Surely everyone loves the incredible feeling of accomplishment. There are countless of actions we undertake, that can make us feel like this. For some, it might be cooking a successful dish, getting married or finishing a university. Estralians aim to live our lives to the fullest and take pride in everything we do. That said some, actions make us feel more accomplished than others. One of these experiences was hiking The Pinnacles in Coromandel.
When we first found out about this 6-8 hour hike we figured that this sort of hard yakka is not for us. We enjoy exploring and traveling in comfort. Don’t really participate in long hikes and instead prefer to drive up to different lookouts and scenic places around Aotearoa.
Although we agreed not to hike The Pinnacles, the idea kept marinating in our heads for a week or so. We were staying in Te Puru, Coromandel for a week and drove past the road to The Pinnacles almost every second day. Well, I guess the marinade was getting rather good because near the end of our stay we made a keen decision to hike to the top of The Pinnacles. 🚶♂️🚶♀️😎
Hiking The Pinnacles
Before jumping on to describe our journey, we would like to bring out some valuable information you should know prior hiking The Pinnacles. Firstly, the Pinnacles is located deep in the Kauaeranga Valley and the elevation of the The Pinnacles summit is 759 metres above sea.
Depending on your skills, this hike can take anything between 4 hours to two days. It is a 14,6 km return walk that is gradually ascending but also descending for the most part of the trek. The hardest part of this hike will start 800m before the summit. From that point on, you will be climbing up steep stairs, ladders and rocks.
Hiking The Pinnacles might sound tough but in reality, this track is well maintained and suitable for most ages. While on the trail, we saw many elderly people, parents with children as well as babies. The babies were being carried of course 😀
They key thing to remember before you go is to take your time. There is no rush to get to the top. If you are a professional, go ahead and run and climb the track.
But if you are a beginner like us, then just take your time and enjoy the scenery. You are more than welcome to even make it a two day trip and stay at the Pinnacles Hut overnight 🙂
Also, MUY IMPORTANTE – bring your own WATER. There is no access to drinkable water for the whole journey. Estralians recommend at least 2L per person for a one day trip.
Getting to the beginning of the trail
To get to the start of point you can just located Kauaeranga Valley Road End in maps or head to Kauaeranga Visitor Centre first. Visiting the Visitor Centre is good if you would like to get information about the different campgrounds, walks and hikes in the valley.
If you only want to conquer The Pinnacles summit, then drive past the visitor centre, straight to the Car Park. The graveled road from the Visitor Centre to car park is rather narrow, so please take care and be mindful about other drivers as well as hikers 😉 PS! Although, the car park seems secure, there have been few break-ins to the vehicles. So make sure not to leave anything valuable behind or on plain sight 😊
First steps are the most important ones
After parking up our car, we geared up for the hike and made our way to the beginning of Webb Creek trail. The first few km of hiking The Pinnacles were pleasantly easy. The path was effortless – moderately wide and gradually rising. We started questioning, why haven’t we done these kind of hikes before. Soon enough we reached the first swing bridge that offered beautiful views and a bit of excitement.
After crossing the river, we continued our hike alongside the river to Hydrocamp (1 hr 30 min – 2 hr from start). On the path, there were many orange assisting triangles everywhere to make sure you don’t get off the track.
Beside the triangles, there were also many signs showing detour paths should there be floods at present.
Getting to the steeper parts
As we kept walking deeper into the valley, the path started getting steeper as well. The gradual rise was replaced with steps created of forest rocks as well as man made stairs. It rarely got too severe though, as pretty much every ascend ended with a flat path or even shorth descend. It makes the track very interesting and pleasant to walk.
So really there were numerous places where you could catch your breath without even stopping. That said, there were also some steep steps that were a bit too much for us not to stop and take a few minute break to drink some water. Keep yourself hydrated!
One of the hardest ascends started shortly after the third swing-bridge where the path will take you up some large stone stairs. Some of the steps were so high that children would probably need to climb them.
Reaching the valley
Not long after the third bridge we arrived to a valley. This was the first time we really stopped and took some time to look around. Don’t get us wrong, you will see many beautiful views along the way as well but this was the first time you could see almost 360 degree breathtaking views before reaching the summit.
From the valley, we could also see glimpses of The Pinnacles and the climb that still lied ahead. And let us tell you something, it wasn’t looking like a child’s play. 😀
After reaching the valley both of us felt like our batteries got recharged within 5 minutes. Without a joke, we even started running. We ran for 200m or so and people who we passed by looked at us like we were some kind of professionals 😁 or crazy 🤣 The thing is though, once you can see your final destination with your own eyes, you feel like you are almost there. At least that’s how we felt.
Probably another 10-15 minutes from the valley, is the Pinnacles Hut. For some people this means the end of day one. For us, it meant a quick toilet brake. We were also hoping to leave our bag to the Hut but as the hut warden wasn’t present we decided to keep going with the bag.
The last 850m from the hut to the summit, started of rather easy. You will be walking on a wide and very gradual rising path. Don’t get hopeful though. This is just the “calm before the storm”. Soon enough, you will reach the wooden stairs of “hell”. Nothing wrong with the stairs but they feel endless. For us, that was by far the most difficult part of the whole hike.
After you have left the stairs behind the real adventure began. First, you will find yourself in an absolute surreal surroundings. The marvelous views over luscious Kauaeranga Valley, rock formations, ocean and many peaks could keep you on standby for a very long time.
Once you have finished admiring the surrounding you will move on and come across two metal ladders. The ladders sits on 90° angle and although they might look intimating they are not 🙂
From there on, you will start climbing up the rocks using metal hooks that are attached in the rocks. Again, some of the steps that you have to do are super long and probably not reachable for children on their own.
Although the climb might seem scary, it actually isn’t. The hooks are placed very safely and as long as you keep three point of contact you’ll be up in no time. For Estralians, climbing the ladders and rocks was the most interesting and easy part 😛
Reaching The Pinnacles Summit
We reached the top of The Pinnacles at 14:50 witch was 2,5 hours after we started our hike.
At the top on The Pinnacles there is a secure platform for you to admire the breathtaking views across Kauaeranga Valley, Coromandel Forest Park as well as both sides of the Coromandel.
As there wasn’t many people around during the time we were on the summit we used this picturesque spot on our favor and had lunch with a million dollar views 😛
Journey back to the car
Later, when we had finished with our lunch, we started heading back down. As you can imagine, the journey back down was much easier. The only thing you have to look out for are the slippery rocks, muddy parts and ladders.
Because most of the trail is inside a forest, the path doesn’t get much sun and thus could get very wet and slippery. While we didn’t find this a issue on our way up, there were quite a few moments on our way down when we almost slipped.
Altogether, with lunch and other brakes, it took us 5 and half hours to hike to The Pinnacles summit and back. It was an extraordinary hike for us and we are soo proud of ourselves for completing it. Not only was this a huge accomplishment for Estralians but also a great opportunity too admire the wild and luscious New Zealand nature, that we so much love.
Hike a Mountain! Your #mountain is waiting, so get on your way 🙂