Adventure firm celebrates 60 years


Past and present owners of the enduring tourism business Gannet Beach Adventures descended on Clifton Bay Cafe last week to celebrate the company's 60 years of tourism.

Stories were unearthed and memories rekindled at Friday's soiree where all three owners mulled over the iconic Cape Kidnappers' attraction that started with the Burden family in 1952.

"The whole thing began at my parents' campground [Burden's Motorcamp] near the Maraetotara Stream in 1952," Neil Burden said.

"Back then it was just a family thing, really, we never anticipated it would someday become a money-making business. We didn't have a licence to carry passengers so we couldn't charge anyone for taking them out to see the gannets."

Occasionally the "hat was passed around" to cover costs following a trip.

"Usually that meant passengers who had plenty of money gave nothing, while those who had nothing often gave something."

It wasn't until 1982 that Mr Burden formed the company that was to become a household name in Hawke's Bay.

Despite numerous offers to buy the business two decades ago, he decided to keep it in the family and sold it to nephew and Hastings district councillor Rod Heaps.

Four years ago Colin and Kim Lindsay bought the business, with the tractor and trailer now in its full-seasonal swing.

Once a single tractor business, the enterprise now boasted eight casual staff and five engines, with a maximum muster of 180 tourists per trip.

Neither Mr Burden nor Mr Heaps had put their cues in the rack.

"Rod still drives and I'm still an occasional driver," Mr Burden said. "It's great that I can still do that. It's been a very enjoyable business with lots of memories."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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