Cape Kidnappers, a half hour drive from the cities of Hastings and Napier, is a craggy peninsula named to commemorate an incident during Captain Cook’s 1769 voyage. Maori traders seized Cook’s Tahitian cabin boy who they thought was being held against his will. When Cook’s men fired on the Maori canoe, the cabin boy escaped and returned to the ship.
Visitors can get within a few feet of the world’s largest, most accessible mainland gannet colony which is at the top of the Cape’s sheer and barren cliffs.
Tour options include overland and helicopter safaris and tractor rides along the beach. Find out more at www.gannets.com and www.gannetsafaris.co.nz. Visitors can also walk 8 kilometres along the coast from Clifton to the Cape but must check tide times. Best viewing is between November and February before the gannets migrate to warmer climates.
The area is also home to the par 71, Tom Doak designed Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, alongside a luxury lodge The course, 140m above sea level, is ranked in the top 50 in the world by international Golf Magazine.