After the craziness of working Easter weekend, my friend Anna and I knew we needed to go somewhere and get off of Waiheke Island. For a short, two-day trip, we knew we wanted to be outdoors and go somewhere new. After much deliberation, we finally decided to venture off the island to drive to Thames, a small town at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula.
On the first day, we drove to Karangahake Gorge at the southern part of the Coromandel Peninsula for a pleasant walk through the bush. We almost got lost a few times by venturing off the path… something that isn’t the best idea for two girls who have no clue where they are, but it was an adventure. However, the Gorge wasn’t the main attraction that brought us to this area of the North Island.
After a good night’s sleep, the second day of our weekend away started at 7am with a 45 minute drive to the base of the Pinnacles. We did not know much about this hike beforehand aside from the many warnings about walking a lot of stairs. We made the decision not to look up any photos of the view or the area so that we would be completely surprised. This was the right move.
Online reviews of the Pinnacles told us that the hike would take between six and eight hours. We made it to the top in about four hours. The last forty minutes were pure stairs followed by literally climbing rocks. I deserved that sandwich. The views were out of this world amazing. I do not know how many times I can use the word ‘breathtaking’ before it becomes redundant, but it’s because New Zealand is full of breathtaking views.
There is something truly incredible about calming silence that makes real the fact that you are so far from anyone and anything having to do with modern society. It felt invigorating. This hike is one I definitely recommend taking a day to do. I sat at the tippy top eating my apple and feeling like a true explorer, pretending mine were the first human eyes to take in the beautiful vastness and the first feet to stand atop this mountain.
There is an option to hike three-quarters of the route to the top and stay overnight in a cabin, which sounds fun. However, I don’t think it’s necessary. The hike back down took us just two hours. When we got back to the car we devoured our second sandwiches. Always come prepared with more than enough food for a hike.
Have you hiked the Pinnacles?