From September 2004 to May 2010, TV screens exploded with an American drama television series, Lost. Originally aired on ABC, the series ran for six seasons and aired a total of 121 episodes in all, collecting its fair share of loyal fans worldwide.
Lost tells the story of a group of 48 survivors of a commercial jet airliner in the wake of their plane crashing on an unknown, seemingly desolate island around the South Pacific Ocean. The jet airliner had been flying between the cities of Sydney and Los Angeles.
The survivors are compelled to bind together to overcome the unknown threats of the island on which they find themselves stranded on the show.
Lost used elements of science fiction and the supernatural to unfold its plot, which is told in a heavily sequential manner. Each episode has its own primary storyline set on the island and is supported by flashforward or flashback sequences, providing further background into the characters involved.
The hit series was the pioneering TV show of the noughties.
It was created by J.J. Abram, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof, who share the writing credits for the series’ pilot episode directed by Abrams. The show became one of the most expensive to run on television.
Thanks to its large ensemble cast and cost of filming mainly on location in Oahu, Hawaii. The double-length pilot episode alone cost more than $14 million. It had an initial budget of $12 million to cater for the cost of salaries, the airplane set, transportation, and effects.
Lost birthed the big-budget fad, cinematic series with lengthy story curves and a cast of multiple, principal, up-and-coming actors.
The hit series was also praised for its impressive visuals. Lost showcased many beaches and mountains that viewers couldn’t get enough of. Worthy of note, too, was the set designers’ creative adaptation of buildings to depict different countries and cities. Not many places in the world can readily represent a myriad of filming locations.
The locations included California, New York, Iowa, Miami, South Korea, Iraq, United Kingdom, Paris, Thailand, Berlin, Maldives, Australia, Japan, a wilderness, and Nigeria concurrently.
The passengers of the crashed plane may have been lost in the series, but Lost filming locations were primarily spread around and on the picturesque island of Oahu in Hawaii.
Where was the Series Lost Filmed?
1. Oceanic Flight 815’s Crash Site
Viewers’ introduction to the 48 survivors of Lost sees them around the debris of their plane on an island’s beach somewhere between Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles, California.
The filming location of this beach scene and many others in Season 1 took place on Mokuleia Beach on Oahu’s North Shore.
You must travel north from Central Oahu on Highway 99, the Kamehameha Highway, to access this location if driving. Once you get close to Haleiwa town, look out for the signs of Highway 930, the Farrington Highway.
Drive towards the west on the Farrington Highway and also look out for Dillingham Airfield on your left. Mokuleia Beach Park will be on your right. You can’t miss it.
2. The Valley
The Ka’a’awa Valley on Oahu’s Windward Coast stands in as the location for the valley of Lost. It is also the setting where viewers watched about six of the survivors set up camp for the night upon returning from hearing the French woman on a taped broadcast.
The valley is no stranger to the big screen. Other film and television productions – Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, etc. – have used the magnificent Ka’a’awa Valley as a filming location for some of their scenes.
However, it is not a free-for-all site. You need permission from its owners to explore its beauty. Once granted, you can tour the valley from Kualoa ranch on horseback.
Tour guides will entertain you with stories of the local wildlife, the locations, geographical features and allow you to take photos of some of the iconic sites used in Lost.
3. The Rainforest (Close to Turtle Bay Resort)
After witnessing the monster take the pilot from the plane, three of the survivors run off into the jungle, frantically trying to get back to the beach. The jungle they are running through is a tree-covered area near the Turtle Bay Resort. Many other scenes of Lost were filmed at this location too.
Situated close to Oahu’s most northerly point, the Turtle Bay Resort can be approached from Haleiwa on the Kamehameha Highway. It can also be accessed from the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Laie, which lies a mere 10-minute drive away from it.
4. The Banyan Tree
The banyan tree can also be found in the same tree-covered site near the Turtle Bay Resort. This location appeared multiple times in the filming of Lost.
At this spot, Charlie was strung up the tree by his neck by the mysterious Ethan, while Walt was also trapped inside the banyan tree as a giant polar bear loiters outside. Both unpleasant, heart-pumping scenes.
In another film, though, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, this magnificent tree turns from forbidding to cheerful as it was the location of Alan Parrish’s treehouse.
5. Jin’s Proposal to Sun
The scene where Jin proposes to Sun, supposedly outside her father’s house, was filmed at the Byodo-In Temple. It is located in the Valley of the Temples off the Kahekili Highway in Kaneohe.
This is a bypass road where you can travel northward to the shoreline of East Oahu. If you take the Likelike Highway from Honolulu, look out for signs for the Kahekili Highway north.
6. Sydney Airport (The Hawaii Convention Center)
Besides the location where Oceanic Flight 815 takes off on its ill-fated trip to Los Angeles, the Sydney Airport is vital for several scenes in the first season of Lost.
Fortunately, the cast and crew didn’t have to travel all the way to the land Down Under. The Hawaii Convention Center was a beautiful stand-in for the Sydney Airport.
It has a glass-front center, glass-encased meeting rooms, a tropical rooftop garden, and an outdoor space lined with enormous palm trees.
The Hawaii Convention Center can be found at 1801 Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu, quite close to the border of Honolulu and Waikiki.
7. Jack’s Wedding
For this scene to occur, a backstory about Jack and Sara unfolded – how he saved her life, how they fall in love and plan to marry. But it leaves some questions unanswered. Do they actually become husband and wife? What happened to Sara? Why doesn’t Jack talk about her on the island? And where is his wedding ring?
The world-famous Kahala Hotel & Resort was the location of their wedding. The wedding scene itself was filmed at the wedding gazebo on the east end of the resort, close to the shoreline.
8. Hurley’s Golf Course
To help pass the time on the island, the survivors created their own golf course. The location of Hurley’s golf course was the magnificent Ka’a’awa Valley in Kualoa Ranch.
The area also appeared as the location of the stampede scene in Jurassic Park and the ancient boneyard of Kong: Skull Island.
9. Hurley’s Mother’s House
Hurley wins the lottery and surprises his mother by buying her a new house. The surprise turns disastrous when the house bursts into flames before him.
For Hurley’s mother’s new house, the cast filmed on location in the Kahala neighborhood of Oahu, just east of Diamond Head. The vicinity is known for some of the most luxurious houses on the island.
10. The Beach Camp
Rumour has it that when Lost became an overnight success in the early 2000s, the original beach located at Mokuleia witnessed a deluge of the series’ fans.
It became imperative to relocate the camp to another location, preferably one more secluded.
Police Beach or Papailoa Beach is east of Haleiwa off the Kamehameha Highway and became the second beach camp where many thrilling scenes of Lost were filmed.
To reach Police Beach, you have to go through a small parking area at the end of Papailoa Road and take a narrow public path to the beach. Then you make a left turn on the beach and hike for about 15-20 minutes to the set location.
11. The Nigerian Village
The second season of Lost saw Mr. Eko’s character join the cast of the series.
In a flashback, viewers see his backstory about growing up in a small Nigerian village with his younger brother, Yemi. Their brush and involvement with a gang of guerrillas and the subsequent divergent paths they both follow in life – Mr. Eko becomes the leader of the guerrillas and a drug lord while Yemi takes priestly vows. Yemi’s tragic end is also shown.
Scenes were filmed of a Nigerian village on location at the former Waialua Sugar Mill in the town of Waialua near Oahu’s North Shore.
12. Dharma Initiative Processing Centre
The Assembly Hall for YMCA Camp Erdman is the location for the Dharma Processing Centre. It is situated near Mokuleia Beach on Oahu’s North Shore.
No other filming location of the series, Lost, is as popular as the Barracks (or the village of the Others, as it was referred to), where the Dharma Initiative called home on the island.
If you plan to visit this Lost location, please be informed that the YMCA Camp is private property. You need permission to explore it, and a little donation to its cause will go a long way in making that happen.
Other Lost Filming Locations:
- The monster’s home: A view seen if looking inland from Mokuleia Beach
- Pond and Waterfall where Hurley & Kate Land from their Ajira Flight 316: Waimea Valley, a sacred place of Native Hawaiian history spanning 1,875 acres of landmass.