Cape Kidnappers is an outstanding bird-watching destination, with dramatic coastal views and gannets.

Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui is an extraordinary sandstone headland to the east of Hastings in Hawke's Bay. It was named by Captain Cook after an attempt by local Māori to abduct one of his crew.

The cape is home to the largest and most accessible gannet colony in the world. The 13-hectare privately owned reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies.

Bird watching in Hawke's Bay is a thrilling experience. Get up close to the fascinating gannets with Gannet Safaris Overland tours(opens in new window) or Gannet Beach Adventures. A great activity for families and nature lovers. 

Drive past some of the most ruggedly beautiful coastlines in the country, the spectacular sandstone cliffs are a remarkable sight from the colony and hilltops - just don't get too close to the edge!


Arriving at the gannet colony you'll see up to 25,000 gannets within close distance. Marvel at their 2-metre wingspan, and watch them swooping and diving for fish and feeding their young chicks. Gannets are quirky birds with interesting eye markings, unusual nest styles and a fascinating courtship dance. 

The other major attraction at Cape Kidnappers is the golf course. Designed by American Tom Doak, the course makes the most of the breathtaking natural landscape. The sixth hole is widely regarded to be one of the great golf holes of the world.

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