Kauaeranga Valley / Pinnacles

Kauaeranga Valley / Pinnacles
Coromandel Forest Park

13 - 14 February 2010

For the weekend we headed to the Kauaeranga Valley in the Coromandel in preparation for our annual week long tramp in March 2010. I was joined by Jamie, Ryan, Angus, Alistair & Maree.

Day 1 Kauaeranga Valley road-end - Pinnacles Hut
Webb Creek Track via Hydrocamp
2.25 Hours
Day 2 Pinnacles Hut - Kauaeranga Valley road-end
Billy Goat Track via Hydrocamp

Day 1 (Saturday):

Left Auckland at 9.00am to head to Kauaeranga Valley near Thames which is a 1 3/4 hour drive. We first stopped at the service area on the Southern Motorway, where we all meet up together.

We continued onto DOC Kauaeranga Visitor Centre in Kauaeranga Valley to pickup and pay for our hut tickets. Unfortunately there is a requirement to book hut tickets in advance, luckily a big group pulled out earlier in the morning, which allowed us to stay in the hut. All of the campsites were booked out also (so our backup plan would not have worked either), I guess we were lucky. We then continued heading up the valley to the road-end.

We put our packs on and headed off up Webb Creek track. This was a first time for Maree doing these tracks and tramping this weekend, which gave her a challenge. The river level was low so we opted for the river crossings rather than the flood detours. Due to the heat of the day, we were all sweating a lot, so we took it at an easy pace. It took 1 3/4 hours to get to Hydrocamp.

Stopped for lunch break at Hydrocamp, it appears that DOC has been working hard here in the last year removing the gorse. The area is starting to return back how I remember it when I first did the trip back in 1998. We reached the hut about 35 minutes later.

For the rest of the afternoon we rested and played card games. About 5.00pm we all started beginning cooking dinner. Since this was only an overnight trip we all had fresh food. About 5.30pm we ate our dinner and cleaned up afterwards so the next shift of people could use the kitchen.

After this we all prepared ourselves to head up to the Pinnacles. We had set ourselves a challenge to find an old dead tree trunk to carry up to the top of the Pinnacles (like what we did back in 2002). We found a tree trunk and started carrying it up, which was hard work, we all took turns at this. Half way up we found a better and bigger tree trunk, so we carried this one up instead.

View from Pinnacles
View from Pinnacles | Photo Credit: Chris Foster

When we got to the top we managed to lodge the tree trunk in a gap between rocks. Due to the unusual shape of the end of the trunk it made a wicked sight. After this Jamie and Alistair ventured over to visit another Pinnacle. It was very windy up here at the top. We all decided to return back down to the Hut. You could see the tree trunk sticking out of the top of the Pinnacles from the Hut.

After this hard work we started winding down for the night by playing card games. The solar lights came on which allowed us to keep playing for another half hour before heading off to bed.

Day 2 (Sunday):

Today we were heading back home. Woke up about 7am and had breakfast. After breakfast we packed up. Once packed, we met up with the Hut warden (same as last time) to show him our handy work we did at the top of the Pinnacles. He also collected our hut tickets.

Due to the weather that came in overnight, we were surrounded by cloud. Our original intention was to go down the river, but assessing the situation lead us to change our plan to head down the Billy Goat Track instead.

With our wet weather clothing on we headed off back to Hydrocamp which took us 30 minutes. Had a quick break and then continued onto the Billy Goat Track. As we were heading along the track the weather started improving.

As usual we took a shortcut which involves bush bashing which took us directly back to the carpark. It appears that a new power pole/line was put in since last year because there was a new clearing. Finally crossed the river and got back to the cars.

So as per usual on our way home we stopped at Pokeno for big ice creams and lunch.



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