Kauaeranga Kauri Trail (Pinnacles Walk)

Walking & Cycling Trail

1 day - 2 days, medium difficulty

grade 1, grade 2, grade 3

About the trail
15 km loop. Three walking options.
This popular walk leads to Pinnacles Hut, and on to the summit of the Pinnacles with spectacular views of the Coromandel Peninsula. It can be completed as a day or overnight walk. Follow an historic packhorse route used by kauri bushmen in 1920s.

Dog friendly: No

Things to know

There is no flood detour at the end of the walk crossing the main Kauaeranga River. You must walk across the river. In high rainfall or flood events use the Webb Creek route only.


Walking options

  • Walk to Pinnacles Hut and summit as a day or overnight walk
  • Walk there and back on the Webb Creek Track (6 – 7 hr 30 min) or complete a circuit using the Webb Creek Track and the Billygoat Track ( 7 – 8 hr 30 min)
  • Sample the track and walk the shorter Billygoat Circuit

Kauaeranga Road end – Hydro Camp via Webb Creek Track – Pinnacles Hut

  • Time: 2 hr 30 min – 3 hr one way
  • Distance: 6 km

From the road end car park, walk to the swing bridge to cross the Kauaeranga River. Take the first track on your right which leads you for 5 minutes to Billygoat Landing. Here you see good views of the Billygoat Falls (180 m high).

Second on your right you keep follow the Webb Creek Track to Hydro Camp (1 hr 30 min – 2 hr). You'll climb steps that were cut into rock to make the journey easier for the packhorses during the kauri logging era. Care is required in places as the rocks can be slippery. At the top of the climb to the Hydro Camp clearing, the remains of a skidded road are visible beside the track. Skidded roads were made from small logs laid lengthwise with cross pieces forming the ‘skids’. Logs were pulled along the skids by teams of bullocks or steam haulers.

From Hydro Camp junction, take the Pinnacles Track which climbs and sidles around a hill before following a more open ridge. Enjoy impressive views down a branch of the Tairua River and the rugged volcanic landforms of Tauranikau and the Pinnacles.

Pinnacles Hut and Dancing Camp Campsite are a short walk down signposted side tracks. At the Dancing Camp Campsite, look for the remains of the Dancing Camp Dam, built in 1921. This stringer flume dam was the second largest dam in the valley, and was partly restored in 1994.

Bookings are required for Pinnacles Hut and Dancing Creek Campsite.

Pinnacles Hut

  • Category: Serviced
  • Facilities: 80 bunk beds, cooking, heating, lighting, mattresses, toilets - non-flush, water from tap - not treated, boil before use
  • Bookings required

Dancing Camp Campsite

  • Category: Backcountry
  • Facilities: 4 non-powered / tent sites, toilets - non-flush, water from stream
  • Bookings required

Return the same way, or return to the Hydro Camp and take the Billygoat Track back to the road end.

Side trip: Pinnacles Hut – Pinnacles

  • Time: 40 min one way
  • Distance: 1 km

A steady climb, steep in places, follows a well constructed stepped track. The final stage of the ascent includes climbing ladders. At the Pinnacles summit (759 m) there are spectacular views of the bush, mountains and coastline of the eastern Coromandel. Stay within the fenced summit platform.

Hydro Camp – Kauaeranga Road end via Billygoat Track

From the Hydro Camp, a steady 30-minute climb leads to a saddle with excellent views down the Kauaeranga Valley to the Hauraki Plains. A little further on, a knoll overlooks the Billygoat Basin. 

The first attempt to log this basin was made in the 1880s but was abandoned within a few years as driving logs down the Billygoat Falls proved too destructive. The basin was successfully logged in the 1920s after the construction of the Billygoat incline to bypass the falls, and the use of a steam hauler.

Drop down into Billygoat Basin and cross Billygoat Stream before passing through a clearing with basic camping facilities.

Billygoat Basin Campsite

  • Category: Backcountry
  • Facilities: 8 non-powered / tent sites, toilets - non-flush, water from stream
  • Bookings required

A few minutes further on, a 50 m sidetrack overlooks the site of the collapsed long trestle bridge, once part of the bush tramline. The trestle was 160 m long and 11 m above the ground at the highest point.

Back on the main Billygoat walking track, pass the junction for the Tarawaere and Hihi tramping tracks and follow the tramline through deep cuttings past two short trestles. Near the hauler site at the top of the incline there are good views of Billygoat Falls (180 m). From here it is another 40 min downhill to the Kauaeranga Valley Road which requires crossing the Kauaeranga River to the Tarawaere car park. Walk 300 m north along the road to get back to the road end car park.

Flood detour

There is no flood detour at the end of the walk crossing the main Kauaeranga River. You must walk across the river. In high rainfall or flood events use the Webb Creek route only.

Getting there

From SH25 at the southern entrance to Thames, turn right into Banks Street beside the service station. Banks Street veers right into Parawai Road, which then becomes Kauaeranga Valley Road.

Follow this for 13 km to the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre. The road continues unsealed a further 9 km to the road end. This is where the track starts.

Source: Department of Conservation

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Noel Leeming
Noel Leeming