Gannet Beach Adventures tractor excursion to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony © davidwallphoto.com

Cape Kidnappers’ Gannet Colony: the exhilarating sight and sound of 20,000 gannets


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Some things harness and then reflect significant power over the visitor because of their singular majesty: mountains, iconic buildings, Tane Mahuta.

Others impress by their sheer compression of large numbers into a restricted space. The gannet colony at the stunning Cape Kidnappers certainly falls into the latter category.

These garrulous seabirds normally nest on islands, but since the 1870s, they have called a spot atop these towering cliffs ‘home’ — from September to late April, before they head off for warmer climes.

So if you want to see all 20,000 in one spot, the little gannets (ganettes? Just a thought . . .) hatch in late November, so from then until February is the best time to catch their cry.

There’s a fab 8-km walk to the white cliffs along Clifton Beach — you have to time it with the tides but there’s plenty of signage to help with that.

Kinda cooler, though, is to hook up with a local operator and bounce along on an old John Deere; ‘tractoring in to see the gannets’ you’ll insta and snapchat, excitedly, to which there is no easy nor obvious response.

The ride itself is wondrous, along the beach, across prime Hawke’s Bay farmland, along the cliffs. Indeed, you’ll be atop those barren cliffs and within feet of the immense sound and presence of the birds before you can say anything much at all.
It’s the largest mainland gannet colony in the world and it’s mind-blowing. It’s an amazing press of feathers and bobbing heads, and the views across the landscape are pretty panoramic too. This is a wild wildlife experience of which there is no equivalent. It doesn’t get better than ‘unique’ now, does it?


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Out and about

Hawke’s Bay: in search of the good life

Writer Tracey Wogan and her family are stoked to have escaped the urban rat race and currently revel in Hawke’s Bay, a place that isn’t on the way to anywhere and requires deliberate choice to discover its delights.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Cape Kidnappers: majestic gannets and more

Captain Cook had plenty to say in his log about Cape Kidnappers, the southern headland of Hawke’s Bay. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Larnach Castle: a vision of past and present

If you missed Larnach Castle on your trip out to wing it with the albatrosses, you must have been on Facebook. It stands proud and bold on the highest point of the entire Otago Peninsula. Read the story . . . 

Hawke's Bay Region Where to stay in

Hawkes Bay Holiday Park

We are in walking distance from the fantastic Crab Farm Winery for which we have a reserved table for our guests who wish to dine there on Friday even . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

9 /10
From $99
9 /10
Best Price Around
Albatross Motel

The Albatross Motel scored 9.5/10 in Target TV's hidden camera trial . Offering 35 units,studios, deluxe studio units and 1 and 2-bedroom family units . . . More . . . 

From $99

Book now

Book now

Wairoa Motel

Welcome to Wairoa Motel, situated in a quiet area set well back from the main road, yet only a 5-minute walk from the main street of town, the Wairoa  . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

10 /10
From $99
10 /10
Westshore Beach Inn

Easy stop on the Road!! Feel secure & valued by staying in Westshore Beach Inn by Choice Hotels!!Just 50 metres from the beach and the start of the lo . . . More . . . 

From $99