Cape Kidnappers

The iconic Cape Kidnappers is a must-do for any Hawke's Bay holiday

Cape Kidnappers is a craggy, but stunning, peninsula named in commemoration of 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.

The iconic pale cliffs of Cape Kidnappers are viewable from the full length of Marine Parade in Napier, and are especially eye-catching in the late afternoon sun.

'The Cape' and surrounding areas offer a diverse range of attractions:

Gannets galore

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. Take an overland tour experience with Gannet Safaris Overland or adventure along the coastline on the iconic red tractors with Gannet Beach Adventures.

Visitors can also walk 8 kilometres along the coast from Clifton to the Cape but it is important to check tide times to avoid running out of beach to walk on! Viewing the gannets is possible from September to April before the gannets migrate to warmer climates. Please note, the Department of Conservation-owned trail from the beach up to the main colony is currently closed due to ongoing cliff instability. However, the Black Reef beach colony is clearly visible from the beach. 

Walk Duration- 4-5 hours


New signage has been installed at the entrance to Clifton Beach to help inform walkers when and where people can gain access to the beach and the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony. Please read this before accessing the beach

This walk is along a beach and can only be attempted during low tide. Ensure you check the Cape Kidnappers tide timetable and leave yourself enough time to safely return. It's best to:

  • departing from Clifton to the Cape: leave at least 3 hours after high tide
  • returning from the Cape to Clifton: leave the cape no later than 1 hour 30 minutes after low tide. 

Occasionally, high tides and big seas block access along the beach.
The cliffs along the beach are unstable and slips can occur - do not attempt to climb these, and rest or picnic away from the cliffs.

Be prepared

Ensure you take:

  • plenty of drinking water
  • a water/windproof jacket, a hat and gloves, sunscreen and wear warm, layered clothing
  • sturdy footwear such as tramping boots
  • head torch
  • communication device.


World class golf course

The area is home to the par 71, Tom Doak-designed Cape Kidnappers Golf Course. The course, 140m above sea level, is consistently ranked among the world's best courses.

Luxury Accommodation

Set atop 6,000 rolling acres of stunning pasture-land, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers offers elegant lodge style accommodation, with spectacular 180-degree views overlooking the farmland, golf course and Pacific Ocean.