Cape Kidnappers- Gannet Colony Walk

Cape Kidnappers is the head land of a peninsula on the east coast of the Hawkes Bay province.

It was named by the discoverer Captain James Cook, after one of his crew members was kidnapped by members of a local Maori tribe.

The main attraction of Cape Kidnappers is the gannet colony, which is the biggest land based colony in the world.

There are 3 ways to get there: Over land in a mini bus; along the beach, sitting on a trailer, pulled by an ancient tractor, or walk along the beach.

The walk is about 8km (5miles) long, one way, The return trip takes about 5 hours to complete. The walk starts at the Clifton Motor Camp. The distance from Napier to Clifton via Haumoana is about 23km (14miles) and from Hastings about 20km (12miles).

It is recommended to leave about 3 hours after high tide and return from the Cape 1.5 hours, at the latest, after low tideĀ  (click here for the local tide times)

The walk follows a sandy beach, which is completely submerged during high tide. On the way out to the cape, the ocean is on the left side. On your right you see spectacular cliffs up to 120m (400ft) high. You can clearly see all the different layers of sediment that have formed over the last 23 million years.

The best time of the year for a visit to Cape Kidnappers is from November until March. That’s the time the gannets are nesting.