- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Cape Kidnappers Review
This outstanding geological feature was named by Captain James Cook after local Maori tried to kidnap the servant of Cook's Tahitian interpreter. The cape is the site of a large gannet colony. The gannet is a large white seabird with black-tipped flight feathers, a golden crown, and a wingspan that can reach 6 feet. When the birds find a shoal of fish, they fold their wings and plunge straight into the sea at tremendous speed. Their migratory pattern ranges from western Australia to the Chatham Islands, about 800 km (500 mi) east of Christchurch, but they generally nest only on remote islands. The colony at Cape Kidnappers is believed to be the only mainland gannet sanctuary in existence. Between October and March, about 15,000 gannets build their nests here, hatch their young, and prepare them for their long migratory flight.
You can walk to the sanctuary along the beach from Clifton, which is about 24 km (15 mi) south of Napier, but not at high tide. The 8-km (5-mi) walk must begin no earlier than three hours after the high-tide mark, and the return journey must begin no later than four hours before the next high tide. Tidal information is available at Clifton and at Napier Visitor Information Centre. A rest hut with refreshments is near the colony.
Gannet Safaris. If tides prevent the trip along the beach the only other access is across private farmland. A four-wheel-drive bus runs to Cape Kidnappers from Summerlee Station, just past Te Awanga. A four-person minimum is required for this three-hour tour (NZ$65 each). Advance booking is essential for all gannet colony tours. Both pick up by shuttle at an additional cost. Tours operate September to April
Gannet Beach Adventures. One easy way to get to the colony is to take a tractor-trailer, which is pulled along the beach starting from Clifton Reserve, Clifton Beach. Tractors depart approximately two hours before low tide, and the trip (NZ$39-$50)—with pick-ups from Napier, Hastings, and Havelock North—takes 4-4½ hours Tours run daily October-late April 06/875-0898. www.gannets.com.
- Phone: 06/875-0888
- Location: Hawke's Bay
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $1120* & up -- New Zealand in 'Fall' from West Coast, R/T Air New Zealand
We have just returned from two weeks in the land of the long white cloud although we only saw cloud on two days and rain on one!
We spent a week in the Bay of Islands with the highlight being sailing i Read more
Hi, all -- since I find other people's trip reports so helpful I've decided to post one of mine. Read more
As some of you may have noticed there's a "minor" cricket series coming up between Australia and England in Dec '13/Jan '14, which both DH and i would love to see some of; he would also like to do some Read more
· News & Features
A New York City judge has ruled against the use of apartments for "transient tenants," which includes... Read more
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of what we like to call "weekend getaway season."... Read more
Wineries have a very obvious main draw.... Read more