Mr and Mrs Walking with Kids
Mitre Flats Hut via the Barra Track - Tararua Ranges (Overnight Tramp)
Updated: Apr 16, 2022
Saturday 25th September - Sunday 26th September 2021
Location: Waingawa roadend, Wairarapa ( we found that google maps did not like the address. But essentially you just drive down Waingawa road and you'll find a DOC sign/information shelter on your right. There is a place to park next to it (on the grass). To enter the track you walk through a farm, the gate is to the right of the information shelter (we've added a photo below).
In planning out this tramp we spent a fair bit of time researching the Barra Track as some of the online reviews made it sound pretty tough and we wanted to be prepared.
We set out with two other families on a windy but mostly sunny day along the Barra, 13 of us in total with the youngest being 6 and the oldest in their 30's (okay, maybe more like 40's but lets not spilt hairs). The first Kilometer or so takes you across a picturesque farm and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.
The Barra really starts just before the bend in the Waingawa River that you follow pretty much all the way up to Mitre Flats. Yes, the track is technical and quite slow going, particularly through the half a dozen creek crossings. In saying that we found it never got too steep (unlike our climb over cone saddle to Tututwai Hut, and the track was probably comparable to that in terms of technicality).
As you near the hut there's a steep climb down followed by a wide bridge, two minutes after the bridge you arrive at Mitre Flats Hut. It's a serviced hut with running water, a toilet and firewood.
Unlike the other hut's we'd been too, the glade for the tents it right outside. The kids made fast use of this. We built a couple of small fires to roast marshmallows in some of the already made fire pits, then turned in for the night.
The Hut sleeps 14 and we had 13 of us, plus there were four other trampers. This wasn't a problem though as the Hut's ample kitchen area made it all workable. We had extra sleeping mats with us so some of us slept on the floor and the kids shared mattresses. We did think that we need to start bringing tents, especially in summer (watch this space).
Side note, this was the first time that we have encountered a proper, rough, weta-hotel, long-drop. On reflection we probably should have discussed this with them prior which would have prevented a bit of a stink.
In the morning after some overnight rain some of the creeks were a little swollen but really it was just a quick scramble back up to the track then around to the farm (4.5 hours later :))
Age of Kids: Miss 6 and Master 9
Walking Time: 5 hours in and 4.5 out (although it‘s only around 7 km it‘s hard going in some places and lots of breaks are required. There were quite a few trees down and a few times we needed an adult to scout ahead for the track.
Length: 7.4 km
Difficulty: It is advanced, though if you've completed other Tararua tracks, you'll know what to expect.
Buggy Friendly: No
Amenities: There is nothing in the car park so make sure you are all toileted and ready to go when you leave Masterton.
Dogs: Generally no, there is often poison drops in the Tararua's which can cause trouble.
Be Aware: Like everywhere in the Tararua ranges the weather can change quickly and there are exposed places so make sure you bring the right gear handy..
Kids Rating (0-10)
Overall Fun Factor: 8
Legendary Factor: 9
Would we do it again?: 8
Exhaustion Factor: 7
"We loved building fires and going for lots of little walks around the hut. The best thing about this hut is that everyone gets to play and sleep in one big room."