Meet the Australasian Gannets

There is so many places which worth to see on North Island of New Zealand. Some places are definitely ‘must see’ matters like Tongariro National Park, Cape Reinga, Rotorua, Coromandel Peninsula etc. But some places are hidden gems which are often overlooked by many travelers.
Although many may call Hawke’s Bay a “black hole” in-between the tourist attraction interest, there are few special places in this region and especially one deserves to be noticed.
It is Cape Kidnappers.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers is important place among the Australasian gannet colonies in New Zealand. Gannets are large seabirds with very distinctive shapes and colors. They have white body and black tips of wings, yellow-colored heads and pale-blue eyes. Youngsters are usually mottled-gray, very friendly and curious about humans.
Adult Australasian gannets are exceptional flyers and very capable fishers. They plunge into ocean at high-speed able to dive even few metres under water to catch mostly squids or forage fish.

From the history Cape Kidnappers has been named by Captain Cook after local Maori attempted to abduct one of his crew.

At the end of nice coastal track you will have the wonderful chance to see a colony of more than 6500 gannets with the breath-taking scenery of cliffs behind.
And there’s more – you can even approach gannets, if you come closer to the little protective fence, some of the young birds are so curious they come very close to you to greet you.


It lies only 20km south-east from the city of Napier and condition of your visit is influenced by the mother nature because you can get there only during the low tide. During high tide it’s not crossable because the beach is main access to this special place.
You must check the low tide times which are everyday different prior to your trip. You can check it on the link provided below, but also on the table on starting place of the track. Don’t forget to count with approximate 8 hours walking time together.
Cape Kidnappers tide table

Once again I appeal to you that it is very important to manage your time with the low tide, because according to the New Zealand reports people often got stuck there and must have been rescued.
About in the half of the way there we saw a small beach shed built from the pieces of wood which probably serves as an emergency shelter for those who didn’t count very well.

Track distance is 18 kilometres there and back, but believe me, worth it! There is another way to see this place by the tractor or trailer with the agency, so if you are not able to walk so much you can pay for the ride. We prefer to walk because it’s healthy, free and you can see and feel more during the way.

The walk itself is very pleasurable as you are walking on the soft sandy beach among the cliffs on your right and calm pacific ocean with interesting rocks erected from water on your left.
As you coming closer, you can be a witness to first nesting gannet’s families on the rocks.




It was a bit challenging to make 18km track on our only day off during the very physically demanding work on the apple orchard. Our feet has been massively bruised but we’ve been happy from this little adventure. Good walking boots are recommended even if you walk mainly on the beach…but you walk a lot.
These short one-day trips are ideal for getting in shape for the bigger adventures like Tongariro crossing or other more advanced tracks.



© 2015 Independent Couple


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