Story: Nelson places

Farewell Spit: gannets (2nd of 3)

Farewell Spit: gannets

Farewell Spit's gannet colony established in 1983 when about 70 pairs of gannets nested on shelly sand banks. New Zealand's only other accessible mainland gannet colonies are on rocky outcrops at Muriwai and Cape Kidnappers in the North Island. The Farewell Spit colony is only a few metres above sea level, on sand around 30 minutes walk beyond the lighthouse. The location can be hazardous for gannet chicks, as their nests are only a few metres above normal high-tide level. During a severe storm in January 1997 waves washed away most of the chicks on their nests. However, the colony survived and by 2000 it numbered between 2,000 and 3,000 adult birds. Groups of up to 20 people can visit the colony on organised tours between September and April.

Using this item

Nelson Tasman Tourism

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Nelson places - Western Golden Bay', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/29130/farewell-spit-gannets (accessed 4 July 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, updated 22 Apr 2015