The Pinnacles Track.
Also known as the Kauaeranga Kauri trail, this is a walk which anyone on the North Island of New Zealand should do. Located in the Kauaeranga Valley in the Coromandel, it involves following a historic pack horse route used by Kauri bushmen in the 1920’s. Not only do you follow this route, but you also can climb to the top of this lookout, located in between these unusual columns of rocks which resemble pinnacles. Here you will get amazing views of the Coromandel Peninsula. Now I am going to share with you my experiences on this walk.
Me and a couple of friends first spent a couple of hours driving to the site where we would do our walk. The road leading into the valley was mostly gravel which made for some interesting driving, aaaaand I was the driver. Good thing it was an old rubbish car and not my current one. Anyhow, we got there safely in the end.
Phase one: Journey to the hut.
The first part of the walk involved walking from the car park through hilly forest to a hut (Pinnacles Hut). This took around 2.5-3 hours and involved crossing a few bridges, lots of rocky steps and some good views. You will spend a lot of time walking on rocky ground so decent hiking boots are ideal here. Anyways let’s let the pictures do the talking.
We stayed the night at this hut. With a capacity of 80 people, it is hardly small (and it was full that weekend!). Nonetheless, they provide you with cooking facilities and utensils (which is not too common for back country huts here) and bunk beds (but you bring your own sleeping gear). Since we were carrying hiking backpacks, we unwound for a while, had some dinner and a healthy amount of wine which we brought with us (interesting fact, wine tastes much better after a long hot hiking day).
Phase two: To the Pinnacles summit!
The second part was the hardest but technically shortest, taking only around 40 minutes. After a decent break and minus a backpack it felt easier in comparison. I didn’t realise that we were going to the spires we saw earlier though. Looking at them from a distance, they looked steep as hell and I couldn’t see myself walking up them, but as I got closer, I saw ladders and metal rungs in the rocks! So yeah there was a way. At 759 metres high, the views of the coastline and surrounding mountains were gorgeous.
Summary and a suggestion.
If you like hiking and are spending some time in the Coromandel then you mustn’t miss this! We did this as an overnight hike but you could also do the whole thing in one day. Bear in mind that the walk is around 3.5 hours one way though, and that doesn’t include the time it takes to actually drive out there.