Another chilly but perfect start to the day, 8am departure, not a puff of breeze, stunning sunrise over Rangitoto Island, one of the benefits of early starts! Big Yellow heads south to The Pinnacles in Coromandel.
Once off the motorway and State Highway 25, we drive up the Kauaeranga Valley, the views throughout the valley are incredibly scenic, beautiful mountain reflections on the Kauaeranga River. Along the drive we see why the area has been closed so much in recent years, with significant road re-builds to combat the slips and subsidence.
It's only 3 degrees as we set off up the 100 year old main track up to The Pinnacles, ideal temperature for climbing! It's always such an awesome track, so much to look at as you're moving. Incredible mountain vistas, water trickling everywhere around you, seeping moss faces, glistening waterfalls and the old hand carved stone track, worn and beveled out by the water taking path of least resistance during heavy rains that occur frequently through this area. With plenty of evidence, of the incredible amount of wash many large trees tightly logged metres up other trees on the river elbows.
Before long we reach one humongous slip that DOC have managed to do a temporary path through, although the slip is still on the move. Much to our utter astonishment, with warning signs at either side of the slip not to stop, a group had stopped on a large rock, in the middle of the slip area, for morning tea! Naturally we encouraged them to keep moving for their own safety.
Further up the track, there is a large exposed whitish, moonscape rock face, dotted with the most tiny, dainty Greenhood native orchids, under 2cms in height! This track, especially in early spring is an Orchid hunters delight. There are native tree orchids and Greenhood orchids everywhere, with a heavenly scent to match!
Time flies, as we arrive at the 80 bunk hut for a quick stop at approximately 620 metres. If you've not stayed here before, it's a very well set up hut, with gas kitchen, gas bbq's and bunk rooms and impressive views of The Pinnacles and the track up to the tippy top at 773 metres!
As we head back down the track to the bus, chatting to people heading up for the night, some heading up quite late, at nearly 4pm equipped with torches. It's usually a pretty social track and fairly busy, especially on long weekends and holidays.
We were lucky today, we didn't have to wait for other groups on the suspension bridges, especially the first 50 metre long, 1 person at a time bridge!
The distance party arrive back, having covered about 19kms, up to the summit/Pinnacles and back down the rough Billy Goat Track, tackling another significant slip.
Fun drive back in the bus, with the back cabin lights on, the residual pink skies from the sunset, everyone chatting away, time passes quickly and we arrive back in Takapuna, and the forecasted rain preceding the next weather front hadn't arrived! Yay!
Totally awesome day out, with liked minded people, all having an amazing time.