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The Gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is the world’s largest accessible mainland Gannet Colony in the world. Every year thousands of visitors from New Zealand and around the world come to Hawke's Bay to see these fabulous birds.
I'm not a huge bird enthusiast (which is what I thought you had to be to appreciate it) until I went out there and saw for myself . I was bowled over.
It’s a great activity for the family, nature lovers, or for anyone who wants to enjoy something special.
In peak season (Oct-May) there are up to 25 000 gannets nesting in serried rows carrying out their routine-completely oblivious to the many spectators watching them go about their business. The gannets at the cape are members of the Booby family with distinctive black eye markings and a pale gold crown. Seeing them in flight with their six foot wingspan (2 metres) , swooping and diving for fish is an impressive sight to behold.
Aside from the birds, a trip out to the colony offers some of the most stunning scenery you will find in Hawke’s Bay, if not New Zealand.
If you fancy an overland trip in air conditioned 4x4 then take a trip with Gannet Safaris Overland. Departing from Te Awanga, the tour travels through Cape Kidnappers Station - traversing riverbeds, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breathtaking inclines. There is a stop on the way at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula.
Another popular option to view the Gannets is by taking a family friendly tractor ride with Gannet Beach Adventures. (Don’t worry-the trailer has cushion seats) Travel along the ruggedly beautiful coastline of Cape Kidnappers whilst learning about the geology of the area from one of your fun friendly guides. The tour allows for an hour and a half at the Cape so plenty of time to view the Gannets and enjoy a swim or picnic at the beach.
For the more adventurous, you can self guide out to the Cape but don’t forget to triple check the tide times so you don't get caught at high tide.
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