Area

The Area

Cape Kidnappers is situated at the eastern tip of the province of Hawke’s Bay – famous for its Mediterranean-like climate of long hot summers and mild sunny winters, outstanding natural environment and some of New Zealand’s best food & wine.

Maori legend tells us that Cape Kidnappers is the fish hook of Maui, who pulled the North Island from the sea. The area is known as “Te Matau A Maui”.

In 1769 it was named “Cape Kidnappers” by Captain James Cook, the famous English explorer, when local Maori attempted to kidnap his ships interpreters’ son, a young Tahitian boy.

Gannet Beach Adventures
Gannet Beach Adventures
Gannet Beach Adventures

The Geology

Four million years in four hours …

The stretch of coastline from Clifton to Cape Kidnappers is an area of fascinating geological history, dating back around 300,000 years at Clifton to approx. 4.5 million years at the Cape, which is visible in the dramatic cliff faces that line the beach along which we travel. In places the cliffs tower above us, and the different layers of sedimentary material is easy to see – looking back along the beach as we travel shows how the land has slumped from tectonic movement.

View ancient earthquake faultlines, fossils, gullies formed by wind & water – you don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy this!

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Department of Conservation Reserve

The Department of Conservation (DOC) Reserve encompasses 13 hectares and is situated at the far end of the beach.

The rest shelter is well equipped with toilets, drinking water and picnic tables located under shady trees. Also provided are interpretation boards on the area and gannets. We are the only DOC Concessionaire operating in the area, and a percentage of each fare is paid to DOC for the preservation of New Zealand’s natural assets.

DOC have awarded Cape Kidnappers its prestigious “Icon destination” status – one of only two sites in Hawke’s Bay to be given this accolade. This proves what we already knew, that the area is a true treasure and one of significant scenic and natural beauty – which makes it a “must see” on anyone’s destination list!

NB: “Pack in – pack out” – there are no rubbish bins at the Reserve so all rubbish needs to be taken home. Please ask at our ticket office for a degradable bag.

Cape Sanctuary

The Cape Sanctuary is located on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula.

It runs over several working farm stations and includes the famous Cape Kidnappers Golf Course.  It was established in 2006 and covers an area of 2,500 hectares.  The predator fence (the end of which can be seen from the beach) travels down to Ocean Beach to the south of Cape Kidnappers, covering a distance of 10.5km.  Along with bait stations & traps, this fence helps keep predators to a minimum within the Sanctuary.

The staff and volunteers are doing an amazing job of successfully reintroducing both forest & sea birdlife here – including kiwi and tuatara – which once would have roamed the area in abundance.