|Gannet Colony Tour ~ 6 1/2 hrs|
There are approx. 5000 birds here and we can visit most of the time between September and April.
The Gannet Colony Tour travels beyond the Light house approx. 2 km, and you have a 20 minute walk across the flat sand on the spit's end to view the colony. You may get your feet wet here, as we stop to observe the gannets for 20 minutes. It is often a two way process - the gannets are very inquisitive and will fly low over us to get a better view. Enjoy a 20 minute walk back to the bus before the short ride to the lighthouse keepers cottage for refreshments. Explore the reserve and soak up the serenity. The last stop is to climb one of the huge dunes for a look into Golden bay and beyond. The Gannet Colony Tour is limited to 20 people per day so it is important to book in advance.
This spectacular sea bird usually chooses rocky outcrops as breeding and nesting sites. The Farewell Spit colony is the only one right at sea level, affording excellent views of the parent birds caring for their young. We have the only license granted by the Department of Conservation to visit this colony, which is New Zealand's newest nesting site for Gannets. To see them you walk beyond the Lighthouse (about 30 minutes) over the sand near the end of the Spit - you may get your feet wet.
Viewing Gannets is a two way process - the birds are known for their curiosity and often fly low over our visitors to get a closer look.