Travel Story | Hiking the Pinnacles

by Flip Flop Wanderers

During our time in Hot Water Beach, we did different kinds of fun things in the Coromandel. One of those things was a hike to the Pinnacles, the highest point of the Coromandel at 759m. You can choose to do this hike in one day, but then it will be a super tough and long hike, or you can choose to stay the night in the Pinnacles hut on the top. We decided to do the latter, which was the first time we ever stayed in a DOC (the department of conservation of NZ) hut! And because it was a super cool experience, we wanted to give it the honor it deserves, by writing a separate blog about it.

Read our travel story about working at Hot Water Beach – part 1!

This hike was definitely one of the hardest hikes we have ever done in our lives. While it wasn’t super long to hike to the hut on the first day, the hike consisted of VERY steep climbing and scrambling over rocks, and that for many hours long! BUT once we finally reached the top, the view was absolutely worth it and looks like nowhere else in the world.

Amazing views over the Pinnacles – on the left is the top

Starting early in the morning

Let’s start at the beginning. On the 31st of January and the 1st of February, we got 2 days off from work to do this hike. We had to do it now because from the 13th of February the hike would close for a longer period and we definitely wanted to see the Pinnacles!
So the night before we started we already drove to the town Thames after work. This town is closest to the hike, so we stayed the night there at a campground so that we could leave early the next morning.

Bram at the start of the Pinnacles hike

The next morning we rose early and made ourselves ready for the tough hike we were going to face. We packed our stuff to stay overnight and prepared some lunch and dinner. Then we drove to the start of the hike where the fun was about to start!

Sub-tropical forest

Crossing a swing bridge

The Pinnacles walk started easy and soon we ran into a beautiful swing bridge that crossed a small river.

The path continued through beautiful sub-tropical forests with many fern trees and after a while we came along a direction sign. We had to go uphill and we thought this was pretty steep, not knowing what still had to come…

We thought this was already steep :P

Over a landslide

We had to cross a river that was silted up by a landslide (which was one of the reasons the track was closed for repairs 2 weeks after we did the hike). Before the landslide, there apparently was another swing bridge but it’s washed away. From here we had the first nice views of the mountains:

A bit further down the track was a flat rock with a little pond. We decided this was the ideal spot to have some lunch and a rest.

Perfect place to rest isn’t it?

A steep and tough hike

The hike already became much tougher and after our well-deserved rest, it wasn’t going to change. The steep stairs with high steps of uneven rocks that continued for so long made the climb up very slow and hard.

Although it was tough, we had some awesome views along the way:

First glimpse of the Pinnacles

We had to cross the third swing bridge and a bit further the scenery changed. Instead of walking through the bush it was much more open now and many steps later we could see the pinnacles!

The views were so amazing, and then we ran into the signpost ‘Pinnacles Hut 10 min’. Wat a relief, only 10 more minutes on a path that was much easier now. And then it was there! After a 4 hour steep climb we arrived at the Pinnacles hut!

Staying in a DOC hut

It was our first time staying in a DOC hut. They explained to us some of the rules and showed us around. It has two massive rooms with a lot of ‘family’ bunkbeds. It has room for 80! people. Luckily we were doing this midweek and there weren’t many others.

We told the ranger about our plans to go to the top of the Pinnacles early morning to watch the sunrise, but he told us the view might be limited because of the weather. That’s why we decided to go up to the top to watch the sunset after dinner and a good rest.

Up to the Pinnacles with ‘sunset’

So that’s what we did. This was the steepest part of the track, but it’s less than half an hour. The views of going up are already insane!

Almost at the top, we had to climb two ladders and there were also some brackets mounted into the rocks to help with the steep climb.

And then we were at the top, where you could really see the Pinnacles. The view was so incredible!

Unfortunately it was very cloudy, but we could see the sun coming through the clouds in the back.

We saw someone else that climbed another top, and that made such an awesome shot that Bram had to do the same. It wasn’t really safe to get there because you had to cross a landslide and walk along steep cliffs (Mom, you should not be reading this part :p). But the view from the top was absolutely amazing!

We made so many photos on the top of this mountain, looking over the Pinnacles. It was so spectacular even though there was no sunset at all.

Misty views at the Pinnacles

We went back to the hut when it was getting dark and had some chats with the other guests before going to bed early.
For the next day, we had set our alarms early for the sunrise, but as mentioned by the ranger the weather was really bad so we decided to sleep a little longer. After breakfast, we went up to the top of the Pinnacles again anyway. The view was really bad, the clouds were really low and you couldn’t see half of what we saw yesterday.

On the left Manon yesterday – on the right Manon today

Back down again

We headed down again, and although we were going down, because of the big steps it was still pretty hard and slow to go there. We hoped we would be a bit quicker, but not really. We had some light rain too, that turned into heavy rain towards the end, so that didn’t make it much better. We were so done with it and were very happy when we finally were back in our van again!

It was an absolute awesome hike, but man, it was tough! Still, we recommend it to everyone if you ever are in the area!

Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing


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