Kauaeranga Valley Rd partly open / Pinnacles Hut open / Bridge closed at Billygoat track
17 July 2014:
The Kauaeranga Valley Rd is open to foot traffic but closed to vehicles beyond Hotoritori campground (3 km past the visitor centre) due to major erosion. Trampers intending to do a day walk to the Pinnacles need to consider the extra time to walk 6 km to the road end before starting the track.
Pinnacles Hut is now open.
Webb Creek walking track is in order but the bridge at the bottom of the Billygoat walking track has been closed due to flood damage meaning people will have to cross through the river at this point. Given the recent flooding here extreme caution is advised.
(Track numbers relate to the Kauaeranga tracks map)
10. Kauaeranga road end - Billygoat circuit
Time: 4 - 5 hr
Track to Pinnacles Hut
From the roadend car park, cross the river at the swingbridge, continuing alongside it to Webb Creek, then follow the historic packhorse route (steep in places) used by kauri bushmen in the 1920's to travel to logging sites in in the upper Kauaeranga Valley. After crosssing Webb Creek you will climb steps cut into rock to make the journey easier for the packhorses. Care is required in places as the steps can be slippery.
At the Hydro Camp junction (1.5 to 2.5 hr) take the Billygoat track where a steady 30 minute climb leads to a saddle with excellent views down the Kauaeranga Valley to the Hauraki Plains. Drop down into Billygoat Basin, cross Billygoat Stream before passing through a clearing with basic camping facilities and then 5 minutes further on, a 50-metre side track overlooks the site of the collapsed long trestle bridge, once part of the bush tramline. Back on the main track, follow the tramline past the Short Trestle and Billygoat Falls (180 metres) before emerging at the Kauaeranga River.
11. Kauaeranga Roadend - Pinnacles Hut
Time: 2.5 - 3 hr one way
From the roadend car park, walk to the swingbridge, cross the river and continue alongside the river to Webb Creek, then follow the historic packhorse route to the hydro Camp (1.5 - 2 hr). (See No 10 for more information).
The track from the Hydro Camp climbs and sidles around a hill before following a more open ridge with spectacular views of the east coast, before dropping down along a signposted side track for about 10 minutes to Pinnacles Hut. Look for the remains of Dancing Camp Dam 5 minutes down the 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.
12. 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.
The Kauaeranga Valley is east of Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula.