In a country blessed with some major gannet colonies in incredibly scenic locations, why should you choose to view these special birds with us here at Gannet Safaris Overland? From driving up right up to the colony, to witnessing the largest gannet colony in the country, to accessing New Zealand’s largest privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, we strive to create the best bird-watching tour you can find when it comes to gannets. Read on for more details.
With GSO, there is no required walking up the steep hill – we literally drive up onto the plateau, bringing you within a few metres of the birds as they go about their everyday life. This makes our tour great for all ages, from the smallest child to the elderly, and those in-between with limited mobility.
Kidnappers has New Zealand’s largest gannet colony, with 20,000 performing and preening gannets congregating on the plateau. In fact, it is the largest accessible mainland gannet colony in the world (the bigger colonies around the globe are all on islands). The Farewell Spit colony comes second in New Zealand with 9,000 birds and Muriwai third with about 2,500 birds.
We drive through New Zealand’s largest privately-owned wildlife sanctuary. Cape Sanctuary was set up in 2006 by locals Andy and Liz Lowe, the Hansen family, and American billionaire philanthropist Julian Robertson. Its 10.6 kilometres of predator-proof fence spans the peninsula, cutting the farm off from the pests and predators outside, and allowing species of birds such as whitehead, takahe, and kiwi to thrive inside. Pockets of the native forest lie alongside pasture, where sheep and beef are tended. This sanctuary is not open to the public – only to guests at the exclusive lodge, and to Gannet Safari Overland. We drive our 4x4 vehicles through a portion of the sanctuary in order to access the plateau. Our driver will talk knowledgeably about the working, farm, the sanctuary, and all the projects on the go there as we drive through on the way to the gannet plateau.
We offer private sunrise tours. While our regular tour in our 4x4 bus is our mainstay, the experience of the country’s largest gannet colony is made even more special if you get there for sunrise in our range rover. The colony is waking up, the sun rises over the ocean and all is bathed in a gorgeous golden light.
Of course, our local guides are also extremely friendly and knowledgeable and committed to providing you the best experience of the peninsula and of birdwatching possible. We hope to see you here at Gannet Safaris Overland soon!