Kauaeranga Valley / Pinnacles

Kauaeranga Valley / Pinnacles
Coromandel Forest Park

8 - 12 March 2002

People Attended: Chris, Jamie, Ryan, Alistair, Angus (V. Leader) & Trevor (Parent)

Day 1 Kauaeranga Valley road-end - Pinnacles Hut
Webb Creek Track via Hydrocamp
1.6 Hours
Day 2 Pinnacles Hut - Pinnacles - Various routes 6.4km
Day 3 Pinnacles Hut - Kauaeranga Valley road-end
Billy Goat Track via Pinnacles & Hydrocamp

Day 1 (Friday):

It all started mid Friday afternoon where we left Auckland for the Pinnacles hike.  Alistair & Trevor left early to dodge the traffic.   Angus, Jamie & Ryan left later on in the afternoon.  Chris flew back to Auckland from Wellington, where Chris was working for the last few days.

The plan was that Chris’ mum was going to pick Chris up from the airport and meet up with Angus at the BP service station on the southern motorway.

Unfortunately it did not turn up that way, the 4x4 that Chris’ mum was driving encountered engine troubles at Greenwoods Corner and could not get to the airport. Fortunately that Angus was only around the corner and was able to pick up Chris’ gear the 4x4 and then headed to the airport to pick Chris up.   Once Chris got picked up from the airport, headed to the Coromandel in BOXY. Arrived at base camp (car park) an ½ hour after Trevor & Alistair left for the Pinnacles Hut.  Once we got the packs on 20 minutes later, we headed up to the Pinnacles Hut.

As we made our way up the track, the sun began to set slowly, it started to get dark. Had a rest ½ way up the valley where we were all sweating a lot, had to take our soaking t-shirts off and now only wearing the polyprop. It took approx 1 hour to get to Hydrocamp. From Hydrocamp we could see the stars in the sky and was time to have a quick break.  To continue hiking in the dark, we had to turn our torches on so we could see the loose rocks on the track.

After 40 minutes of hiking we reached the Pinnacles Hut, where we met up with Trevor & Alistair. Also met up with our warden ‘Grant’, who was the warden last time at the hut.  There was a relaxed warm atmosphere at the hut, as there were a few other people. Chris, Jamie, Ryan & Alistair as always played Mao, afterwards we went to bed.

Day 2 (Saturday):

Out motto for the weekend was to answer any unanswered challenges.

The first challenge for the day was shortly after breakfast. The challenge was to get to the top of the Pinnacles as fast as you can. The current record was 21 minutes. We all participated in this race, excluding Trevor, our camera man. The record was beaten by Angus who took 17mins 15secs to reach the top. Jamie, Ryan & Alistair took around 20mins, Chris took 23mins and Trevor took 30mins.

After 50mins at the top to grab our breath, we descend back down to the hut.  Half way down we found a log of a dead tree and put it next to the track to take back up to the top of the Pinnacles for the Sunday morning challenge. The record time was recorded in the log book at the hut.

Had a rest for a couple of hours and asked advice from the warden, to what challenge we should do next. The challenge was set by the warden that would take the afternoon. Had an early lunch and then set off for a challenge.

First it was to climb up a small hill, which was partially marked by white markers. Reached the top and took on the advice given by the warden by taking the bearing of a kauri dam. Then we had to bush bash our way down, loosing our sense of direction, cut by kuttigrass, and by fluke we found the dam. Had a rest at the dam and looked at the structure, some of us even climbed onto the dam. Shortly after we started to follow a small stream, which did not contain much water.

Reached to the part where there was a waterfall in the middle of nowhere. We were unable to go directly down, as it was too dangerous. So we managed to go inland a little and get down to the bottom of the waterfall safely. Continued following the stream down to where it meet up with a river. Had a small smoko break. After this we continued down the river to another dam, where only the base of the dam still exists. This is where we had our final break of our challenge. We explored underneath the dam structure, as it was very interesting. Also had a rock throwing competition, trying to knock a rock over from a distance while standing on top of the dam.

After this fun, we trampled our way back to camp by taking a steep track uphill and crossing a few valleys. Arrived back at the hut some 4 hours later. We told the warden how much we enjoyed this challenge, he proposed to us a challenge for next Pinnacles hike is that to take the river the whole way down the valley, which requires ropes, etc.

In the evening we played Mao, then had an early dinner (before the rush) and watched a new slide show showing biodiversity in New Zealand, it was interesting as it included sound tracks of bird calls and colour slides.

Day 3 (Sunday):

On Sunday morning we went up the Pinnacles to take our log up to the top, to show that we have been there. We did not race up as we did not need to, but we had to carry the trunk up. Managed to get the log up to the top, wedged the log in between a couple of rocks at the top and make the Pinnacles 2 metres higher. This log could be seen from the hut, it looks the part of the skyline.  We told the warden to alter the maps to be 2 metres higher because of our log… hehehe.

After a rest at the hut and preparing to go back down the valley to home, we started heading for Hydrocamp, it took about 25 minutes. Had a rest and then continued on the Billy Goat Track, which is one of the longer ways down the valley.

Had a lunch break down by the river crossing about an hour from base camp. Same as last Pinnacles hike, we took the last short cut down the valley that cuts about ½ hour off the track time. Reached the cars about 2pm.

From here we headed back home, but stopping at Pokeno for a big ice creams. We all had an enjoyable weekend.



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