Though we've seen and done so much this summer in New Zealand it seems like my list of to-dos in this magnificent country just gets longer and longer. So much to do, so much to see and not least: so many mountains & famous walks to conquer! oh yes NZ is totally making me the out-door type...
Planning our last month here before we're heading to Europe one of the spots we really wanted to hit was The Pinnacles mountain range on the Coromandel Peninsula. A famous 1-2 days walk through beautifully rugged mountains and located just a couple of hours drive from our current home in Mount Maunganui. And as it's on the way to Auckland it was perfect to combine with last week's mission up there for a Shanghai-reunion event - a bit of calm before the storm, if you will...
The Pinnacles Walk
I was "warned" that the Pinnacles walk has a lot of steps. Like really a lot. I felt quite energetic on our Thursday hike up and I really enjoyed following the many original steps constructed in the early 1900s for transporting logs through the resource rich mountain forest. There's a bit of history to read and see on the way up so it's both a very beautiful and informative hike! And as it most often turns out: the advertised 3.5 hour hike to the hut only took us 2.5 hours.
Conquering the Pinnacles in 2 Days and Staying in the Pinnacles Hut
The Pinnacles track can easily be conquered in 1 day but it's a popular overnight walk as the Pinnacles Hut is just 40 minutes from the peak and by staying here one can easily enjoy sunset, sunrise or both from the top of the Coromandel Mountain Range. Another reason for the popularity of the over-night option might be that the Pinnacles Hut also happens to be an amazing facility and perfect for first-timers to try an overnight walk in all its glory & hassle (yes that's me!).
After a beautiful sunset from the hut, a simple dinner and a chat with a couple of the other 12 overnight hikers I had a so-so sleep (sleeping hall syndrome) before we rose an hour before sunrise. In the dark we hiked 30-40 minutes to the peak - this being the absolute most challenging part of the Pinnacles Walk and perhaps the most challenging ascend I've in New Zealand this summer/autumn. Darkness, wetness, windyness and a very excitingly designed way to climb to the peak (we're talking big rock "steps", simple iron staircases and lots of uneven ground).
Well "through struggles comes glory" (that's a saying ay?) and the glory of being on top of the Pinnacles Mountain Range by ourselves as the day woke up with the rising sun was in-describable. The 2 half days walks were tiny in comparison to the nature experiences I got in return. The feeling of being in one with nature, with life and with the universe. That's just about how you feel when you wake up and see the sun rise at a mountain peak!