Amazing Kipu Ranch Views
Antone Teves Co-owner, Kipu Ranch Adventures
Please tell us about your business.
Kipu Ranch Adventures is an ATV and 4×4 touring operation. We tour the historic Kipu Ranch, which is a 3,000-acre, privately-owned cattle ranch located in Kipu. The ranch is loaded with rich history — it was established in 1872. We were blessed with the opportunity by W. H. Hyde Rice Ltd. to be able to run eco-tours on the property, utilizing all of the acreage for visitors around the world and kamaaina. We’ve been doing this since 1999. I have two business partners: Ted Shanks, who was the blacksmith on the property, and Bob Wolff.
How did you get started in this business?
I had moved here from Oahu in 1998 to apprentice with Ted shoeing horses. He was just breaking ground on establishing the trail system on this property through the Rice family. The ranch owners wanted to get into the eco-tourism business and wanted to do it on ATVs because the cattle are accustomed to them. Up until about two years ago, I was still horseshoeing as well, but I stepped down from that in order to own-manage the operation full-time.
What kind of tours do you offer?
We have three tours. The main tour and the one we’ve been doing since we opened is our three-hour “Ultimate Ranch Tour” that goes to the top of the mountain and covers the widest range of viewpoints on the ranch. We also have a four-hour “Waterfall” and lunch tour. Our last and newest tour goes out once a week on Wednesdays and that’s our 4×4, ranch-style “BBQ Tour” where we have a barbecue feast on the property overlooking the mountain range.
Do you have to know how to drive an ATV?
Every day we have people who have never ridden an ATV before, but our tour guides do an excellent job training people about the safety and concerns with operation and the abilities they need to handle them.
What kind of vehicles do you use?
All of our vehicles are Kawasaki and top-of-the-line in their class. We have single-rider Brute Force 4x4i ATVs and Teryx 4 UTVs for two to four riders that can be driven by one of the people in the party or by a guide. Sometimes people may come with the idea they’re going to ride a single ATV, but after seeing the terrain, they’ll decide to jump on one of the side-by-sides. You can choose which one you want and you can always switch out at any moment.
What kind of terrain can people expect?
It’s a mixture of terrain.
The ride starts off on the beautiful pine tree driveway, from there we get on to a main ranch gravel road with about two miles of riding before we get to the trail.
But before we do that, all the tours go to a training hill. So not only do we teach you how to operate the vehicle before you climb aboard, we also teach each guest how to maneuver the vehicle in off-road situations.
What sets your business apart?
Our level of awareness and quality that the tour guides add to the operation. These guys are going above and beyond to make sure people are aware of what they’re doing and that they’re safe while they’re doing it. The history and story that they tell really do the ranch a great justice as far as letting people know the timeline of how the ranch was acquired and how it transitioned from being a sugarcane plantation to a cattle ranch operation.
Would kamaaina appreciate the tours?
Kamaaina love coming out and hearing about the history of the property. Prior to 1999, the ranch was a very private piece of property and very hard to gain access to. A lot of them have actually had family that lived on the ranch at one point when the sugarcane plantation was still in operation. We cover the pasture lands and forest valleys, and we are the only ones allowed on the top of the Haupu mountain range — from there you can overlook Kipu Kai. It’s one of the major scenes in The Descendants, and kamaaina are always anxious to get to that view point because the only way you get to see it is through the tour. We offer a discount of 20 percent to kamaaina.