- 8 hrs return
- 3 hrs one way to the hut plus 40 min to the summit
- Intermediate walk/Easier tramping track
- Log the trip with someone and check in on your return
- Stay on the track and viewing platform
- Use swing bridges for all river crossings
Reaching the summit of the Pinnacles should be something every Kiwi does at least once! The lush green Kauaeranga Valley located upriver from Thames is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s hidden playgrounds. There are many popular historic walks in the foothills of the valley, but the walk to the intriguingly-shaped summit of the Pinnacles on the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail rates as one of New Zealand’s most popular day walks, and certainly one of the most accessible. The Pinnacles can be walked in one day if you're reasonably fit. You should allow 8 hours to do the loop from the car park at the road end.
Many make it an overnight adventure with a stay in the 80-bed DOC hut near the top. But do book a bed well in advance if you are planning this option. The Kauaeranga Visitor Centre is well worth a visit, and you can also log your walk there too.
Check Before You Go
The Pinnacles Travel Tips
Track Guide & Safety Information
Plan & Log Your Trip
Book The Hut
Hear From Those Who've Explored
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Wildboy climbs The PinnaclesBrando Yelavich is a New Zealand adventurer and explorer and the first person to walk the whole 8300km of coastline of New Zealand. Brando was…
A Novice In Nature’s PlaygroundBy Emma Darragh. I said yes with mixed emotions. Canyoning in the Kauaeranga Valley sounded like something at the farthest reaches of my comfort…
The Pinnacles are the craggy volcanic peaks of the Coromandel Forest Park. To access The Pinnacles head up the Kauaeranga Valley, behind the town of Thames. Up the road 13 km from Thames is the Kauaeranga Valley information centre, where you can find out more about the walk and the history, flora and fauna you will encounter along the way. It is worth factoring in the time to visit the centre.
The road-end carpark and start of the Pinnacles walk up the Webb Creek track are at the foot of the ranges, 9 km along an unsealed road past the Kauaeranga Valley Visitor Centre.
Please note The Pinnacles cannot be accessed from the east coast near Tairua/Pauanui. Directions on Google Maps may suggest approaching The Pinnacles from the east via Hikuai, but this track is rough and unformed, and results in a multi-day challenging journey (and maybe an emergency call to LandSAR). You must drive up the Kauaeranga Valley behind Thames and walk in from the western side of the Coromandel Ranges.
The Pinnacles Walk follows the stone steps constructed for packhorses which carried supplies for kauri loggers, gum diggers and gold miners who plundered the area in the early 1900s.
The stunning 3-hour walk to the base of the craggy Pinnacles summit traverses groves of nikau palms, huge rata trees, and across streams and swingbridges. Crossing the streams you can imagine the roar of huge torrents of water and logs rushing past as the trip dams upstream were released sending thousands of kauri downstream towards Thames. Allow an extra 40 minutes one way from the hut to climb the stairs and ladders to the summit lookout platform of The Pinnacles.
For those who stay overnight, an early start the next morning will see you clambering carefully up the peak with your head torch to see the first rays of sun over the Pacific Ocean and the eastern offshore islands of The Coromandel. You’ll want a good head for heights but will be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views of The Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty, Hauraki Gulf and the Plains.
On the return walk you can take an alternative route from Hydro Camp and follow the Billygoat Track tramline which also transported logs from the hills, past the Short Trestle and Billygoat Falls before emerging back at the Kaueranga River.
Huts up the Kauaeranga Valley
Staying overnight in the Pinnacles Hut (the largest DOC hut in the country) is five-star luxury as far as back-country camping goes. Sitting on the deck at night you can hear kiwi and ruru (morepork) calling as you watch the mist gather over the Pinnacles above.
For those venturing further afield, Crosbies Hut is located on the Memorial Loop Track off the Main Range Track, approximately 12 km northeast of Thames. The hut can be accessed from a number of tracks, with two access points from Thames township (Waiotahi and Karaka), two off the Thames Coast Highway (SH 25) (Te Puru and Waiomu) one off the Tapu-Coroglen Road and one from the Kauaeranga Valley. The Waiotahi Track can be extremely muddy in wet weather. Allow 4 to 6 hours for all access tracks to Crosbies Hut.