Simply once I suppose I’ve seen all of it, New Zealand continues to please and shock me.
Whereas I’ve explored so many far reaching places on this superbly nation I’m privileged sufficient to name house, there are some areas that I’ve but to get to, just like the Hawke’s Bay. On the east coast of the North Island, I simply haven’t discovered the time but to make it up there, till now. The land of artwork deco and scrumptious wine, to not point out a spot the place loads of my kiwi mates are initially from, I’m not fairly certain how I held off visiting for therefore lengthy. Did I point out wine?
Man oh man, what have I been lacking out on!
This summer season I’ve been decided to examine off among the areas I’ve been dreaming about and do among the lesser-known New Zealand walks and hikes, and I’d been dying to stand up to see the well-known gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers within the Hawke’s Bay, and it was nice to test it out with some outdated and new mates from DOC, together with park ranger Crystal Brindle (critically – take a look at right here Instagram!)
Truthfully guys, this is likely one of the most unusual day hikes in New Zealand I’ve finished but!
Ever heard of a gannet? Don’t fear in case you haven’t. A particular and distinctive hen, Cape Kidnappers within the Hawke’s Bay is house to the biggest mainland Australasian gannet colony ON EARTH with about 6,500 pairs nesting right here. Fairly cool, proper?
Gannets belong to the booby household – no laughing. They’re lovely and large, with a 2 meter wingspan. White, with yellow heads, a neon inexperienced stripe on their ft and essentially the most piercing blue eyes, eyes so blue they’re virtually alarming. Briefly, they’re a really fairly hen. The youthful ones are noticed brownish white.
There aren’t many hikes in New Zealand that deliver you to someplace fairly so particular because the Cape Kidnappers strolling observe.
What makes this hike even higher is that there are a number of other ways you would do it. A 19 kilometer return path from Clifton. Usually it takes about 5 hours return in case you stroll, and also you keep on alongside the gorgeous seashore beneath beautiful rugged cliffs, so good and flat for many of the whereas, earlier than a brief climb up a pleasant path to the cliffs to see the gannets on the finish.
What’s difficult is you could solely stroll it at low tide as a result of in any other case the observe (i.e. the seashore) disappears. So examine the tide instances earlier than you head out to the colony, with the perfect instances being no before three hours after excessive tide and departing from the Cape house no later than 1.5 hours after low tide.
As a substitute of strolling you would additionally get a journey on the market on a tractor with Gannet Seaside Adventures for a guided extra hands-on possibility. This fashion you skip the lengthy flat stroll alongside the seashore, as an alternative driving alongside on the again of a tractor stopping and studying in regards to the historical past and geology of the world earlier than strolling as much as the colony.
I feel you too can four-wheel drive out alongside the seashore to the underside of the colony, although it’s a must to be actually cautious about pace and tides with that one.
The very best time of 12 months to go to the gannets at Cape Kidnappers is from November to February, with chicks hatching in November. We went in March and there have been nonetheless lots left earlier than they depart for Australia. I imagine the path is closed to the colony from July to October to guard the birds as they nest.
The stroll or journey out to the underside of the observe as much as the Cape is gorgeous in and of itself.
A wild seashore with enormous cliffs all alongside the way in which, Cape Kidnappers is a surprising pure marvel by itself. Each kilometer you go, the view simply will get higher and higher. Although I’ll take the chance to say the rock is unfastened, and also you may not need to hang around immediately beneath the cliffs.
There are additionally a number of plant, shell and animal fossils seen on the rocks on the seashore and within the cliffs. Made up of gravel, silt and pumice, and sometimes moved round by earthquakes, it’s a extremely cool place to see the historical past written within the panorama, seen to all.
I’m removed from a geology nerd, however even I can see that the cliffs right here inform a wealthy historical past, with totally different layers of rock, even seen ash layers from the nice Taupo volcanic eruptions over time.
Sidenote – modern-day Taupo and the lake, the largest lake in New Zealand, is definitely a volcanic caldera, and one of many craziest volcanoes on earth.
The supervolcano at Taupo erupted 70,000 12 months in the past (The Oruanui Eruption) and it was the world’s largest identified volcanic eruption. And it’s not lifeless but. It’s final main eruption was 1800 years in the past turning the sky pink over Rome and China, and it was the world’s most violent eruption prior to now 5000 years.
Received’t be shopping for land there any time quickly.
As you wander additional alongside the seashore, you’ll ultimately attain the primary colony of birds nesting on the rocks proper subsequent to the seashore.
What’s much more unbelievable is that the 16 week outdated chicks first flight shouldn’t be a small one – reasonably a 2,800 kilometer Tasman Sea crossing to Australia. Go large or go house gannets.
Clearly not many make it together with predation by launched pests in New Zealand, like stoats and possums, signifies that these birds want defending and assist from us.
And if the views and the birds weren’t cool sufficient for you, the historical past of Cape Kidnappers is equally epic. In historical instances, the demigod Māui (anybody seen Moana?) took his grandmother’s jawbone to make use of as a fish hook and snuck out to sea along with his brothers to go fishing.
He lined it in his personal blood, prayed and with it, he fished up the North Island or because the Māori identify name it, Te-Ika-a-Māui, (the Fish of Māui).
The sacred jawbone fashioned what’s now generally known as Hawke’s Bay.
In additional trendy instances, Cape Kidnappers bought its identify from an altercation between Captain Cook dinner (modern-day discoverer of New Zealand) and native Māori in 1769.
Some native Māori paddled as much as their ship the Endeavour of their waka (canoes) to commerce, and took again with them a Tahitian boy who was engaged on the ship, mistaken him for being one in all their very own who was being held in opposition to his will. Clearly a battle broke out.
The boy swam again to the ship and Captain Cook dinner named the bay Cape Kidnappers.
The views all alongside the coastal stroll after which as soon as once more as you wind your manner up the hill are magical and price each step. A comparatively straightforward stroll, simply lengthy, it’s one that’s good for nearly anybody who’s eager to see an unbelievable hen colony.
Nice views, colourful legends, fossils, historical past, cultural, wildlife? And vineyards proper down the street, Cape Kidnappers actually does have all of it.
Have you ever ever been to a hen colony? Have you ever been to Cape Kidnappers? Share!