Usually when I go hiking I take my camera but this time, I took the GoPro. If you want to skip the detail for now, here’s a summarised video of the track and hut.
Pinnacles Walk – Kauaeranga Kauri Trail
- 3 hours to Pinnacles Hut
- 90 minutes return to Pinnacles and back to the hut
- 4 hours from Pinnacles hut to car park via Billygoat Track
- $15 adult/night, $7.50 child/youth/night (5 -17 years), preschool free (0 – 4 years).
- Bookings https://booking.doc.govt.nz/Menu.aspx?sg=KKT
The history of the area is very interesting. Kauri trees once covered this entire area but it was cut down by the first settlers in the 1870’s until 1920’s. Today we only have a few Kauri left and unfortunately those trees are endangered due to a disease that is wiping them out.
Kudos to DOC rangers who look after the huts and tracks.
The drive to the track start is about 2 hours from Auckland city, we left 7am Friday morning so missed the traffic. We started on the Thames side, there are many hikes around this area but this is the most popular way to get to the hut.
I use ViewRanger when ever I’m hiking, its an app to help me find my way around in the bush
The route we took, Kauaeranga Kauri Trail – Pinnacles – Billy Goat Track. The walk starts at Kauaeranga Road end and follows the road for 1km. The first swing bridge crosses Webb Creek. From there its uphill, leg day all the way.
Steps were cut into the hill by the loggers to make it easier for the packhorse’s. Life wouldn’t have been easy for the horses but I’m happy someone thought of making steps to ease the pain a bit.
About 2 hours later we arrived at Hydro Camp. There are remains of a skidded road. Logs were pulled along the skids by teams of bullocks or steam haulers. Shannon made us Somosas for lunch, vegetarian and delicious. Check out her recipe: http://hakunamakitchen.com/2015/11/01/week-43-samosas/
After a nice hearty lunch we headed off, straight up again. After an hour we reach the hut.
I’ve stayed in many huts throughout New Zealand but this one by far is the largest. It sleeps 80 and as you can see the kitchen is ample for hikers. There were 30 people the night we stayed and I thought that was cosy enough.
After a well deserved rest and feed we headed up to the pinnacles. The sign to the peak says 50 mins but we got to the top in 30. It’s also 1km pretty much straight up too. Some of it is rock climbing. You can see it all on my video above.
The terrain was caused by volcanic eruptions, I’m not sure where the volcano was. The information boards along the track have faded so we couldn’t read the ending which is clearly a vital part we missed. Once you have soaked in the views, it’s a quick run down to the hut. Your legs will feel like jelly by the time you get back.
Shannon pulled out the cards we played spoons, awesome game. We roped in an Auckland couple, an Australian and a Swede. Great stories exchanged especially from the Australian girl who is hiking the length of New Zealand. She walked 9 hrs in this rugged terrain, we walked 3 hours… we no longer complained after hearing her story.
Take warm clothes, the hut is at sub-alpine altitude so temperatures are 4-6 degrees lower. I have a -10 sleeping bag but I still slept with my thermals, socks, beanie and gloves on. I also woke up about 4am feeling like I was sleeping in an oven but the point is, be prepared.
The next day we headed back down the track then turned off at Billygoat Track, which takes you up another hill and over the saddle. From then on its good, the track is on the old tramway. We follow the hill-side for a while and then the tramway/track drops straight over the edge. 100 years ago the ancient Kauri logs were transported on this tramway. The logs weighed tonnes and to stop it would have been an engineers nightmare. The loggers would also dam up the rivers then release the logs, destroying anything in their way.
Not only was the tram an exciting part to see it was also the worst section of the entire track. Its step and when you have a full pack on your back its tough on the knees.
The last part of this hike is the river crossing, the swing bridge is no longer there so be careful when making the decision to come this way. Crossing is fine when the river is low.
As you can see there was a bit of climbing on this hike but it was definitely worth it.
Have fun and stay safe 🙂