Children’s activities

There’s so much for kids to do at Jacksons Retreat! We have beautiful walks to waterfalls, glow worms, a play area with our brand new activity centre, as well as chickens, pigs, goats and more!

Sunset at the park

Sunset @ The Park

We might not have a West Coast ocean sunset to boast of but when our surrounding mountains go through the change of light and Mt Alexandra with her snow-capped peak catching the sunset and turning pink, all are a truly magical sight for the eyes and the bird sound of night time settling is a symphony to your ears.

Now the sun is sinking
In the golden west;
Birds and bees and children
are going to rest;
And the merry streamlet,
As it runs along,
With a voice of sweetness
Sings its evening song

Wild Food Festival – only 67 kms from Jackson’s Retreat!

A West Coast Tradition

Wild Food Festival – The name says it all! Only 67 km’s from Jackson’s Retreat

Back in 1990 a Hokitika woman Claire Bryant instigated the very first celebration of local wild foods. Her wine cellar was very well stocked with a home brew of West Coast gorse flower wine and people were clamoring for a taste of her rose petal brew.
So … why not a festival celebrating the tastes of the wild West Coast!

The first event also coincided with the 125th anniversary celebration of the birth of Hokitika in March 1990.
Locals and the rest of New Zealand were captured by the magic of the idea – a celebration of Hokitika and the wild foods of the West Coast.

The Wild Foods Festival is traditionally held on the second Saturday in March, but you can check the Wild Foods Festival website for more information and the next event date.

Spend the day at Hokitika and avoid the rush by heading back to Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park for some peace and quiet!

The next Wildfoods – 12 March 2022

Find out more about the event at

Ngarimu Walking Track

Walk through the bush Tent Sites to the Rain Forest bush line and you’ll find…..

Track : Quartz Mine Site – 3 hours return trip, Take a beautiful Rain Forest bush walk then zig-zag up the abandoned Battery Road to the site of a historic Quartz Mine where quartz was crushed for its gold content. Meander your way through pristine NZ Native bush to where miners spent their days in search of gold, now days a quite spot to relax as the surrounding bush re-claims the area.

Track : Glow Worm Waterfall – 40 mins return trip, again a spectacular NZ Native bush walk to a very photogenic waterfall, walk amongst ferns, pungas and under towering Totara and 500 year old Rimu to our most photogenic waterfall. Spot the Fantails (Pīwakawaka) and Tomtits (Ngirungiru) as they flit around the bush searching for bugs.

All this is free for Jacksons Retreat guest use.
Ability: Medium fitness

Glow worms

Glow Worm Dells – a fun night-time adventure! We have 4 sites to check out!

Did you know – the light from a glow worm comes from an organ which is the equivalent of a human kidney!

These little glowing wonders of nature can be seen along the creek banks where it is damp and mossy and protected from the breeze.

Along your journey there are many small dells that you will be able to see but only if your using your red light – be warned, use a white light you’ll miss out! RED light is a must for protecting the Glow Worms and for your night vision. Get your free red cellophane from the kitchen/lounge area – please re-cycle after your use for other guests.

Remember to turn off your torch – wait for your eyes to adjust and many many more lights will appear.

Site #1 For guest willing and able to walk the Ngariumu track in the dark, approx 10min from the Red gate, at the 2nd creek walk down to the creek bed – don’t cross it – turn around looking at the bank you just walked down you’ll be spellbound with the little lights. If you are more adventurous, walking up and down the creek bed you will be amazed with how many places are lit up and some nights you don’t even need a torch.

Site #2 Follow the path into the forest trees, within moments you will find several dells along the creek bank leading to a magnificent glowing natural wall.

Site #3 This site is a smaller site great for little ones that don’t want to be in the bush. The sign leads you across the grass to the bush and it’s literally 3 steps down to the creek edge, here you will need to crouch down and look up & down the steam.

Site #4 By day this site has a gorgeous little waterfall made by a fallen Rimu tree probably hundreds of year old………..but by night it is a magical spot for seeing natures little forest lights and again great for the little ones.


I wish I was a Glow-Worm, a glow worm’s never glum, ’cause its hard to be unhappy, when a light shines out ya bum!

Local flora and fauna

Jackson’s Retreat is lucky to share the home of an extensive range of native birds. Many of our native birds are critical for dispersing seeds and pollination of native trees.

Kereru, which was protected from hunting in 1922, also known as Wood Pigeon spread the seeds of trees with large fruit such as Miro, Puriri, Tawa and Tairare, the Kereru can be great fun to watch when they eat the fermented berries and literally fall out of the trees DRUNK!

Listen out for the Bellbirds and the Tui being which was one of our earliest protected birds, protected since 1873.
Both are known for not only their stunning musical calls early in the morning and at dusk, they also pollinate several native species that you will find around our Park like Flax (Harakeke), Kowhai and Fuchsia (Totukutuk) trees.

Other species you will see around our Park or in the Rainforest:

  • Daily – Kereu, Weka, Falcon, Tui, Bellbird, TomTit, Silver Eye (Waxeye), Fantail, Song Thrush
  • Often – Shag, Paradise Duck, Kingfisher, Grey Warbler, Chaffinch
  • Occasional – Shining Cuckoo, Rock Wren, Rifleman, NZ Robin, Kaka
  • Rear – Yellow Crowned Parakeet, Kea
  • Night time Only – Morepork, Great Spotted Kiwi – listen for their shrill call

Don’t forget our well-loved chickens – .we have their fresh free range eggs available @ The Camp Pantry.

Kiwi Spotting – why are New Zealanders called Kiwi’s? Well, here’s one story…..

New Zealand’s servicemen were by and large country & farm boys. They would have been very familiar with the kiwi bird as they were still very numerous in rural areas around the turn of the 20th century. Perhaps it appealed to their sense of humour to take on the identity of a bird where the male had a glorious far reaching call and the female just growled, where the female laid a huge egg which the male incubated. It sounded all too much like married life to the New Zealand male. Being such aggressive scrappy birds with their strong legs and sharp claws they would take on anything and anyone. The soldiers made the bird their own.

Sporting women & men today have the silver fern on their uniforms, but they all represent their country as proud Kiwi’s

NZ’s national icon is here in the bush and have been seen wandering into the Park grounds or on occasion have been spotted on the way to the Glow Worm dells.

Male great spotted kiwi has a high trilling whistle call repeated between 6 and 20 times and the females call is lower and harsher. Google their call so you know what to listen for.

Remember they are nocturnal and very very shy. Waiting for complete darkness and when most campers are tucked up in bed, now is the time to see if any Kiwi have ventured out – remember your RED light and you must be very quiet, use a white light and you will miss out!

A fabulous site to check out all about The Kiwi

Flora & Fauna – our Rainforest has many majestic Rimu hundreds of years old

You will find many native trees on and around our Park, Rimu – Kamahi – Rata and Fuchia to name but a few.

Many of our native trees are protected like Rimu, these can grow up to 50 metres high and the majestic ones you see around and behind our park can have a life span of 800-900 years.

Kamahi “The Honey Tree” is produced on the West Coast. Kamahi is in fact a honey with very complex flavours and after tones that send honey gourmets into paroxysms of delight.

Southern Rata is also another major honey tree for the West Coast but more importantly it is also known as NZ’s own Christmas Tree as the beautiful flowers are abundant during December & February turning the Alpine forests crimson.

NZ native Fuchia is a fast growing soft wooded tree that you will see abundantly around our park, Bellbirds, & Tui love the nectar and when the flowers are spent the Kereru gobble up the berries – watch out walking around or under the trees Kereu will fly in at low altitude.  The berries also can be eaten and used for cooking of chutneys & sauces.


NZ Punga – Silver Fern(Ponga) and Wheki are our main tree ferns on and around our park. A Koru is the spiral shape based on the appearance of a new unfurling silver fern frond. It is an integral symbol in Māori art, Pounamu carving and tattooing, where it symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. We have a beautiful range of locally crafted Pounamu available for sale at The Camp Pantry.

During your travels on our tracks you will also have the opportunity to see various species of Fungi, these could be bright colours or weird shapes like Stink Horns, Puffballs & Earthstars, Wood-ear and the Tooth fungi. Let the children’s imagination go wild with Forest Fairies and their fanciful fungi playground.

Not only will you be serenaded by bellbirds and Tui but you will be followed by TomTits (Ngirungiru) and chatty Fantails (Pīwakawaka) which will be flitting around snapping up the little insects that you disturb on the way.

NGARIMU WALKING TRACK – Ngarimu means “The Rimu” Strong & Proud

For your safety while walking the tracks or trails on and around Jackson’s Retreat please always be aware of your surroundings, the terrain suites most abilities with a moderate fitness level, ensure you understand your own walking abilities and do not take any risks.

Parts of our tracks and trails will require you to have “route-finding skills”, we have various markers on our tracks, but they may not always be visible or continuous. We advise you not to tramp alone but if that is your plan please let someone know your intentions before you start.

Remember to prepare for your trip so that it is safe and enjoyable. Your safety is your responsibility, make well informed decisions to suit not only yourself but your whole group especially small children, ensure they are always supervised especially when around the various creeks that boarder our property and in the Rainforest.

Our forest has no snakes, spiders, leeches or nasty animals, you are completely safe to roam and enjoy.
Our tracks are not suitable for cycle or pushchairs.

The Waterfall track -40min return trip. The start of the Ngariumu walking track is the RED gate, follow the spectacular true Kiwi Bush Track to our stunning waterfall. In Summer months the water from this waterfall is wonderfully refreshing coming straight from the snow! We would love to see your photos and add them to our guest collection on Facebook or TripAdvisor or send them to us at so we can post them on our site.

1860’s Quartz mine site 2.5-3 hrs return trip.  Meandering along on the main Ngariumu track as you walk through untouched historic native rainforest the track forks to the Left, follow this to the abandoned Battery Road which zig-zags up to the old 1860’s quartz mine abandoned working area with a few relics scattered, you can see the platform areas where their huts would have been and if you forage in the nearby stream you may uncover some more relics or gold. Take a moment to appreciate the life the miners living here endured as the bush now re-claims the area.

**It’s not always about the destination but the journey through the forest**

Land is considered a resource to be respected according to the principle of KAITIAKITANGA

Around Lake Brunner Cycle Race

Around Lake Brunner Cycle Race – only a 20min drive from Jackson’s Retreat to the start line!

Around Brunner started as a 130km sealed circuit cycle ride taking you through some of the most stunning scenery New Zealand has to offer. In 2015 the Enduro, 2 laps of the traditional ride being 260km was introduced and in 2019 the change of the start/finish to Moana Lake Brunner.

Both the Around Brunner 130km and Enduro 260km race, this fantastic event is in its 14th year.
Around Brunner caters for all competitors from the Elite rider through to the Recreational Rider with age group categories throughout.

We’ll even cater for those that want to ride their e-Bike in the event, as this keeps so many riders active. Riding an e-Bike means you’re non-competitive but still doing the event and eligible for spot prizes.

Starting from Kumara, cyclists ride along State Highway 73,climbing gently through scenic podicarp rainforest and along The Mighty Taramakau River passing Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park’s front door and turning off to Inchbonnie, the half-way point and stage teams changeover. Cyclists then turn north for a breathtaking flat ride through the stunning scenery of Lake Poerua, Rotomanu and Moana, which are nestled between the spectacular Southern Alps and tranquil Lake Brunner. The Around Brunner Cycle Ride is generally held in the third weekend in April. You can find out more information at the Around Brunner website

The next Around Brunner Cycle Ride – Saturday 7th May 2022

Jackson’s Holiday Park is again a fantastic base for Around Brunner supporters and participants.

Kathmandu Coast 2 Coast

Next Race – 11 & 12 February 2022

Book your Accommodation now!

Kathmandu Coast 2 Coast – The Coast to Coast has become almost a right of passage for multisport athletes from around the world with over 20,000 people having completed the event in the 38 years to date. Being a world premier multi-sport event and a benchmark by which every other multi-sports event is judged, both here in New Zealand and Internationally.

The Kahtmandu Coast to Coast is normally held on the first weekend in February, but you can check the Coast to Coast website for more information

Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park is a fantastic base for Coast to Coast supporters and participants.
Participants will be cycling outside your front door – the perfect spot for cheering them on!

Hiking, Cycling & Trails for feet and wheels

The Bald Range – our southern range Rangi Taipo has an altitude of 1400m, widely tramped to the Kelly Range and up to Arthurs Pass.

There is a beautiful river & bush trail for both feet & wheels along the Taipo River approx 5min drive West of our Park.
Mt Alexander and The Kaimata Range – our Northern & Nor Western range, Mt Alexander has an altitude of 1958m, this is a two day hike staying over night in a DOC hut, the track starts on Lake Brunner road literally 5 mins from our Park and is a two-day hike.

Mt French – Hohonu Range – our Nor Eastern Range has an altitude of 1305m, the track starts from Mitchells Lake Brunner and is a 7-8-hour hike, views can be from Mt Cook to Able Tasman – stunning.

These tracks are known by the locals to be some of the best in the area as they are less frequented by the masses and are therefor more pristine.


For your adrenaline rush Jet Boating on the Mighty Taramakau River or you can choose to play on Lake Poerua or Lake Brunner.

Contact us to find out more about outdoor adventure and activities available when you stay at Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park.