Hey everyone, been a while, as I haven’t been traveling much lately. But thats about to change as my dad is coming over. Some know that I moved from Auckland to Wellington in February and that has been quite the adventure by itself.
Regardless, fun stuff still needs to happen, and recently that has been more in the shape of one day trips. And I will post them in the form of short one-day stories.
Ever since the Tongariro Alpine Crossing more hikes have been on the back of my mind but none had happened until now.
The Pinnacles is another popular track in New Zealand located conveniently at the start of the Coromandel peninsula and thus close to Auckland. It will take about 3 hours to get to the top, so it’s perfectly fine to do it in one day. But if you fancy a bit more time you can also spend the night at a very nice DOC hut for little money.
We’ve been promised perfect weather on the sunday we leave Auckland. With temperatures rising to 26 degrees and clear blue sky it is just the right conditions I’d like to hike in.
We leave Auckland at 8am and take my newly acquired car on her maiden trip. The roads are smooth and empty and it takes us about an hour to get to Thames, a small back country town that marks the start of the Coromandel Forrest Park.
We turn into the national park and soon trade the tarmac for some solid gravel road. A sign of good things to come! It takes another 20 minutes to get to the end of the road where we can park the car and get ready for the ascent.
The track is another well maintained and well signed path by the DOC, so no fear of getting lost either.
The first two hours go by fast. The track is mainly up with lots of steps and some small river crossings covered by humid dense rain forest. Even though I’ve seen it many times by now, this lush vegetation still mesmerises me. You’ll definitely get a chance to sweat out all the toxics in your body, and in weather like this staying hydrated is important. We are feeling each one of those 26 degrees now.
Yet we power through and get at the DOC hut within 2 hours. I won’t deny that it wasn’t easy. Its the age kids! But the walk is doable for every one and all ages. Just avoid it if you have bad knees or heart issues. Other then that your tempo will be the determining factor.
The further up you go the less humid it gets, and the less dense the forest gets. A welcoming relieve because it makes room for a nice summer breeze that cools us down.
The DOC hut is great please to have a break and recharge. We rehydrate ourselves but save lunch for the Pinnacles. We can see our destination from the hut. The Pinnacles are a mere 45 minutes away and it energises us to get back on the track. Which we do.
This last part of our way up is the most challenging. Its a continuous steep climb all the way from the hut till the top. There was even some rock climbing and ladders involved. But all not for nothing. Once you reach the top its amazing. A beautiful 360 view of the Coromandel Forrest Park surrounded by exclusively green hills as far the eyes can see.
We spend a while on the top and got tipped by another traveler to climb around the viewing platform to get to an even more beautiful viewpoint. There we had our lunch and talked a bit to our new friend. We took some photo’s and enjoyed the great weather.
The way down ended up being more challenging then we both expected. We finished all our water on the way up, thinking the way down would be a quick hike. We were wrong. It took us just as long going down, as we did going up, and the heat was still sucking the energy out of us with every step we took. We fell victim of the ‘its-just-around-the-corner’ syndrome which only made it worse. At this point my blisters on my foot were starting to becoming quite the challenge too with having to carefully position my feet on the unstable rocky surface.
When we finally got back to the car park an euphoric feeling rushed over us and we have never been so happy to jump in a car.
The whole walk took us about 6 hours to do, but this new experience left a big smile on our faces all the way back to Auckland.
I’ve got some more stories on the way, including a near death experience. Stay tuned.