Our unique, fun eco-experience tour involves travel with local experienced guides by vintage tractors and trailers on a comfortable four-hour adventure to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world! Established in 1952, Gannet Beach Adventures has a long history of providing tours on a spectacular stretch of the Hawke’s Bay coastline, from Clifton to Cape Kidnappers.
Departing on the days’ low tide, visitors travel by tractor and trailer along the majestically rugged coastline – 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, and the beach track can be subject to slips and rockfalls. Photographic opportunities abound as geological stops are made throughout the journey giving visitors an insight into how nature’s forces have shaped this amazing area.
Travelling through the Black Reef colony (one of two colonies we visit) visitors can almost touch the gannets in their natural environment, without even stepping off the trailer. It was at this site in 1769 local Maori kidnapped a crew member off Captain Cook’s ship The Endeavour, the incident from which Cape Kidnappers gets its name.
Continuing onto the Cape itself, an approximate 90 minute break enables visitors ample time to picnic, swim, or enjoy a scenic walk to the Plateau colony. Stunning views across Hawke’s Bay from the top of the Cape grace many a visitor’s photo album. The Saddle & Whalebone Reef colonies can also be viewed from here (but are inaccessible to the public).
Depending on the time of the season, visitors can witness new-born chicks, through to 4-month old gannets preparing for their first ever flight, which will take them all the way to Australian waters.
Top Tour Tips:
- Daily departures from late September/early October to late April; departure times vary daily due to tides (check our schedule)
- Tours are approximately 4hrs duration. Black Reef tours are around 2.5-3hrs duration.
- Always come prepared for the conditions. Bring: warm clothing (and wet-weather gear if necessary), hats, sunscreen, togs & towel, plenty of food & drink, wear suitable walking shoes with reasonable grip
- Be prepared for a bit of a climb to get to the main colony at the top, it’s a bit steep in places, so a moderate level of fitness is needed. However, you can choose to remain at the picnic area which is an easy walk from the beach, and enjoy the views and surroundings there.
- Don’t forget your camera (but remember we are near water)!