Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay
When saying we were going to Napier, everyone told us to go to Cape Kidnappers. There was two different reasons why. The first one was that you could drive on the beach and the second one was that Cape Kidnappers is a reserve for birds.
In reality, Cape Kidnappers is a reserve for the Australian Gannets. It is located in Hawke’s Bay 20 km away from Napier. It was name after Captain Cook in 1769. The story tells that one of the crew member of Cook’s boat was victim of an attempt of kidnapping there.
We arrived at Cape Kidnappers around 3PM on the Saturday, confident we would go for two hours top to see the birds. Mistake! When we arrived, we had not much informations about where we should go to see the birds. It was not really explained in the only guide we had (I forgot all the others at home) so we asked around two fishermen.
Unfortunately, if you want to go to Cape Kidnappers, you will have to take care of the tides. If the tide is high, you won’t be able to go because the path on the beach will be covered with water. They also told us that the walk was actually a two hours and a half one way and same for the way back.
We were clearly unprepared for that.
So we went to Nelson and stopped at the Information office. Here are the few things to know if you want to go to Cape Kidnappers:
– Watch the tides. At the Information center they tell you the times where you can start the walk at the earliest and latest and the times you have to start the walk back at the latest.
– You can do a beach truck tour that will bring you to the birds more quickly (you will stay longer there, we left at the same time as them and went back at the same time). Here is a link to one, but we haven’t done it. http://www.gannets.com/
– We saw a few quads on the beach too. Maybe they were touristic too, I am not sure.
– You can also rent fat bikes
– We saw some personal 4WD on the beach but you need to have very high wheels I think. Some parts were quite tricky, even totally in water and we were at low tide.
– There is only one road to get there. You have to go along the beach.
– The walk doesn’t stop to the first Gannets settlement you see. If you go further, there is a bigger one and then there is a 30 minutes hike to get on top of the hill to have an amazing view.
I would also advise you to get a rain coat in your bag if you can, even if it is really sunny when you start your walk.
We went back on the Sunday right at the time where the tide could allow us to start walking.
It was really sunny and really hot. We had already done a hike under the sun right before and were ready for a nice little walk along the beach.
AH. The walk was so long. With the midday sun hitting us hard, it was challenging. The weather was so beautiful and the coast line too. The water was a clear green / turquoise as it is very often the case here.
The only thing that it made me want to do was swim to the Cape. That was before I saw them: Jellyfishes. Everywhere. Everywhere. They didn’t seem dangerous because they were only the round part of them, but they were so big and everywhere that I had a doubt.
The whole way to the Cape is a mix of geological elements. You walk down those huge cliffs where you can see different layers of rocks. Same goes on the ground. You walk on sand and suddenly you are on a green rock. I have never really liked geology at school but I am really regretting not having more interest in it. I guess if I did, I would have enjoyed New Zealand even more. Between earthquakes and volcanoes, the landscape is changing quite quickly and often. This is the perfect place to study it.
As we were still walking toward the Cape, the weather changed drastically in a few minutes. The sky turned dark, the water turned gray and the sun was nowhere to be seen anymore.
It took us two hours to get to the Gannets first settlement. We thought we arrived to the main point but there was a bigger one a bit further.
Even though the tide was low, you had to walk in quite a big amount of water (up the knees) or to climb a sharp small rock.
You can go all the way up there
The birds were really funny to watch because there was a mix of sea-gales, Gannets and other small birds and they were fighting over food.
If you don’t like birds, it is still a nice walk to do. You don’t even have to go until the end.
Have you done it? What did you think?