A Journal, with Pictures

Cape Kidnappers North Island NZ

by on Mar.08, 2020, under Happenings

On Monday, February 24 we were driven the two-hour drive to the Hawks Bay Region stopping for lunch at the Clear View Winery. This is one of the wine regions of New Zealand with the largest city in the area Napier. Napier is interesting in that it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1920s and rebuilt in the art deco style. After lunch, we continued the short distance to the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, which is a 6000-acre working ranch with approximately 2000 sheep and 500 cattle. Overlooking the bay is the world rated top 100 Cape Kidnapper golf course and lodge where we stayed. Our suite had a great view of the property and Hawks Bay and was only a short walk from the beautiful lodge. This is another Robertson resort so we knew the evening routine, cocktails, and canapes served in the lounge area followed by a gourmet dinner with fine NZ wine and outstanding service.

Our first day of exploration started with a Kiwi discovery walk. Laura our naturalist guide took a group of guests into the woods to find a Kiwi, which is the national bird of NZ and an endangered species. To help preserve the Kiwi population a number of Kiwi sanctuaries have been established to increase the survival rate of young birds. Cape Kidnappers Farm is one of the sanctuaries and Laura used a radio direction finder to locate one of the chicks that had a radio tag. We got a briefing on the Kiwi and saw the humongous egg of this species. The full-grown Kiwi is about the size of a chicken and does not fly. Kiwi’s are nocturnal feeders so the Kiwi was awakened from his sleep so we could observe it. Laura weighed the bird, checked its health then placed it back in a burrow with some food. It was an interesting and educational experience and helped us work up an appetite for lunch.

After lunch, it was time for a Can-Am (All-Terrain Vehicle) tour of the property. This included a visit to the furthermost reaches of the farm through old creek beds, across expansive farmland and down to the ocean.  We also visited the rookery of the Gannet, the chicks first flight is eight-day non-stop to Australia. This is the largest rookery and it is estimated that these birds consume eleven tons of fish per day. We observed the parents feeding the chicks.

On Wednesday we played the Cape Kidnapper golf course. This is a stunning setting and the designer Tom Doak took advantage of the seaside cliffs and rugged terrain to produce a visually spectacular and difficult test of golf. We enjoyed our round and had a “small world” experience on the 16th. hole. A single caught up with us so we let him play through and low and behold it was Will Mayhall a fellow member at Chechessee Creek Club.

Another nice evening enjoying the great dining experience and service, then pack. Tomorrow after breakfast we leave for the South Island.

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