From a short private farm crossing to a reasonably steep bush section, climbing up through SI tussock, and finally following a long sloping ridgeline to Beebys Hut, this little track is an entertaining and scenic way to spend a morning four-wheeling.
Just past Tophouse Road, near St Anoud in the Nelson Lakes area, the track to Beebys Hut is in DOCs Mt Richmond Forest Park. The track is only open for 4WDs from 1st December to April 30th, and a key is required, available from the Nelson Lakes DOC office at St Anoud.
We hit the track with the Mid Canterbury 4WD club, who were in the area after travelling up from Hanmer via Molesworth and staying the previous night at the Leatham ‘Fence Post’ hut.
Apart from a few sections where their track veers off to level out the steeper bits, the 4WD trail is also a mountain bike track, and, at times, crosses the walking track as well.
Stopping at a layby just at the exit from the private land to drop off club president Marcus Ewart’s camper trailer, we headed constantly upward. The track is well-formed, but not well maintained, and is quite rough and rocky on the steeper bits.
It’s an in and out trip, climbing to about 1350 metres where we pass the Trig Station and Aerials at Beebys Knob, before dropping down to 1310 at Beebys hut, at the 8km mark.
The hut provides us with welcome shelter for our lunch break, the ridge top is fairly exposed, and the weather has turned pretty bleak, with grey skies, and a biting wind.
Despite the views up the Upper Wairau Valley, and across the Nelson Lakes, it’s not the day to linger too long, and there are few complaints when the call is made to move on.
The track continues for about another 5kms, across the tussock, before finishing at a DIY coffee stop.
The second part of the return drive, offers different views for drivers, looking back down the Wairau towards Blenheim, up into the Rainbow Station and ski fields.
After collecting the camper trailer, the clubs convoy heads west towards St Anaud, and the Porika Track. Marcus and Michelle’s camper trailer is about to get a bit of an off-road workout.
And the Crocodile??? Well, travelling with his dad and brother, Tyler had with him his special guest, Tinwald Schools ‘show and tell’ crocodile, who was away with Tyler and the family.
When he got back to school after the weekend, Tyler had to tell his class where he had gone with the crocodile, and what they had done.
It’s probably the best story the class has heard!