Coromandel Pinnacles - Is this hut for real?
What the …. We were woken up early by the sound of the cell phone alarms going off. It was time to make the 2 hour drive to the start of The Pinnacles Track. Packed with the all essential driving food we headed off in the car with the music cranking.
But every song's like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin' in the bathroom. Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room, We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams. LORDE
Winding round the corners we made it to the Kauaeranga Road end where we parked our car and got ready for another adventure. Today we planned to hike to the hut and then up to the pinnacles. We would be walking from the Kauaeranga Road end to Pinnacles Hut which would take 2.5 hours of leisurely walking. The sun was shining and we were ready for adventure.
With our sunglasses on it was time to start walking, the track starting at the end of the car park and we walked around to a swing bridge. I decided to cross the swing bridge while B decided to cross the river (the daredevil that he is, especially when considering that the water level was almost ankle hight). From the start we knew this track was going to be different. We continued uphill past mini waterfalls, forest and rock walls. We found a spot upon a rock that looked out over the Coromandel ranges and took a break. After a small snack we continued alongside the river to a Hydro Camp where we wet our faces with the cool water and wished we had brought our togs along for the hike.
The track continued uphill to a more open ridge with spectacular views of the east coast. On this part of the track we felt a bit like in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The path reminded us of old cobble stone roads of Greece and looked quite out of place in the middle of a hiking track. Soon the track began to drop down and we continued walking for about 10 minutes untill we reached The Pinnacles Hut.
Lord of the Rings filming location: The eerie scenes in The Return of the King as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride along the Dimholt Road to meet the Army of the Dead were filmed against the surreal backdrop of the Pinnacles.
The pinnacles Hut was large and as we walked in you could see that this was not a standard DOC hut by any means. You first walk past the toilets (Five to be exact) and along the path to the hut. At the hut there are two large bunk rooms with 80 beds, followed by a large kitchen with free gas and facilities and a deck which included a BBQ. Wow was this hut for real? There was even a cold shower, I was in heaven.
The Pinnacles Hut: Has a cold shower, solar lighting, BBQ, gas cookers and a solid fuel burner.
We sat down on one of the kitchen tables on the deck and had a small lunch. While eating we looked out towards the pinnacles, quite excited about making the 30 minute hike to the top. Once finished, we tucked away our gear on one of the bunks and off we went.
The Hike to the pinnacles was adventurous. It was a steady climb with steep parts in places, equipped with metal ladders and handles. The summit is at 756m and rewards you with spectacular views of the bush, mountains and coastline of the eastern Coromandel. We sat down with one other French couple and enjoyed the views.
Back at the hut we had a short shower and cooked a simple dinner, after which we were greeted by the DOC worker and her black Labrador. She checked that we had both paid our $15 hut fee and told us about the great view of the sunrise one can catch from the top of the pinnacles. That was it; B had got the idea in his head we would watch the sunrise in the morning. Early night for us as we would be waking up at 5am.
We woke up early and with our head torches on we headed up again to the top of the pinnacles. Unfortunately for us the weather was cloudy and we missed the sunrise. At 7:30am we decided to head back down to the Kauaeranga Road end. Today we would take the Billy Goat Circuit, an aternative route which would add an extra hour to the hike, but we decided it would be worth it.
Back at the Hydro Camp, we turned off following the sign indicating "Billy Goat", which followed a different path to the bottom. This historic packhorse route, which was quite steep in places, was used by kauri Bushmen in the 1920’s to reach the mulptiple logging sites throughout the ranges. Along the way we enjoyed some fantastic views of the Hauraki Plains. The track was partially layed out with old rail lines, which, now rusty and weathered, serve their new purpose as steps while still reminding of the old days. At the end of the track we emerged at the Kauaeranga River. Here we crossed the river and walked back to the car.
Exhausted we jumped in the car and headed to the visitors centre to purchase an ice cream. Yum! This walk was amazing and could be walked by any age group. We would recommend it to anyone who lives or is visiting New Zealand.
Mahi Pai Coromandel Pinnacles!