Cape Kidnappers Walking Track

5 hrs (return)

19 km

Highlights

  • NZ's largest mainland gannet colony
  • Dramatic coastal views
  • Beach walk

Proximity

GRADE: EASY

This walk is only accessible at low tide. Early November to late February is the best time for gannets.

You are here

Discover panoramic coastal views, towering stratified cliff faces and Australasia's largest mainland gannet colony on this enjoyable beach walk.

Hawke's Bay
Gannets, Hawke's Bay

By Discover the World

Hawke's Bay
Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, Hawke's Bay

By Cape Kidnappers

Hawke's Bay
Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

By Tourism Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay
Cape Kidnappers Sunrise, Hawke's Bay

By Cape Kidnappers

At low tide, follow the beach all the way to the Cape to see the gannet colony up close.

Along the way you will pass dramatic stratified rock beds and fault lines that underlie coastal Hawke’s Bay. The towering cliffs are made up of sandstone, conglomerate, mudstone, river gravel, pumice and silt, as well as glimpses of petrified wood and lignite. Fossilised shells can be seen in the sandstone near Black Reef. 

Black Reef, the first nesting site, is located on large sandstone rocks at the inshore end of the reef. Just beyond Black Reef, the track leaves the beach and continues up to a shelter with picnic tables, water and toilets, where you can take a break.

For more gannets walk down to the Plateau colony, a benched area on the hill with spectacular views across the Hawke's Bay region.

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Department of Conservation

Click the link below for more information and detailed maps about this hike.

Cape Kidnappers Walking Track

More information

Need to know

The walk to Cape Kidnappers is only accessible at low tide.

  • Leave Clifton no sooner than 3 hours after high tide.
  • Depart the Cape no later than 1 hour and 30 minutes after low tide. 

Occasionally, high tides and big seas block access along the beach. Rest or picnic away from the cliffs as slips can occur.

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