....or wuss out like I did.Yep, that's right, I wimped out and sent my camera on to the summit without me. I love hiking up big hills, but I'm not great with sheer drops. And the top bit of the Pinnacles is sheer.From the Pinnacles hut, our small group followed the steep track, mostly steps and boardwalk. The climb gets steeper and steeper, and...more
Just a couple of minutes walk from the Pinnacles hut is the Dancing Camp kauri dam. Dams like this one were used by logging crews to dam up valleys in steep, inaccessible areas, and the felled kauri trees were stacked up and then driven down the valleys, carried by the torrent of released flood waters. The force of the water would destroy...more
Please heed the warning signs to only have One person on the swing bridge at a time. A few years ago some people abused these warning signs and resulted in a big group of them being killed when a platform collapsed from excessive overloading. Besides, it's far more enjoyable and manageable to cross a swingbridge alone, you can get into your own...more
Never enter the hills or bush in New Zealand without a jacket. We are not a tropical country and it's likely the weather can change without notice and turn very cold. Sometimes the winds and rain seem to come directly from Antarctica and can turn a lovely hot day into a very cold and chilly miserable one.A good water and windproof jacket is...more
Luggage and bags:
A good backpack. Line it with a plastic bin liner, and if it doesn't have a showerproof cover, make one of your own with another bin liner. The New Zealand bush is dense and green for a reason - it rains!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I wouldn't do this walk without decent walking boots. It covers a fairly steep route over sometimes slippery, rough rocky pathways. Take a waterproof coat, or grab a cheap waterproof poncho from one of the outdoor shops in nearby Thames. Carry a change of clothing - it was such a relief to get out of my wet gear when we got to the hut.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Leave the girlie shower gel at home. Unless you really fancy a freezing cold shower.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a sleeping bag and the ability to share a room with up to forty complete strangers.
Miscellaneous: Although the DOC website says cooking gear isn't provided, the hut does have a number of stove billies, the odd plastic plate and a couple of kitchen odds and ends. But best to bring what you need. Bring easy-cook camping fare and make sure your pack has room for a bottle of fortifying red wine. Two maybe. All uneaten food does need to be carried back out again, but empty bottles don't weigh so much as full ones ;-)
Mostly the track is easy for walking, albeit uphill all the way to the hut though! Being a volcanic area, there are a lot of rocks around, and as you see here, someplaces where the steps are carved. they are a nice size and not too large to trudge up with a pack on back. Originally they were carved for pack ponies from the gold mining days, but...more
New Zealand was covered in forest before mankind arrived, and we had some amazingly large hardwood trees. When the pioneers came they felled most of these for use in building sailing ships as they were hard and tall and straight. Perfect for their needs. Now the few remaining specimens of these trees, have been sought to build furniture....more
Not all the steps are uniform and similar to a staircase. Here you see just some minor chiselling just to make foot placements to assist hikers. I guess this was formed for the ponies too, thanks very much. There is a lot of clays up in these hills, so can be very slippery when wet. And this is a high rainfall area, so being wet is a very real...more
From Thames, this is a 14km slow drive along a windy and sometimes skinny road, followed by a 3 hour uphill trek, which for me took 4 hours as I am not very fit. We were overnighting at the Hut, so had packs with gear on our backs.
After settling in at the hut, you can then walk on either that same day or next morning, to hike up to the summit of The Pinnacles. This is made easy by leaving your packs at the Hut and just wearing coats on this climb. The weather can turn quickly and the wind can be cold up there, so I do advise taking jackets.
Fondest memory: This further trek, from the Hut to the Summit, takes around an hour one way. We spent some time on the lookout platform, which makes the stay much easier given that you are not hanging on to the side of a rock! I phoned a few friends while up there, at last we had cellphone reception, haha.