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Girdlestone via Mitre Peak, Tararua Forest Park

View from Girdlestone, west to Dorset Ridge Hut (left) and Kapiti Island (right). Photo: Peter Laurenson,
Tararua Forest Park
13.7km to Girdlestone
Total Ascent
2060m to Girdlestone
Two days return
Mitre Flats Hut, 14 bunks
From the car park at the end of Upper Waingawa Road
BP34, BN34
GPX File
Girdlestone (gpx, yo 38 KB)
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The trail to Mitre Flats Hut only gains 70m but with plenty of ups and downs and tree roots. After a constant three-hour plod you,ll reach the 14-bunk Mitre Flats Hut. From the hut to Mitre requires a height gain of 1200m but the trail is well graded, making rapid progress relatively easy. Soon you’ll breach the tree line and be up on the tops.

After three hours you reach Peggys Peak, 1545m, at which point your entire route for the day is revealed. It’s a short hop from Peggys to Mitre, 1571m – the highest point of the Tararuas. The 150m descent of Mitre,s steeper north-west face is the trickiest section of the day,s route. Once on top of Brockett, 1538m, there’s a nice view of Mitre, back-dropped by the Wairarapa. And looking north-west you can see the red roof of Tarn Ridge Hut gleaming in a sea of green, brown and gold; offset by the blues and greys of Kapiti Island in the far distance.

It’s an easy stroll to Girdlestone, 1546m, along a tussocky ridge requiring minimal height gain. Another view unfolds from the summit, revealing Dorset Ridge and its namesake hut and, in the distance, the snowy summit of Mt Holdsworth. Retrace your steps to Mitre, on to Mitre Flats Hut and back to the car.