Tractor Pull to a Gannet Colony

Cape Kidnappers- what an enticing name- plus 1949 Minneapolis-Moline tractors, a ‘Gannetry’ and geology lessons. Sign us up!

Here come the tractors! What’s not to love about a tractor pull? (Our guide said these 1949 tractors are most likely the only working ones left. In The World. The rest are found in museums.)

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The tractor’s job? To pull us along a narrow rocky cliff-lined beach for 9 km to Cape Kidnappers- which our buddy Captain Cook christened in 1769 after local Maoris unsuccessfully ‘kidnapped’ (or rescued as the Maoris believed) his Tahitian interpreter. Cook should have named it Cape Incredible.

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Prior to arriving at Cape Kidnappers, we pass through a small gannet nesting area. Gannets are not wary of people so it is easy to photograph these beautiful seabirds.

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We are given 90 minutes to explore Cape Kidnappers and the plateau gannetry 110 meters above the sea.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers

We could smell and hear the gannetry before we could see the thousands of birds!

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When mates reunite they do a lovely ‘greeting ceremony’.

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The chicks are larger than their parents at this stage (around 16 weeks). They are fattening up for their maiden voyage of 2,735 kilometers (around 1500 miles) across the stormy Tasman Sea to Australia. Most young have never been airborne before leaving Cape Kidnappers.

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The chicks will mature in Australia for 2-3 years and then return to Cape Kidnappers and remain. Only 25-30% will survive the dual crossing.

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Time to round up the tractors and head back.

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We have a little trouble at the very end and have to abandon our seats. (We got stuck in the deep sand.) The whole experience was such a neat treat!

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