One of New Zealand’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). 😀
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.
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.
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.
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 – just enough to receive/send some messages, make calls and even go online for a couple of minutes. 😀 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.
Up next: Sunset at the Pinnacles and a night’s stay at the Pinnacles Hut