Mt Bee Bunkrooms
The Mt Bee Bunkrooms are 3 buildings located in the Eyre Mountains/Taka Rā Haka Conservation Park. Although they are on public land, you need to get permission from a nearby farmer to get from the end of the public road to the start of the DoC Land.
The contact information is on the DoC website, and in 2018, the farmer was quite happy to allow walking access.
The access is not far from Lumsden, about halfway between Queenstown and Te Anau on State Highway 97. Drive along Irthing Road, which is a gravel road in good condition, until you reach the farm gate where the read pin is; (Google Maps link). This is the end of the legal public road. Beyond here is where permission is required!
Embedded Google map:
It’s worth studying the Google Earth images so you know which 4WD track is the right one to follow; there’s more than shown on the Topo map! Basically you just keep to the main track.. The track is highlighted orange on the map, and snakes up the hill to the conservation park boundary, where there is a DoC sign. In theory, you could 4WD quite easily up to this point if you had permission. (and people do drive all the way to the hut, but it gets a bit rough for ‘townie 4wd’s’ in places).
From here is you continue up the 4WD track, all the way to the Bunkrooms; perhaps a bit boring for older kids, but on a nice day you’ll get some great views over Northern Southland! There’s no stream crossings on way in, but the farm section does get a little muddy, so bring some waterproof footwear.
It’s about 6km of gradual uphill from the farm gate to the huts. So about 2hrs for adults carrying babes in backpacks!
The bunkrooms are 4 separate buildings; A woodshed, the bunkrooms, a longdrop and the kitchen/living area.
The cool thing is that the bunkrooms have 2 separate sleeping areas, each with 4 bunks, which makes it perfect for families to take up one area, whilst other folks sleep elsewhere… Even if there were other groups, they could even sleep in the woodshed, or the living area and there still wouldn’t be any noise concerns for very young trampers!
The huts are in reasonable condition, but certainly not brand new. The kitchen building does have a big open fire place, but is above the bushline, so no firewood unless you BYO. Also means no sandflies! There’s a big area out the front of the hut, which is pretty safe where you could play frisbee, or any other games.
The hut is pretty popular with hunters, who often drive all the way up there. However, the good thing about needing to phone for access, is that you can ask if there are other groups heading up!
There are great views north towards the Eyre mountains, and a side trip to the top of .1149 for sunrise (or set) is well worth it; only a short detour from the 4WD track to the summit, over 1m tall tussocks!