Mention St Arnaud and tramping and most people will automatically think of Nelson Lakes National Park. But only a few kilometres to the north-east is a little-known high point of Mt Richmond Forest Park – Beebys Knob and hut. By Heather Jenke.
An 800m climb sounds daunting but spread over 8km, the walk to Beebys Hut is relatively gentle compared to other tracks in the region.
Beebys Knob Route meanders its way from the Korere-Tophouse Road through open beech forest. Road noise quickly dies, replaced by melodic bellbirds flitting between black honeydew-covered beech trunks. After the initial 300m ascent, a flat area between a saddle provides a brief respite before tackling the second half of the climb. Above this saddle, the track is shared with the occasional mountain biker. There is one steep pinch, gaining 100m altitude in about 300m but after that, it is a gentle stroll through stunted, mossy beech forest.
Emerging onto the 4WD track at 1300m on the summit ridge, walkers can be exposed to icy winds. The trail heads northwards and is soon above the bushline. There are panoramic views to the south of Lake Rotoiti and the snow-capped peaks of Nelson Lakes. Mt Owen and Mt Arthur dominate to the west, while eastward lies the Red Hills and a cheeky glimpse of the Inland Kaikoura Range.
A gentle climb leads past Pt1418 and Beebys Knob, where a transmitter tower sits. The trail descends 125m over the next 1.5km to Beebys Hut, a standard six-bunk Forest Service hut recently refurbished. There’s plenty of room for tents around the hut.
There are no views from the hut itself, as it is tucked into a hollow on the bush edge, but wander for a minute up to the ridge and you can watch the rosy dawn light slowly creep over the surrounding mountains.
A more gentle approach to Beebys Knob is to follow the 4WD road or mountain bike trail from Tophouse Road. During summer, DOC allows 4WD vehicles to drive right up to the hut door – after gaining a permit.
- 15km return
- Total Ascent
- Beebys Hut ($5, 6 bunks)
- Signposted car park off Korere-Tophouse Road