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!
You will be amazed by the incredible cliffs and the stories they hold, but be aware they are often on the move with this seismic country of ours – the area is subject to unpredictable slips and rockfalls and is also in a tsunami risk zone.
The beach was closed by local authorities after a large landslide which injured two independent walkers in January 2019. Along with a comprehensive quantitative risk analysis (QRA) report being completed, ongoing monitoring of the cliffs by geological experts and GBA staff ensures client safety as much as reasonably practicable. The QRA was jointly funded by Hastings District Council and Department of Conservation.
Findings from the QRA:
- The risk levels per trip associated with visiting the gannets are slightly less than those from eruption hazards when walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, without control measures.
- The societal risk from visiting the gannets is slightly lower than people visiting the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
One of the conclusions from the QRA report recommended people wishing to visit Cape Kidnappers along the beach route should ‘take advantage of the local knowledge, and reduced exposure time, by going on an organised tour’.