The steep-sided Kauaeranga Valley stretches east of Thames towards the spine of the Coromandel Peninsula, a jagged landscape of bluffs and gorges topped by the Pinnacles (759m), with stupendous views to both coasts across native forest studded with rata, rimu and kauri. It’s reached along the scenic and mostly sealed Kauaeranga Valley Road snaking 21km beside the river, providing access to some of the finest walks in the Coromandel Range. The road winds through regenerating bush containing scattered “pole stands” of young kauri that have grown since the area was logged a century ago: only a handful in each stand will reach maturity.

The ease of access to these tracks can lead trampers not to take them as seriously as other tramps, but in bad weather the conditions can be treacherous, so go properly prepared.

Note that the soil-borne kauri dieback disease is not present in Coromandel kauri forests. If you’ve recently visited the Auckland or Northland forests (which do have kauri dieback), be extra vigilant about cleaning your footwear.

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