Spending a night surrounded by nothing but the serene sub-alpine forest at Pinnacles Hut was one of the highlights of my trip to The Coromandel. The Pinnacles Hut is the Department of Conservation (DOC) most popular backcountry hut in New Zealand for very good reasons. 🙂
This serviced 80-bunk hut must be booked online in advance at the DOC’s website prior to our visit and are subject to availability. Besides the Pinnacles Hut, visitors can also camp out at the Dancing Camp and Billy Goat Basin remote campsite for just a small fee.
Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel Forest Park
The Pinnacles Hut is basically a serviced hut with a warden present at all times. For your info, the hut is strictly limited to 80 people per night. Pinnacles Hut offers bunk beds in dormitory rooms with basic shared facilities such as cold shower, solar lighting, BBQ stove, gas cookers and a solid fuel burner.
Kindly note that linens, pillows, blankets, toiletries such as towels, cutlery, cooking utensils and food supplies are not provided. For conservation purposes, the hut collects and stores rainwater each day for daily use. During the dry season or when there is a drought, the water supply might be affected.
We arrived at the Pinnacles Hut after a gruelling 3-hour (5km) walk from the car park through various terrains. To read the journey, click here. After a short rest, we made our way towards the Pinnacles Lookout/Summit to catch the sunset. 😀
Beautiful Sunset & Mighty Winds at the Pinnacles Summit/Lookout
Our initial plan was to scale the summit and watch the sunset from the top of the Pinnacles, however only one of us achieved that goal for extreme wind conditions prevented us from reaching the summit. The strong winds kept us from walking steadily on the track and threatened to blow us away, therefore we no choice but to cancel our plan for the sake of our safety. 🙁
Jenny and I could hardly keep our balance on the track, let more climbing up to the precarious Pinnacles peak. Please be aware that climbing to the top of the Pinnacles could potentially be life threatening, therefore visitors are discouraged to scale the summit of the Pinnacles during windy or bad weather conditions for safety reasons.
However, we were lucky enough to have good weather throughout our time at the Pinnacles Hut. It was raining cats and dogs with the odd hail storms several days earlier, making it impossible to even leave the Pinnacles Hut to view the sunrise or sunset from the Pinnacles. For that, I was grateful. Even though I did not make it to the summit of the Pinnacles, at least I made it to the base of the summit and watched the sunset from there. 😀
A Night in the Sub-Alpine Forest @ Pinnacles Hut
Lester, the friendly warden at Pinnacles Hut made us feel at home during our 1 night’s stay at the hut. Upon check-in, we were shown to our dormitory room and bunk beds. The bunk beds are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Since we arrived rather early and there were not many guests in the dormitory room, we got to choose which bunk beds to sleep on. We brought our own sleeping bags for added comfort and warmth, knowing that linens, pillows and blankets are not provided. 😉
A night’s stay at Pinnacles Hut is NZD15 per person (adult), whereas a night’s stay at the Dancing Camp and Billy Goat Basin remote campsite is NZD5 per person, include GST. The dormitory rooms are spacious, clean and brightly lit. Shoes are not permitted into the dormitory rooms.
The shared showers and toilets, as well as the shared kitchen and dining area are within walking distance from the dormitory rooms. They are not only spacious, but clean as well. Guests staying at Pinnacles Hut are required to clean-up after themselves and look after the hut.
In addition, everyone must take their rubbish with them and not throw food waste into the bush to keep pests off the area. Even with simple, basic necessities, I slept like a log at the Pinnacles Hut, exhausted from the entire journey and thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the eco-friendly hut. 🙂
In a Nutshell
The scenic journey back to the Kauaeranga Valley road end car park was as exciting as the journey to the Pinnacles Hut. We passed by the Dancing Camp and Billy Goat Basin remote campsite and visited the Dancing Camp Kauri Dam – a remnant from the Kauri logging days.
We even took a detour on the Billy Goat Track and ended up at a viewing platform where we saw a beautiful waterfall in the mountain range. And somewhere along the journey, the track had several giant hollowed Kauri logs on the side of the road – perfect for photography. 😀
Overall, the Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk) and overnight at Pinnacles Hut, Coromandel Forest Park is a must-do experience in The Coromandel. I would not hesitate to do it all over again, this time making sure that I scale all the way up to the summit of the Pinnacles given fine weather.
Up next: An epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park experience (Part 1)