How To Get There
The start of the tramp is at the road-end of the Kauaeranga Valley Road approximately 20 kms from Thames, the nearest town with supplies. To access Kauaeranga Valley Road, take the first right after (or first left before if coming from Thames) the Kauaeranga River bridge on State Highway 25 onto Banks St. Turn right at the T-junction at the end of Banks onto Parawai Road and this soon becomes Kauaeranga Valley Road.
When staying at Pinnacles Hut, you must book a bunk and the easiest way to do this is to call (+64 78679080) the DOC Visitor Centre on Kauaeranga Valley Road. You also pick up your hut pass from the Visitor Centre. There are a numerous DOC campsites along the Kauaeranga Valley Road if you wish to stay in the area the night before or after.
The start of the track to the Pinnacles Hut is at the northern end of the road-end car park. After ten minutes the track crosses a wire bridge to the true left of the Kauaeranga River and follows on this bank for a further thirty minutes to the junction with the track to Moss Creek Campsite. This is an alternative, and long, route to the hut and is probably best suited for experienced and fit trampers as the DOC employee at the Visitor Centre said that along parts of the route you'd be wading waist deep in boggy terrain.
The main track to Pinnacles Hut turns right at the junction to follow Webb Creek and begin its steady climb up to Hydro Camp. It takes about two hours to make this steep climb to the old camp site which makes a good spot for a break.
From Hydro Camp there is a short climb to sidle around an un-named peak. On descending from this part of the track there are stunning views of the impressive Tauranikau peak. The track continues along a ridge following a power-line and about an hour from Hydro Camp the track meets up with the Moss Creek route and descends towards the hut with the majestic Pinnacles towering in the background. In total it is about a three to four hour tramp from the road-end to the Pinnacles Hut via the Webb Creek route.
The Pinnacles Hut consists of three buildings - two bunkhouses, sleeping forty each, and a cooking room with some tables and benches. There are gas-powered cooking facilities plus solar lighting. There's also an open-topped cold shower for the brave. There are more tables and benches outside on couple of verandahs with great views of the Pinnacles.
From the hut the climb to the Pinnacles can be done in just under an hour, allowing 90 minutes return. The track is well marked with steps provided to climb up some of the more rocky terrain. Towards the peak, there a couple of steep metal ladders to clamber up plus hand and foot bars embedded in the rocks to assist your climb. The final section is not for the faint-hearted but the views from the top are amazing.
To return there is an alternative route via the Billy Goat track which is aptly named! From the Pinnacles Hut return to Hydro Camp and then follow the Billy Goat track as it climbs to follow a ridge line southward. Along the ridge there are some splendid views of the Coromandel.
After just under two hours the track reaches a junction near the remains of an old logging trestle bridge. The main route is off to the right which leads steeply downhill to the car park, whilst the other route takes longer to reach Kauaeranga Valley Road via Tarawaere stream. The direct route drops steeply following an old tramway straight down the side of the hill. Remains of the tramway are still in place.
An hour after the junction a quick river crossing is negotiated to reach the road about 200m from the car park, again about four hours from Pinnacles Hut.
This is a great tramp for beginners, whilst the climbs are steep, the days are not long and less gear is required with cooking facilities kindly provided by DOC at the hut - there's even an old BBQ. It would be a great introduction tramp for novices or a cobweb-remover for recently inactive trampers. Of course the track gets busy but with a booking system you are guaranteed a bunk at the end of the day.