While recently staying at The Farm at Cape Kiddnappers enjoying a blissful weekend I walked over the working farm to the gannet colony. You will be pleased to know thousands of gannets enjoy some of New Zealand’s prime coastline, arriving each year to meet up with their life-long partner, mate and raise their chicks together, as any 21st century couple would do.
There are four gannet colonies at Cape Kiddnappers with a total of approximately 16,000 birds. I saw two of the colonies, Black Reef and the most popular, Plateau Colony which can also be reached by a tractors adventure along the beach from Te Awanga, near Napier.
The scenery along the way is stunning and looks like this.
As it was late in the season the colonies were beginning to empty out as the birds arrive in July, mate and when the chicks are about four months old they leave the colony for Australia. The parents wait for the chicks to depart but the arduous non-stop flight takes eight days and many of them don’t make it.
When the adolscent chicks reach about five years old they partner and can live up to 33 years of age, returning to the colony each year to breed.
Napier is a coastal city on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is a five-hour drive from Auckland or a 50 minute flight.