It’s a breathtaking experience to stand atop the cliffs at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay and watch gannets swirl about the dark rocks of Black Reef below and out to The Tooth, a shark-tooth shaped rock that juts from the sea.
The fact that there’s hardly anyone else here, and that you can get so close to the gannet colony, is an absolute treat. This is a truly special place where the wonder of nature and a brisk walk overland in the fresh sea air invigorate both the spirit and imagination.
Couple that with accommodation in a luxury suite at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and the nature-loving romantic in me could not have been more indulged.
To access the 6000-acre property, a 40-minute drive from Napier airport, one must pass through a private gate and through farmland to the lodge which sits high on the hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The lodge is spacious, warm and welcoming with snug corners and cosy fireside positions to relax in with a glass of local wine.
Visiting in winter makes this experience even more luxurious as each suite has a deep tub that you can soak in, as you take in views of the surrounding rolling hills and sky above. Or you can step out of your room to go poolside and enjoy a hot spa with million-dollar views over the property and ocean.
Dining at Cape Kidnappers is also extremely satisfying. The cuisine is delicious and the food on your plate has travelled extremely low food miles, with the vegetables grown on the property. From free-range meat to homemade chutneys, local honey, wines and cheeses, this is foodie heaven at its best. The pastry chef makes everything from scratch from the sourdough to the lodge’s legendary chocolate chip cookies.
If you’re feeling energetic and adventurous you can order a gourmet picnic to take with you on your explorations of this magnificent property. The Wildflower Walk begins at the path to the pool and through paddocks to the Wildflower Field. Continue through the pine forest and you’ll discover an ancient Māori pa site with fantastic ocean views.
The Trigg Road trail is an easy walk, jog or mountain bike ride with spectacular panoramas.
Another walk takes you through the Rough Block and native bush reserve. You don’t have to go far along this track, before you discover the birdlife, which is protected by a predator-proof fence. We saw several kakariki (red crowned parakeets) and kea gather at the bird sanctuary feeding stations. Here the birds fly free over the property and can return to the feeding stations any time they feel in need of nourishment or a tasty treat.
Feeling peckish ourselves, it’s time to get ready for canapes and pre-dinner drinks. As I walk the path to the lodge from my suite the distinctive call of a kiwi pierces the night and makes me pause in wonder. There are very few places where you can experience that!
Cape Kidnappers is a 40-minute drive from Napier in Hawke’s Bay, and is named after the kidnapping of Captain Cook’s cabin boy during Cook’s 1769 voyage.