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  • Writer's pictureRach Stewart


Guide to the Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog

Nestled in the ranges of the incredible and amazing Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by avid day hikers, overnight adventurers, nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. The Pinnacles Walk (Kauaeranga Kauri Trail) in the Coromandel Forest Park is one of the absolute best day hikes the North Island of New Zealand has to offer and can also be completed with an overnight stay making it perfect for photography during the golden hours.

Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog
Looking west from just below the Pinnacles Summit just after sunrise (ISO100, 17mm, F11, 1/100 sec)

This captivating journey through lush native bush, unveils some of the best panoramic vistas available over the Coromandel and beyond and it honestly seems straight out of a photographer's dream. The incredible diverse landscape of the Coromandel area can be seen from the Pinnacles Walk with views over stunning native bush, out to the coast, through amazing rock formations and the ocean horizon views are as far as the eye can see. As you lace up your boots and embark on this enchanting hike, prepare to be mesmerised by the rugged beauty of the Coromandel's landscapes, where when you reach the summit you'll think you've been transported to Hawaii or some other jungle paradise!

Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog
Waiting for sunrise from the Pinnacles Summit (ISO500, F11, 17mm, 1/50 sec)

In my Guide to the Pinnacles NZ Walk I'll share all the information you need to know, the best advice for photography, what gear you need to take and how to make the most out of this epic landscape with your camera.

If you're travelling through or to the Coromandel Region then the Pinnacles Track is a must do for anyone keen to see what this area of New Zealand is all about.

NZ Guide and Travel Map





Pinnacles Walk NZ Map Coromandel

Map from DOC Website

Distance: 7km one way (Webb Creek track)

Walking options:

You can complete the Pinnacles Walk as a day hike or stay overnight at the Pinnacles Hut.

There are two option to choose with the walking tracks:

  • The Webb Creek Track to Pinnacles Summit (14km returning on the same track - 7 to 8 hours)

  • The Webb Creek Track to Pinnacles Summit circuit using the Webb Creek Track and the Billygoat Track (15km: 8 – 9 hours)

Time: 7-9 hours return

Elevation gain: 826 metres

Difficulty: Intermediate (the track from the Pinnacle Hut to the Pinnacles summit is a little precarious and requires climbing up rungs and steep stairs carved in the rock face - think twice if you're not so good with heights)

Hut booking: If staying overnight, the Pinnacles Hut must be booked prior

Facilities: Toilets and cooking facilities available at the Pinnacles Hut

Kauri Protection Cleaning Station: please make sure you use the Kauri Dieback cleaning station when you reach it at the start of the hike. This is to protect New Zealand's native Kauri tree from the Dieback disease which is threatening all Kauri in the country.

Dogs: No

NZ Prints and Canvas



Canon 6D body

Canon 17-40mm lens

Filters (10 stop, 6 stop and 0.9nd grad)

Lightweight travelling tripod

Spare battery x 2, charger and spare memory card

Pinnacles Walk Sunrise Coromandel Blog
Looking west from the Pinnacles Summit Coromandel (ISO160, F11, 17mm, 1/50 sec)



Hiking Boots: A sturdy pair of hiking boots with good ankle support is essential for tackling the rugged terrain of the Pinnacles NZ Walk.

Water and Snacks: It's important to stay hydrated and energised during your hike. For dayhiking carry at least one litre of water per person and pack lightweight snacks such as energy bars, nuts, and fruits.

Overnight Stay: Cooking equipment and food. There are gas cookers available at the Pinnacles Hut but you will need to pack all your gear to cook with plus all utensils.

Sleeping bag if staying overnight and battery pack/s for charging.

Rain Gear: The weather in the Coromandel Peninsula can be unpredictable, so it's essential to pack waterproof rain gear. A lightweight rain jacket and pants will help keep you dry in case of rain.

Sun Protection: The New Zealand sun can be harsh, even on cloudy days. Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

First Aid Kit: It's always a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit containing essentials such as plasters, antiseptic cream, bandages, and pain relievers.



Pinnacles Track NZ Coromandel Blog
Looking west from the Pinnacles Summit Coromandel (ISO160, F11, 17mm, 1/100 sec)

The Pinnacles Track traces the path of an ancient Kauri logging route, leading you to the rocky and rugged summit of the Pinnacles. Whether tackled in a single day or as an overnight expedition, with accommodation available at the spacious and well equipped Pinnacles Hut, this journey promises awe inspiring views and memorable experiences.

For those opting for a day trip, the return trip from the carpark to the summit typically takes around 7 to 8 hours.

Yet, the true magic of this hike unveils during the enchanting moments of sunset and sunrise from the summit. Overnight stays significantly ease the ascent or descent in darkness, enhancing the overall experience.

From the carpark, a 3 hour trek leads to the hut, followed by a 30 - 45 minute climb to the peak.

Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog
The view down the valley from just below the Pinnacles Summit after sunrise (ISO100, F11, 23mm, 1/100 sec)

The Pinnacles Walk in the Coromandel, or the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail, was one of the first walks I ever did solely for photography and I decided to take on this one as it was fairly close to home (3 hours) and the photos I had seen were absolutely incredible. I knew I had to see these views for myself and I set about it pretty quickly to organise completing the Pinnacles Track with my best friend.

The views from the Pinnacles Summit are truly an incredible sight and I recommend that every landscape photographer have a go at getting to the top and seeing these views for themselves.

There are two options available to when it comes to the Pinnacles NZ Walk and returning back to the carpark.



From the trailhead (large green DOC sign with yellow writing saying Kauaeranga Kauri Trail) follow the sign for the Pinnacles Hut. The trail starts off on a fairly easy well maintained path until the end of Webb Creek, then you'll really get into the climbing and ascent.

Make your way up the stone stairs and boulders and carry on until you reach the Hyrdo Camp. This is a nice flat spot to take a rest, have a snack and then prepare for the rest of the ascent to the Pinnacles Hut.

NZ Guide and Travel Map

Continue on up the trail and then once you pass the Rangihau track junction signpost you've only got about 10 minutes to go until you reach the Hut!

From the Hut the track continues up to the Pinnacles summit. It takes around 40 minutes of straight up ascent to the top of the pinnacles rock formations. The track is steep, a bit scary at times with huge boulders, ladder rungs etched into the rock, height issues to overcome .. but it is so worth it to be standing at the top with the incredible 360 views to look out on to.



There is the option to return to the carpark via The Billy Goat track which is slightly longer and more difficult but grants you different views and a view of the Billy Goat Falls.

Pinnacles Walk NZ Billygoat Falls
Exploring above the Billygoat Falls Coromandel Pinnacles Track



Situated at an elevation of 582 meters, the Pinnacles Hut stands out as one of the largest within New Zealand's extensive network of backcountry huts with an impressive capacity of 80 bunk beds. Managed by the Department of Conservation, it is truly a welcome sight after the ascent you would have just completed on the Pinnacles Track!

A lot of hikers tend to spend a night at the hut before continuing their ascent up to the summit for sunrise or at some point the following day.

The Fees are:

Sunday to Friday

Adult (18+ years): $25 per night

Child/youth (5-17 years): $12.50 per night

Infant (0-4 years): free


Adult (18+ years): $30 per night

Child/youth (5–17 years): $15 per night

Infant: (0-4 years): free

To secure a bunk you need to book in advance through the DOC website. It gets quite busy over the weekends and through the school holiday periods so if you can try and book early on to avoid missing out on a bed.

Equipped with running water (cold only) and traditional long drop toilets, the hut offers basic amenities and cooking facilities, a fireplace for warmth, toilets and lots of room in the dining area to play cards etc.

When you reach the hut and are staying the night make sure you place your gear on a bunk bed before you do anything else!

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In October quite a few years ago my best friend and I hiked up the Pinnacles track in the evening due to work restraints and being able to make the most of the time we had off from our jobs at the time. It meant that we missed out on a sunset option from the summit of the Pinnacles but I had my heart set on sunrise so it was definitely worth it hiking up in the dark.

We woke up super early and made our way up in the 40 minute track to the summit in the dark. The wind was absolutely blowing a gale and it was actually raining at the time! No matter what I really wanted to try for a view from the top so we went up anyway.

Once at the top the clouds cleared and I was greeted with the most epic views of the sun rising from the ocean and lighting up the ranges and incredible rock faces in front of us.

Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog
Looking east from the Pinnacles Summit Coromandel just after sunrise (ISO250, F11, 17mm, 1/80 sec)

It was quite a challenge keeping my tripod still in the wind and trying to get photos in the gusts that were blowing us around but I did manage to get a few that I am forever happy with.

NZ Guide and Travel Map



In my option the best time to hike the Pinnacles Walk in the Coromandel is during the New Zealand Spring and Summer months - October to March. The hours are longer but the weather is a lot nicer and warmer than hiking during winter.

Pinnacles Walk NZ Coromandel Blog
Valley views from the Billy Goat Track, Pinnacles Coromandel



An absolute resounding yes! The view from the Pinnacles summit is one of the best in the North Island of New Zealand and especially in the Coromandel Region.

If you are interested in prints of any of the New Zealand Landscape Photography seen in this blog, please feel free to head on over to my New Zealand Photography Print Store and have a little look around.


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