Where Was Lost Filmed?

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For many, Lost was the seminal television show of the 2000s. It kick started the trend for big budget, cinematic series with long story arcs and an ensemble cast of rising stars. The double-length pilot episode alone had a budget of $12 million – more than the cost of most television series in total – split between the enormous cost of the airplane set, transportation, salaries and effects. While the show’s popularity began to dip around the middle of its run, there is no denying the lasting effects it has had on those who watched it.

One of the main reasons Lost was praised were the stunning island visuals. Filmed on and around the beautiful Hawaiian island of Oahu, the talented set designers were able to make use of the many mountains and beaches, as well as adapting local buildings to stand in for different cities and countries in the exciting flashback and flashforward scenes that became the show’s trademarks.

It’s easy to see why the islands of Hawaii are so often used for filming locations. There aren’t many places on Earth that would stand in simultaneously for Japan, Nigeria, American and a jungle wilderness. And it is only fitting that somewhere so capable of inspiring the imagination, became host to one of the most watched television series of this century.

Papailoa Beach
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After leaving the site of the plane crash, the islanders set up a beach camp, erecting makeshift shelters using whatever supplies they have been able to scavenge from the wreckage. This became the main location used for the first few series. The beach used from season 2 is not the same as the crash site, because thousands of tourists would visit the area, trying to get a glimpse of the filming. Papailoa beach is private property and roped off to prevent people gaining access. But you can still take photographs and imagine you are watching the survivors building their ill-fated rafts. - Map

Camp Erdman
Camp Erdman
After discovering that the survivors we’d been rooting for weren’t alone on the island, we were introduced to the Others’ Camp. In season 3 it is home to Ben and his followers, in season 5 (and in the dated film reels found in the hatch) it is the headquarters of the Dharma Initiative and home to the workers in the 1970s, including Kate and Sawyer when they travel back in time.
When the idea of the Others was original devised, they were supposed to be feral jungle dwellers. This then developed into them using that as a disguise to hide their true, technologically developed nature. If it hadn’t, this beautiful set would never have graced our screens. The buildings in the compound look totally plain and innocuous, which made a stark contrast to the purposes they were used for. In reality, they are all part of Camp Erdman, a YMCA camp on the north shore of Oahu. They are still in use today, with groups of children staying in the same bunkhouses as the early Dharma recruits. If you fancy a tour of the facilities, a small donation will buy you an all-access pass to wander as you please.
Image courtesy of Anthony Quintano - Map

Kualoa Ranch and the Ka’a’awa Valley
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Home to so many iconic locations, not just in Lost, but a multitude of other films and television series have been filmed in the Ka’a’awa Valley too. It made its first appearance as the campsite in season 1 episode 3, where the survivors rest after hearing Rousseau’s recording. Later on the spectacular mountains that line each side of the valley became the backdrop for the golf course. Providing a much needed moment of comedy to relieve the building tension, only Hurley could have devised such a plan. Often viewed as the group’s comic relief, the darker side of Hurley’s history was slowly revealed through his flashbacks, and the numbers he played in the lottery are littered throughout the show. While most people believe that some numbers are luckier than others, rarely do they find them so intertwined with their fate. Image courtesy of Jai Mansson - Map

You can take a tour of the filming locations from the ranch and this is something that is well worth doing, if you have a spare few hours. Tour guides will mix facts about the local wildlife and geographical features, with stories of the locations, and let you out to pose at some of the more iconic spots used in Lost and movies such as Jurassic World.

The Banyan Tree
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Situated in Kawela Bay (Kahuku), the massive banyan tree is truly breath-taking to behold. It provided the stage for one of the show’s early shockers, with the dark jungle backdrop providing the perfect place for the mysterious Ethan to break our hearts by trying to dispose of lovable rogue Charlie.
In a different light though, the spectacular tree turns from menacing to playful – it was used as the site of Alan Parrish’s treehouse in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Image courtesy of Robert Linsdell - Map

Valley of the Temples
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Because of the show’s reliance on flashbacks/flashforwards to further the story, the showrunners had to find an abundance of locations to stand in for other countries and other times. One of the most beautiful flashbacks came in episode 1 season 6 where we watch Sun and Jin’s romance unfold – a set of scenes that is all the more touching because the couple are frequently shown arguing with each other. The scene where Jin proposes, having obtained permission from his soon-to-be father-in-law, wasn’t filmed in Korea, but just across the island at the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple. It was then used again for the actual wedding scenes.
Image courtesy of Roger Gerbig - Map

Mr Eko’s Nigerian Village
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Another foreign flashback that was actually filmed in Hawaii, the site of the former Waialua Sugar Mill on the north shore was dressed up to double as the poor Nigerian village where Mr Eko’s brother had his church and Eko himself was recruited by the guerrilla war lords.
Image courtesy of Google Maps

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