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The Pinnacles Walk – Kauaeranga Kauri Trail

They should really rename this walk ‘The Pinnacles Climb’! It is definitely more of a climb than a walk at 759 metres above sea level.
In saying that, if you have a bucket list then this walk should be on it. The views are breathtaking and so good for the soul.

How to get to The Pinnacles Walk:

Turn right into Bank Street beside the service station from SH25 at the southern entrance to Thames. Banks Street veers right into Parawai Road, which then becomes Kauaeranga Valley Road. Follow this road for 13 km to the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre. From here continue on the unsealed road for 9 kms to the end carpark.

This is where the track starts.

The Pinnacles Track:

Note – The track says 3 hours to the hut. It took me 1 hour 50. So please bare this in mind with my timing in the blog. 🙂
The first 5 minutes or so is pretty flat and easy, from there the next hour (yes hour) is mainly all up wooden stairs and rocks. I won’t sugar coat it… it is tough but trust me when I say it is worth it!
During this time you will cross 3 swing bridges and another small bridge. Perfect spots for photos and to catch your breath.
Once you hit the hydro dam the track flattens out a lot and you even get spoilt with some down hill walking. This is where you really start to see some pure New Zealand beauty with the trees, sea and summit in full view.
About 45 minutes from the Hydro Dam you will come across the sign stating the hut is only 5 minutes away! Such a good feeling. The next few minutes are all down stairs and you will know you hit the hut when your nose tells you… yes long drops! Very well maintained though so please do not stress. 🙂

The Hut:

The hut sleeps 80 people in 2 40 bed dorms. There is a well equipped kitchen and lots of space to sit and chill in the sun. Basins for brushing your teeth and showers… though the showers were out of order when I was there. It was a wet wipe shower before bed to try and feel a bit better after an afternoon of sweating!
Water needs to be boiled before drinking and even then it does not taste great… so make sure you take enough water to keep you hydrated.
Top Tip – Make sure you book the hut prior to going either online or at the visitor centre before you start walking. They turn you away otherwise and the hut was fully booked when I was there. I would suggest getting to the hut by mid afternoon at the latest if you want a decent bed.
Also do not take the bed closest to the door… you will be kept awake with people coming and going at all hours.
Ear plugs will also be great to avoid a long night of a men’s snoring choir!

The Summit: 

From the hut they estimate 50 minutes to the summit, though it only took me 20 minutes. I put that down to my 200 Mount Climbs last year!
The summit track has roughly 160 steps. Once past these you will come across 2 steel ladders followed by rocks and bolders with steel handles in them to help you get up.
Eventually you will reach the platform and if you decide to climb higher (up the pinnacles/rocks) for your Instagram photos then its up to you!
I went up to the summit for sunset and back again the next morning for sunrise. Highly recommend both if you stay overnight and weather permits.
My BIGGEST TIP would be to pack accordingly. I will be honest… I didn’t. With it being so hot lately it did not cross my mind that the summit would be cold or incredibly windy so I did not pack a jacket and boy was I freezing whilst waiting for the sunset.
I am just super lucky that an amazing couple gave me a spare hoody to keep me warm.
Definitely went more prepared for sunrise… I took my sleeping bag up! 🙂

The sun setting

The sun starting to rise

Me trying to get a good snap of the sunrise!


Beautiful sunrise at the top of the Pinnacles

This is reality – I look exhausted, no hair brushed, no makeup, no shower but so happy to be watching the sunrise up the pinnacles!

Heading back to the car after Sunrise, from the hut, only took 1 hour 20 minutes. Basically all down hill which was a nice change.
Make sure you stretch afterwards… all that pressure on your calf muscles takes its toll. Mine were so tight and sore the following day that I struggled to walk.
Also note you can do this walk in one day as well. You do not have to stay at the hut, but it is an interesting experience.

What to pack (if staying):

I noticed a lot of people packed quite a lot whereas I feel I went pretty light and I used everything I took.
Don’t think you need anything more (other than a jacket!)
– Change of walking clothes
– Pjs (I didn’t pack these.. just slept in my underwear)
– First Aid Kit
– Head Torch with batteries
– Wet Wipes
– Sleeping Bag
– Blow up pillow (Grabbed mine from Kmart for $2)
– Water x4 750ml bottles
– Food for lunch, dinner and breakfast along with snacks.
– Camera with charged batteries and sim card
– Sunblock
– Hat
– Sunnies
– Insect Repellant
– Toiletries – toothbrush/paste, hairbrush etc.
– Hiking Shoes or exercise shoes with grip (I just wore my normal exercise shoes)
– Jersey & Jacket! (It will be cold and most likely super windy at 759m)
– Energy & Good Vibes! 🙂
Nothing good in life comes without a little hard work, so don’t be put off by the thought of the climb. The view and satisfaction of reaching the summit is worth every minute of those stairs!
If you end up doing The Pinnacles Walk (or have done) let me know! 🙂
Thanks for reading.
Much love,
Sez x
Hiking is a bit like life…
The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other… again and again and again.
And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.

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