The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand was a highlight of our 10th wedding anniversary trip, which also included Four Seasons Bora Bora. We loved New Zealand so much our first trip last November, which included sister property Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown, as well as Otahuna near Christchurch and Eagle's Nest in Russell, that we knew we had to return.
A full report will come later, but since we're now in Fiji in the midst of power and Internet outages I'll share 5 reasons you shouldn't miss The Farm at Cape Kidnappers when visiting New Zealand (which I highly recommend adding if you're visiting Australia or Tahiti/Bora Bora).
1. Beautiful Views from the Lodge and Each Light-Filled Room
Nestled by Hawke's Bay, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers draws its unusual name from the fact that during Captain Cook's visit there in 1769, aboard the HMS Endeavor, the local Maori attempted to kidnap Tiata, a Tahitian accompanying Captain Cook, whom the Maori mistakenly thought was a kidnapped Maori. Cook described the steep white cliffs of the area, which is still dramatic today.
The Lodge is in a perfect vantage point to view the rest of the farm leading to the ocean, and each light-filled guestroom also enjoys views of the farm and ocean in the distance:
2. Track and Hold an Endangered Baby Kiwi
Even though New Zealanders refer to themselves as “kiwis” most have never seen the endangered flightless kiwi bird, and certainly not in the wild. Julian Robertson and his partners, who bought the land and built the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, had the foresight to protect the highly endangered kiwi by creating a virtually predator-free sanctuary for them and other indigenous New Zealand birds and wildlife that were severely threatened by non-native predators such as ferrets and stoats.
Thanks to the Robertson family's conservation efforts, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers is one of the only places in New Zealand where you can see kiwis, which are nocturnal, in the wild. The baby kiwis need to be checked on regularly and weighed, so you can accompany a naturalist, using a tracking device, to find one of the baby kiwis and even hold it after it is weighed, provided a little extra food, and placed back in its burrow.
3. Play One of the Top Golf Courses in the World (Or Just Admire the Views)
While we're not golfers, even we couldn't resist going out in a golf cart to admire the incredible views from the Tom Doak designed golf course.
4. Enjoy Pre-Dinner Drinks, Canapes, Gourmet Food and an Extensive Wine Cellar
Don't let the “Farm” in the name fool you–you're in for a culinary treat at the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, particularly since Hawke's Bay is a major wine producing region and the lodge has an extensive wine cellar. Enjoy a wonderful selection of pre-dinner drinks, from local wines to cocktails, accompanied by canapes, before a multi-course dinner, which, along with breakfast, is included in the nightly rate.
Non-alcoholic drinks and delectable homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies are thoughtfully provided in your room, and complimentary.
5. Enjoy 6000 Acres of a Working Farm and See the Gannett Colony
Whether you opt for the extensive Can-Am tour or the shorter complimentary property tour, don't miss seeing some of this extensive, 6000 acre working farm. In particular, don't miss the gannett colony if you're visiting September through April. If you've been to the Galapagos and seen the blue footed boobies, you'll see the resemblance of the related gannets, who congregate in just a few places in New Zealand, Hawke's Bay being one of them. Since this is a sanctuary, the gannets have no fear of humans, similar to the blue footed boobies in the Galapagos, and one of the juveniles actually came right up to me to investigate my sneakers.
If you've stayed at the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, what did you love most about your stay?
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