• The Gannets

    Takapu – The Gannet

From September to December watch the birds carrying nesting material (seaweed, grass, or feathers) or pilfering from other nests. Generally, only the male brings in nesting material. A chick will live at this colony for about 15 weeks. In that time its appearance will change dramatically.

From its black ‘naked’ birth state to a white fluffy month-old chick and then, by 3 months it will have become a grey speckled juvenile. At flying age, the average chick will weigh 50 times its 60 gram birth weight. However, most extra fat will be lost once it starts to fly and feed for itself. The chicks depart for their first flight to Australia at 15-16 weeks old. It takes them about 8 days to get there. 70-80% of these birds will die over the next 2-3 years before they have a chance to return to Cape Kidnappers.

Gannets eat live fish, in particular herrings, pilchards, mullet, saury, garfish, anchovies and squid. Their strong flight will be abruptly broken off as they spot a school of fish. They plummet up to thirty meters to hit the water at speeds up to 140kph – the impact cushioned by air sacs in the forehead, neck, and chest wall. They then swim down, catch a fish, and swallow it on the surface, all in a few seconds. The gannet may spend up to 15 hours away from the nest while feeding. Chicks are fed on demand but usually near dawn and dusk.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get almost face to face with a Gannet and it’s an experience you do not want to miss.

For specific details of the Gannet Tour options available select the required tour below.

  • “As many people have commented here, this excursion is much more than just "going to see some birds". Not only do you have fantastic scenery you get to learn so much communicated in an entertaining way. Tony our guide is responsible for this and his knowledge breath is remarkable. You'll learn about the conservation effort being carried out there, local farming, lost golf balls and everything else in-between, too much to mention here. Highly recommended if you are in the area.”

    Trip Advisor - December 2022

  • Fabulous tour, such fun, very inclusive, enjoyed opening gates. Guide was amazing and super knowledgeable. Real value for money - couldn't recommend it more highly!

    Trip Advisor - December 2022

  • “Fantastic! Great info given out. Spectacular scenery, amazing gannets. This was the highlight of my holiday. I will recommend to others.”

    Trip Advisor - September 2022

  • “We loved every minute of the tour. Wayne was so experienced with non stop information that made the trip really interesting. The gannets were amazing - the flying, nesting, feeding. A really great 3 hours from start to finish”

    Trip Advisor - September 2022

  • “Fantastic tour with lots of interesting information along the way from our lovely guide. This has been the highlight of our NZ trip so far. Great scenery and superb weather definitely helped. But the gannet behaviour in their natural environment was great to watch, without feeling that we were impacting on their habitat.”

    Trip Advisor - October 2022

  • “Great 1/2 day experience to visit Cape Kidnappers and the gannet colonies there. Informative commentary about the private property that owns the land, as well as landscape fauna & flora. 2 stops (1 includes cup of tea/coffee and a bikkie) including 45min spent watching the gannet colony. Comfortable clean air-conditioned mini-bus. Spectacular scenery, so bring your camera!”

    Trip Advisor - November 2022

  • “We took this tour as part of a Holland America cruise ship visit, and it was my favourite tour in New Zealand. I'm not a "birder" at all, but I like tours that get you out to see the countryside. Our driver and guide was very good. He gave us history of the area, of the nature preserve and of the various iterations of the property around the cape.”

    Trip Advisor - December 2022

  • Highlight of our Hawkes Bay stay. Friendly and knowledgable hosts/ drivers. History and conservation aspect of the area super interesting. Element of adventure... plus the gannets! Time and money well spent. Highly recommend.

    Get Your Guide - September 2022

  • “The visit was perfect, the guide excellent, thank you so much. You must do if you are in Napier.”

    Trip Advisor - October 2022

  • “Fascinating trip to the gannets, made very special by the knowledge of our tour host Graham. A great afternoon out. great views, local knowledge and wonderful births of chicks!”

    Trip Advisor - November 2022

  • “The best 3 hours I spent in New Zealand and the most instructive. A fabulous photography experience and the rather precarious journey there and back was made enjoyable by the commentary of the guide who was amusing and extremely knowledgable. Highly recommended.”

    Get Your Guide - November 2022

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Gannet Safari's is proud to support the conservation efforts of #capesanctuary through our tourism partnership. While the #gannet season has pressed pause for the winter months, Cape Sanctuary tours are still up and running! Book now to se Hawke's Bays best kept secret and a chance for up close encounters with critically endangered takahē and more!
Gannet Safaris Overland has once again been awarded a 2024 Travellers Choice Award from TripAdvisor. 🙌

Many thanks to everyone for their wonderful reviews and for coming and experiencing our awesome tour with us 🐦🚌🛳. @tripadvisor #capekidnappers #gannets
We are absolutely thrilled to have been named as finalists by Tourism Export Council New Zealand for the 2024 Small Allied Tour Operator of the Year Award.  We’re honoured to be in such good company alongside Mackenzie helicopters Helicopters. 

Wishing the very best to all of the finalists ahead of the awards in Invercargill this August
The Cape Kidnappers Gannet colony offers an exquisite opportunity for photographers to capture the beauty of thousands of birds against a stunning backdrop. 

With thousands of birds only meters away, everyone and every camera leaves with incredible photos to match the memories. 

Book your summer experience online now to see why photographers, amateurs and professionals alike label #GannetSafaris as a must do experience! 

#photography #hawkesbay #gannetsafaris #gannetsafarisoverland #capekidnappers #hbtourism
Gannets aren’t the only bird who call the Cape Kidnappers Peninsula home! 

Hundreds of little blue penguins burrow along the shoreline of the peninsula, inhabiting sand dune, coastal grasses and cliffside. In fact, the lower gannet colony shares terrain with penguin burrows. 

These gorgeous penguins are kept safe by the  pest control and habitat restoration work of the @cape_sanctuary team! 

#penguins #littlebluepenguin #gannetsafaris #gannets #capekidnappers #hbtourism #gannet #nzbirds
Did you know there’s not one, not two but three colonies at the Cape Kidnappers point! Located below the steep cliffs of the main colony is a slightly smaller seaside colony where gannets and fur seals share the rocky shore. Further along the point is the ‘saddle’ colony, a smaller collective only viewed from the main platform as erosion has rendered the cliff side impassable. 

#gannets #nz #nativebirdsnz #capekidnappers #gannetsafarisoverland #gannets #takapu #nz #hbnz #tourism
The currently empty nest sites at #Capekidnappers have us reminiscing about sweet spring moments like this. 

#capekidnappers #capesanctuary #conservation #gannets #hbnz #hawkesbay #hbtourism
Dreaming about summer already? 

Look no further than Gannet Safari’s Overland! The only overland access to the world renowned Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.

#hawkesbay #hbnz #travelnz #newzealand #nz #gannets #gannetcolony #capekidnappers #birds
The Overland Gannet Safari adventure travels through nationally Cape Kidnapper's station. Whilst gannets are at the centre of the show, witnessing the incredible landscape of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula and the land's farming history is a memorable experience in itself. Be greeted by hundreds of sheep and cattle, and,  if you're lucky catch working dogs in action across the steep hillsides. 

 #capekidnappers #newzealand #hbtourism #hbsummer #gannetsafaris #birdphoto #hawkesbay #nz #gannetsafarisoverland #nzconservation #gannettours #hawkesbaynz #nzbirds #NZ #farming #nzfarmers
The Cape Kidnapper's 20,000 strong Gannet Colony is Aotearoa New Zealand's largest accessible mainland colony and is a MUST DO for locals and visitors alike! Marvel at the beauty and sheer size of this incredible colony, perched above the daunting cliffs of the stunning Cape Kidnappers coastline. 

 #birdphoto #gannets #hawkesbay #capekidnappers #gannetsafaris #hbsummer #newzealand #hbtourism #nz #hawkesbaynz #nzconservation #nativebirds #lovenz #gannetsafarisoverland #gannettours #nzbirds
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