The morning sun had heated our camper to hot sauna temperatures which was enough to wake us up and make us get up. We phoned to check on the departure times for a tour to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony and found out that todays departure was at 10am but we had to report by around 9:30am. It was already after 8am and we had to travel a fair distance to get to the check in point in Clifton. So we hurriedly made a cuppa then hit the road again!
We chose to spend the day with Gannet Beach Adventures where you travel along the sandy or stoney beach (it changes regularly) on a trailer which is hitched to a tractor. This tour definitely gets a big thumbs up!! It was entertaining, fun, and informative. The other option is to take a 4x4 bus along a gravel road but we figured a tractor ride seemed like more fun - and it was!
Four tractors towing two trailers each, pulled up to whisk the waiting passengers away. After some brief organising and seat allocation, plus some humourous introductions and tour outline by one of the guides we were on our way bumping down the stoney beach behind a tractor.
Our guide stopped at various spots along the way to point out some interesting geological features of the coastline including a very graphic view of a fault line which apparently moves around 2 metres each year.
We eventually arrive at a large slip - where the hillside has collapsed and spread large boulders across our path. Everyone is off-loaded from the trailer because this strip is bumpy enough to bump you right off your seat! The four guides get out the picks and start breaking up the soft boulders which are in the way and make a path for the tractors. Once they all start filing through, it sure looks like a bumpy ride.
We come to the end of the road for the tractors. From here it's a very steep path, which means a strenuous walk, to see the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. The walk took around 20 minutes and we were rewarded with a full colony of Gannets which were literally nesting just on the other side of a low rope fence. There were numerous chicks of varying ages and attentive parents preening them. Besides the smell, we could've spent a few hours watching and photographing these interesting birds with their rather less than elegant landing and take off techniques and unruly social skills.
Soon it is time to return to our tractor for the return trip and to beat the incoming tide. We set off again with our trailer loaded with human cargo for further adventure along the beach. Beware of the cheeky drivers who will no doubt try and get you wet by driving in the surf, and for the unsuspecting he will succeed!
We are finally dropped off on the beach near the start point for a short walk over to the car park. We bid farewell to our entertaining guide and make tracks towards the south for Masterton and ultimately Castle Point. The drive to Castle Point is around three hours from Cape Kidnappers but we pull into town in time for a beautiful sunset at the lighthouse.
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