Kauaeranga Road end - Hydro Camp - 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 across the river, continue alongside it to Webb Creek, then follow the historic packhorse route, used by kauri bushmen in the 1920s to travel to logging sites in the upper Kauaeranga Valley, to Hydro Camp (1 hr 30 min - 2 hr). After crossing Webb Creek, you'll climb steps that were cut into rock to make the journey easier for the packhorses. Care is required in places at the rocks can be slippery. At the top of the climb, the remains of a skidded road is 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 the Hydro Camp, the 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 is a short walk down a signposted side track.
Facilities: 80 bunk beds, cooking, heating, lighting, mattresses
Look for the remains of the Dancing Camp Dam 5 min down a track from the hut. This stringer flume dam, built in 1921, was the second largest dam in the valley and was partly restored in 1994.
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
A steady climb, steep in places, follows a well constructed stepped path 1 km in length to the summit of the Pinnacles (759 metres). Here there are spectacular views of the bush, mountains and coastline of the eastern Coromandel. Take care at the summit.
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.
A few minutes further on, a 50 m side track 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 half hour to the Tarawaere car park, with a 300 m walk back along the road to the road end car park.
Time: 4 - 5 hr
Distance: 10.5 km
From the road end car park, walk to the swing bridge across the river, continue alongside it to Webb Creek, then follow the historic packhorse route to Hydro Camp. At the Hydro Camp junction take the Billygoat walking track back to the road end.