on Papaa Bay Beach on the northeast coast of Kauai, a secluded bay with a turquoise lagoon. The charming spot is worth exploring with someone special – if you can manage the 10-minute trek across a steep hill, through shrubs and over rocks required to access it. Before its impromptu landing, Ford’s airplane flies over Waimea Canyon, a rainbow-hued gorge, which is best reached from the lookouts along Waimea Canyon Drive on Kauai’s west coast. Hike it or take the easier route and join a tour, offered by Gray Line or Roberts Hawaii.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Ford was already familiar with Hawaii’s lushest island when he filmed Six Days, Seven Nights. More than a decade earlier, he had escaped South American headhunters by swinging from a rope over the Huleia River as Indiana Jones in the classic adventure flick Raiders of the Lost Ark. Try it for yourself – swinging from a rope, that is, not eluding headhunters –by signing up for a half-day kayak excursion down the Huleia with Outfitters Kauai, which also includes hikes through lush jungle trails.

Jurassic Park

Much of the action in Jurassic Park was filmed in the Hanapepe Valley, inland from Hanapepe town on Kauai's southwest coast. A helicopter tour is the best way to glimpse Kauai's Eden-like, rainforest-filled interior. Adventure junkies can get a high from the Island Helicopters tour, which actually lands on the waterfall at the Manawaiopuna Falls, the setting for the opening scene. At nearby Allerton Garden, paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) discovers raptor eggs hidden among the curving roots of the Moreton Bay fig tree. Though you’re unlikely to find any baby dinosaurs hidden in the botanical garden, there’s plenty to keep you mesmerized during the guided walking tour, including enormous torch gingers – the leaf stalks of this ornamental flower can exceed 4½ metres in height – and the waxy Siam rose.

Do-it-yourself

Roberts Hawaii offers a six-hour movie tour of the island, during which you’ll be treated to snippets of flicks while transiting to the iconic locations where they were shot.

 

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Getting There

Air Canada is the only Carrier offering Executive class service between Canada and Hawaii with service from Vancouver to Honolulu on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and service from Vancouver to Maui on Saturdays.

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