The Barra Track to Mitre Flats is excellent as that first, slightly more challenging overnight family tramp. It takes about four hours each way.
Parking is just off to the side of the road, which has become a dirt track by this point, where the distinctive DoC signs give the map overview and suggested 4 hour walking time.
The first 20 minutes are easy going on a farm road following the middle reaches of the Waingawa River. This easy going gives everyone enough time to settle in before getting into the tighter more technical bush track. The shearing shed and stile at the bush boundary signals the start of the more exciting adventure and it’s quickly followed by a tight single file track through the bush.
Many of the Tararua huts and tracks have a rich history and great stories behind them. Barra Track is no exception. Named after Bert Barra (1899-1993) a deer culling legend who exceeded 24,000 animals in his career and often topped the seasonal tally for government shooters. Retiring in the early 1970s, Bert lived out his days in a simple hut with no power at Kaituna in the Upper Waingawa on the main route to Mount Mitre. Bert Barra; just sounds like the name for a deer culling legend.
There are some wonderful bush streams and waterfalls which are easily crossed with a bit of rock hopping. Some big slips down to the river add a bit of ‘wow’ to the journey. And glimpses of peaks above the bush line give a taste of what could be taken on later with a bit more tramping experience.
Along the 7km of the Barra Track, the route is well blazed with distinctive orange arrows to keep you on track. Dropping quickly to the river, the end of the journey is marked by a swing bridge across the Waingawa and the soon after sight of the Mitre Flats Hut.
Mitre Flats Hut sleeps 14 on provided mattresses and has a log fire for cooler autumn and winter nights. If you want to stay the night you'll need $15 worth of hut tickets per person. These can be picked up from the Masterton or Martinborough i-SITE Visitor Centres, where you can also get a ‘Masterton’ topographical map.
MOUNTAIN ALERTS should always be checked here before departing on a tramp into the mountains.
Hut Tickets are essential for an overnight stay in a back country hut. Purchase your hut tickets and hut passes from the Masterton i-SITE Visitor Centre.
Topographical Maps of the back country are available at i-SITE Visitor Centres.