15 Jul 2020

Cape Kidnappers track to reopen this year

11:39 am on 15 July 2020

A risky Hawke's Bay walkway on Cape Kidnappers will reopen at the end of the year, even though the walk is unpredictable and potentially fatal.

Cape Kidnappers signage

Cape Kidnappers track. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Two tourists were seriously injured during a landslide in January last year. They were swept out to sea and survived.

The track up to the cape and gannet colony has been closed since then.

This decision on reopening the track follows a report on the landslide risk, commissioned by the Department of Conservation and Hastings District Council after the accident.

People will have to go on the track at their own risk, which follows on from the beach owned by the council.

The report compared the risk for people travelling along the beach as equivalent to the risks faced by mountain climbers.

"Mountain climbers are generally well-informed and prepared for the obvious risks they face - very different from most day visitors looking to walk this mainly flat beach walk. Many visitors are seeking a relatively safe and easy walk, not somewhere where the chance of serious injury or fatality is a very real possibility," DOC lower North Island operations director Hayden Barrett said in a statement.

Council group asset manager Craig Thew said the council would be monitoring the entrance of the beach and would look at adjusting information given to visitors.

This work will be completed over the next few months, aiming to reopen the track in time for the gannet season.

Signs at the Clifton Beach entrance will be updated to note the risk, along with information on the DOC and council websites. The walk along the beach would not be promoted.

Gannet Beach Adventures, who operated a business on the cape, could resume operation but they would need to update their safety plan to address the risks identified in the report.

An option for accessing the gannet colony without travelling along the beach was still available via another tourism operator.

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