New Zealand Working Holiday (Part 20) : Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) & Overnight at the Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel (Part 1)

One of New Zealandโ€™s most popular overnight walk is the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) that takes visitors through beautiful mountain ranges with views overlooking the stunning Kaueranga Valley in the Coromandel Peninsula.

This 2-day easy to intermediate level walking track leads to Pinnacles Hut located on one of the highest peaks in the Coromandel Forest Park where we spent the night after watching the sunset at the summit of the Pinnacles (759 m). ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk)

The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) follows a significant packhorse route used by kauri bushmen in the 1920s to transport supplies such as food, tools, clothing and mail to the many logging camps in the headwaters of the Kauaeranga River.

The route is rich with history from the days of kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners who plundered the area for many years. The Rock Staircase, Hydro Camp and Dancing Camp Kauri Dam are some of the historical sites in the area.

Do take note that a good level of fitness and stamina is required to tackle the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), particularly on the route to Pinnacles Hut and Pinnacles Summit. The walking track can be slippery, hazardous and even closed after a heavy downpour. For that reason, visitors are advised to check the weather forecast and news update beforehand.

 

Kauaeranga Valley road end carpark, Coromandel Forest Park
Help to save the Kauri forests by removing all soil from your footwear and disinfect it with the solution provided @ Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Easy walking at the start of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
The start/entrance of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Muddy path at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Lush native bush and forest along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Maximum load one person at a time to cross the swing bridge safely at Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
A swing bridge hanging over crystal-clear water at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
A scenic river at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Uneven footpaths at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel

 

3-Hour (5km) Gruelling Walk to Pinnacles Hut

We began our 3-hour, about 5 kilometres walk to Pinnacles Hut from the Kauaeranga Valley road end car park. At the entrance to the track, there is a sign advising us to help save the Kauri forests by removing all soil from our footwear and disinfect it with the solution provided. We were also reminded to stay on the track at all times and keep off the Kauri roots.

From there, we made our way towards a swing bridge with a maximum load of 1 person. We took turns to walk on the swing bridge and cross the calm and crystal-clear river one at a time. After that, we continued our journey along the Webb Creek Track to Hydro Camp.

To get to Pinnacles Hut, we had to scale the grueling Rock Staircase or rock steps up the steep hill that seems to never end. Care and caution is required as the rocks can be slippery. It was exciting and at the same time terrifying to walk along the narrow ridge.

 

The Rock Staircase at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Going up the slippery stone steps of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel requires care and caution
A creek or small river along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) in Coromandel demands a good level of fitness and stamina to complete the track due to its uneven and steep terrain
An information board at a junction of the track along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Another step of stone steps along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
The path uphill to Pinnacles Hut is challenging. Steep steps and strong winds are hazards on the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Scenic views along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
At the Hydro Camp junction, we carried on to the Pinnacles Track which climbs and slithers around the hill before reaching to a more open ridge

Gusty Winds at Hydro Camp Walk & the Flood Detours

At the Hydro Camp junction, we carried on to the Pinnacles Track which climbs and slithers around the hill before reaching to a more open ridge. On this particular track, we made our way through lush forest vegetation, crossed several waterfalls and another swing bridge.

We diligently followed the orange markers to stay on the right track. Occasionally, we came across several flood detours and took some of the detours to avoid the flooded tracks. Finally, we came to another set of steep rock steps leading uphill.

It was the most challenging part of the track because we had strong winds blowing at that time. It was so windy and dusty that we could not move forward at all and had to stop in our tracks or risk being blown off the track. Looking on the bright side, it gave us time to rest and catch our breaths.

 

We crossed another swing bridge on our way to the Pinnacles Hut at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Crossing the beautiful forest at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Be sure to follow the orange markers along the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel to stay on the right track
Passing under a ledge at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Stone steps leading towards the Pinnacles Hut at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Unique trees on the hill at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Information boards and signage at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel is well marked with coloured markers, information boards and signage

 

The Loggers Camp & a Helicopter Pad

Once the wind died down for a moment, we hurried along the track and arrived at an open ridge that offers breathtaking views overlooking the Kauaeranga Valley and the famous Pinnacles. Here, we could see the Pinnacles Hut in the distance and getting there would take another 20-30 minutes.

Strong gusts of wind occasionally swept the ridge, threatening to knock us down, but we persevered. Although we were informed that there will be no mobile reception in the area, somehow I managed to get Vodaphone reception โ€“ just enough to receive/send some messages, make calls and even go online for a couple of minutes. ๐Ÿ˜€ Other mobile networks were not so lucky.

We felt happy knowing that we were closer to the Pinnacles Hut and was eager to arrive at our destination.

 

The view at the Loggers Camp @ Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Breathtaking Kauaeranga Valley view in the Coromandel Nature Park
Loggers Camp @ Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Erika at the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
Pinnacles Hut in the distance @ Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel
A picturesque view in our way to the Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel Nature Park
The path to the helicopter pad at the Pinnacles, Coromandel
The helicopter pad at the Pinnacles, Coromandel
Erika on her way to the Pinnacles Hut via the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk), Coromandel

 

Up next: Sunset at the Pinnacles and a nightโ€™s stay at the Pinnacles Hut

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