A Half-Day to Beebys Knob / Beebys Hut
Close to Nelson, easy parking and great views make a half-day walk to Beebys Knob (1442m) and Beebys hut a must-do for locals. There are both walking and mountain biking tracks, and you can choose a couple of routes to get up the mountain. The walk to the hut is 7.5 Kms up the tramping track from the car park at the Korere Tophouse Road on the Western side (DOC recommends 3 hours). Rich and I walked up this way, then on the way back we split. I walked down the four-wheel-drive track to the South, coming out close to the SH63 on Tophouse road, while Rich went back to the car and drove around to meet me. Apart from having to watch out for the wasps, which were rampant on this late summers’ day, it was a really enjoyable 4.5 hour round trip.
Getting there Beebys Knob
Beebys Knob is about an hour south of Nelson. Drive down the SH6 and turn off to the left after Belgrove, to take the Koere Tophouse Road to St Arnaud. About 6 Km before you meet SH63 from Blenheim there is a small DOC sign on the left and a sharp left turn into the car park.
We started walking at 11.20 am on a rather gloomy Sunday. Rain was forecast later, so we hoped we’d be able to get up the mountain while there were still some views.
Beebys Knob Track
The track started through beech forest and climbed about 250m as we sidled around the mountain. We spotted a few wasp nests on the ground within the first five minutes of starting the track, and wasps were buzzing all around, but we kept ourselves to ourselves and tried not to touch anything.
After about 1.5 Km we came to a beautiful, open saddle in now glorious beech forest. We much preferred the section after the saddle, a further 400m climb following a ridge to the four-wheel-drive track. With a mix of grunty-steep followed by ok-steep and such beautiful surroundings, the time flew. On this section, the ‘Unhinged’ mountain bike track shared some sections with the walking track, and we met a couple coming down one of the steeper sections.
We reached the four-wheel-drive track at 12.50 pm. DOC suggested 2 hours, it had taken us 1.5 hours.
Beebys Track to Beebys Hut
Once we reached the four-wheel-drive track it was open and wide and a gentle uphill for the next few kilometres.
I realised I was closing a tiny gap in my Te Araroa trail walk today. I had walked the Richmond Ranges section of Te Araroa nine months after finishing the main thru-hike. When I finished the Richmonds I had gone down to the road straight after Red Hills hut and hadn’t completed the Maitland track or Beebys section, so it was cool to knock off another little piece.
From the Maitland track junction, the track gently climbed across open country. It would be no fun in the rain and we were glad it had held off. The views were magnificent, down to the Nelson Lakes National Park in the South and across to Kahurangi in the West.
We wanted to reach the hut for lunch, so saved the little detour to Beebys knob for the return journey.
We reached the 6-bed Beebys hut at 1.30 pm (two hours ten minutes from the car park). We signed the hut book, used the facilities (nice and clean, functioning door, no flies or wasps), and ate our lunch.
The sky looked threatening, so we didn’t linger too long for our cheese and crackers. Soon enough we were retracing our steps back along the track. We shot up to Beebys Knob itself for a look before rejoining the track again.
To Tophouse Road
Back at the turnoff to the tramping track, we split. I continued on down the four-wheel-drive track to Tophouse Road – near the SH63, and Rich took the tramping track back to the car (and would drive around to meet me).
The four-wheel-drive track provided an easy walk down, with some great views across the Wairau valley to the Raglan Range.
It took almost an hour to walk down the track at a very leisurely pace. Some mountain bike tracks crisscrossed the track, and I was glad to be walking down, not biking up! The track descended into forestry closer to the road, before reaching the gate at the bottom.
I reached the gate at 3.35 pm and walked another couple of Kms of Tophouse Road towards this morning’s car park. It was a perfectly pleasant (metal) road walk, and only one car passed me before Rich picked me up.