Arthur’s Pass

Arthurs Pass – The township and the pass are named after Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson (1841–1934). Arthur Dobson had been tasked by the Chief Surveyor, Thomas Cass, to find out if there was an available pass out of the Waimakariri watershed into valleys running to the West Coast. In 1864, his brother Edward joined him and accompanied him into the valley of the Otira River. A West Coast Māori Chief, Tarapuhi, told Arthur of a pass that Māori hunting parties occasionally used. When Arthur returned to Christchurch, he sketched the country he had traversed and included it in a report to Cass. Arthur Dobson did not name the pass, which he found very steep on the western side.

Dobson named the site that became the township “Camping Flat”.

When the West Coast Gold Rush began in 1864, a committee of businessmen offered a £200 prize for anyone who would find a better or more suitable pass from Canterbury over the Southern Alps to West Canterbury (the West Coast). At the same time George Dobson, (another brother), was sent to examine every available pass between the watershed of the Taramakau, Waimakariri, and the Hurunui. After examining passes at the head of every valley he reported that “Arthur’s” pass was by far the most suitable for the direct crossing and the name stuck.

Find out more about Arthur’s Pass here:

Arthur’s Pass, climbing to more than 900 metres through Arthur’s Pass National Park, is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps.

If you’re travelling from Canterbury to the West Coast, this is the road to take. It is a piece of extreme engineering involving viaducts, bridges, rock shelters and waterfalls redirected into chutes.

Arthur’s Pass National Park itself is a landscape of two halves. On the eastern side, you’ll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest. Descending the western side and you venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers. From our Park you will be able to watch the Trans Alpine Train cross the Mighty Taramakau River.

If you’re feeling adventurous, go hiking, mountaineering or even take in the more gentle Arthurs Pass village walks, here you are spoilt for choice. You’ll probably spot New Zealand’s inquisitive and comical alpine parrot, the Kea, along the way and during winter you can join the lucky skiers and snowboarders enjoying spectacular runs in the Temple Basin Ski Area approx a 20min drive from Jackson’s Retreat.

Lake Brunner

Lake Brunner is the largest lake in the northwestern South Island of New Zealand, covering an area of 40 km². The lake’s outflow is the Arnold River, a tributary of the Grey River. The lake lies 31 kilometres to the southeast of Greymouth. The main settlement close to the lake is Moana, on the northern shore. It was gouged out by a branch of the Taramakau Glacier and is one of a cluster of lakes within this sector of the Grey River catchment including Poerua, Kangaroo, Lady, Haupiri, Hochstetter and Ahaura. The lake is fed by the Crooked, Orangipuku and Eastern Hohonu Rivers and a number of small streams. Its outflow is the Arnold River, a tributary of the Grey River. The Lake Brunner area has an abundance of bird life and a variety of wetland and rain forest ecosystems.

The Maori name for the lake is Kotuku Whakaoho, meaning the ‘sea of herons’. The present name commemorates Thomas Brunner who, in 1848, became the first European to see the lake during his epic 550 day exploration of the region with Kehu and other Maori guides.

Nature and conservation, Lake Brunner is a holiday destination abundant with both water and land based activities. Only 33 kms North from Jackson’s Retreat Moana is serviced daily by both the TranzAlpine train and a variety of shuttle buses. Within a 10min walk from our Park if you have a couple of hours or a couple of days this is a stunning area to explore. Walking, Biking and Hiking trails in the area range from 20 minutes to 8 hours.

Our Tiaki promise

Our Tiaki promise -To care for the People & The Place

KAUPAPA – A set of values, principles and a plan which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions

KAITIAKITANGA – The relationship between everything and everybody in the natural world – there is no distinction between people & their environment

Aotearoa is a special place, the people who live and travel on her land have a duty of care to protect our environment, nurture & care for our people, respect our culture and our land.

We ask that you help us with our Tiaki Promise.



We believe in protecting the beautiful environment at Jackson’s and want to ensure that future generations can visit and enjoy an improved environment to what you are seeing and enjoying today.

We have developed our environmental plan to help protect a piece of New Zealand’s unique environment, and we welcome your support in this initiative during your visit.

Many of our efforts you will not see but we hope there are some you will notice.

How can YOU Help Us?

We invite our guests to help protect the New Zealand environment when you stay at Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park

  • Please use rubbish bins & ashtrays provided
  • Please place your rubbish in the BIG bin in the main Parking Area, please refer to your camp map.  Using this bin rather than the ones in the Kitchen reduces use of extra plastic bags – small initiative but very rewarding for the environment. Your waste is then sorted in Greymouth for Re-cycling.

Did you know that our biggest waste is single use plastic water bottles!

  • When walking the Ngarimu Track, please leave only your footprints and you’ll leave with many beautiful Rainforest memories
  • Please ask at the office for Native seeds to spread throughout the Ngarimu Rainforest Walking Track, this helps rejuvenate the lower forest floor which in turn feeds native birds, insects and wildlife, – striving for continued Native plantings is reducing our carbon emissions.
  • We are constantly seeking ways to improve our efforts, and welcome your feedback and/or suggestions. Suggestion box for this is on the bookshelf at the far end of the guest lounge.

Prior to 2005 this property was part of a large farming block used for fattening Cattle.

Currently over 8,500 native plants have been planted and we are continually adding to this initiative.

Jacksons Retreat has been created with integrity and respect for the land and Her natural resources. With the environmental initiatives and maintenance programmes we have in place this Park will always be improving for future generations, we hope to see you on your next NZ visit.

Our buildings are purpose-built using “for life” materials, recycled woods and sustainable materials, impacting less on the environment.

Our Park signage are re-cycled Railway Sleepers, Art & Garden Furniture are re-cycled farming equipment made locally and where possible we believe everything has a second life.

The Park has a unique fresh water supply system, hundred of metres up the mountain range, water is piped down, filtered and stored for distribution throughout the park.

Water from every tap in the park is potable and tastes great, this system has Health Department approval….ENJOY!!

  • Fresh drinking water, all tap water to the Park is the best Alpine drinking water you could get for free, please refill your bottles. Why buy more when you can get it for free and help to save the environment WIN WIN! Taps are on all powered sites, various camp sites and obviously in the kitchen and around the outside of the amenities building. Re-fill your small bottles, large bottles, bulk containers, motorhomes – it’s all free and the BEST!

We have built our own specially designed sewerage system using the latest technology, gravel, and planting native grasses on the site, ensuring that there  is  no  run-off from  our  property to  streams that feed the  Mighty Taramakau River running to the Tasman Sea.


We trap for both Possum, Stoats and Rats, reducing the number of predators in the area, helping to give our native flora and fauna a better chance of survival.

By loballing our Local Minister of Parliament,Tourism Industry Association and Holiday Parks Association, we were able to ensure that now and in the future there will be no 1080 poison drops in our direct area.

Jackson’s  Retreat  and   surrounding  native bush areas are now 1080 Poison Free.

Our Current & Future Environmental Practices

Below is a summary of some of the environmental practices that we at Jacksons Retreat continue to implement:

  • Using recycled timber in our office and the bathroom amenity blocks
  • Kitchen benches made with untreated timber from sustainable resources
  • Day-night sensor lighting throughout the entire park
  • Energy-efficient lightbulbs throughout the entire park
  • Solar-powered lights around unpowered areas of the park
  • Heat transfer pump from lounge log fire into bathrooms
  • Low-flush toilet options
  • Shower systems that use less water & are energy efficient with LPG
  • Toilet paper and hand towels made from recycled materials
  • Growing organic vegetables and buying organic where possible
  • Buying environmentally friendly biodegradable cleaning products or creating our own
  • Re-cycling office paper waste
  • Composting food and bathroom handtowel paper waste
  • Recycling all waste where possible within the Park’s grounds
  • Donating unwanted or unclaimed items to local charities
  • We buy our products and employ tradespeople from local sources, which supports our area and reduces the distance our goods and services travel to reach us.
  • We support our local and the wider communities.

We also pledge to apply the following environmentally responsible principles across all aspects of our business where possible:

  • Avoid polluting land, air and water
  • Avoid depleting natural, non-renewable resources
  • Avoid destroying habitats and places of historical and cultural significance


To commit to our business legal requirements, we comply with all relevant environmental legislation and with all other local council requirements.

Thank you for taking the time to read our Environmental Commitment Policy and again we Thank You for choosing Jackson’s Retreat Alpine Holiday Park and we hope that you are enjoying your stay.

Aquatic Life – pristine & crystal clear

Humphries Creek has friendly eels which you can feed and keep an eye out for the local adult Inanga.

The annual whitebait (inanga) migration was an important mahinga kai resource for Māori all around Aotearoa.
Adult Inanga were also taken during their downstream migration to the ocean when they were rich and full of eggs. Captured fish were either dried in the sun or on rocks. Preservation in this manner meant that the fish could be kept in an edible state for months.

River Fishing – on the Mighty Taramakau River @ Rocky Point for Rainbow & Brown Trout, Crooked Creek on the way to Moana.

Lake Fishing – Lake Brunner is the locals best kept secret for Brown Trout or catch the Lake Brunner Safari for guaranteed fishing fun.

Remember you will need a fishing license which is available on line

Stargazing at the Jacksons Retreat

Astrophotographers and Star Gazers Paradise – The South Island of New Zealand has the largest Dark Sky reserves  anywhere on planet Earth! Find a peaceful spot around the campgrounds to set up and gaze upward for a rewarding view, if the night is cloudy pop down to one of the glowworm dells for an impressive impersonation of the night sky.

New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa and The Land of the Long White Cloud. But when the clouds clear our night sky offers some of the best photo and stargazing opportunities in the world.

The southern night sky contains a greater range of interesting features than does the northern.
This is true for both naked eye and telescope observing. The southern sky claims the three brightest stars (Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri) and the best examples of almost every type of astronomical object.
New Zealand also has a superb view of the Large & Small Magellanic Clouds – two extraordinary galaxies visible to the naked eye that are too far south for northern hemisphere viewers.

During our winter months, sheltered by our mountain ranges we are gifted with plenty of cloudless night skies.
Star Gazing at Jackson’s Retreat you will be treated with extensive constellations, shooting stars and glittering dark skies, you can stare directly into the center of the Milky Way directly overhead during winter.

To see the Southern Cross throughout the entire year one needs to be south of the Tropic of Capricorn and because of this the Southern Cross is still widely used as a navigation tool for Southern Hemisphere sailors.

Alpha Crucis or Acrux, at the foot of the cross, is the brightest star of the Southern Cross, it is the 14th brightest star in the night sky.

New Zealand’s flag also has the four main stars of the Southern Cross, this flag hasn’t always been our official flag. Although widely used since 1869, it was only formally adopted in 1902.

There are different traditional interpretations of the Southern Cross in New Zealand, and it is known by at least eight different names in Māori.

Tainui Māori saw it as an anchor, named Te Punga, of a great sky canoe, while to other Māori it was Māhutonga – an aperture in Te Ikaroa (the Milky Way) through which storm winds escaped.

Jack’s Mill Schoolhouse

History and culture – Visit Jack’s Mill School at Kotuku (30 minutes via Lake Brunner road) one of the quirkiest sites on the West Coast, a historic miniature bungalow designed, built and furnished entirely by the Kotuku school children aged 10-12 years.

The Kotuku school was opened c1909 in the small saw-milling settlement. Little distinguished it from any other rural school until 1935 when Edward Darracott was appointed headmaster. He was an advocate of a new approach to education in New Zealand, which emphasised experiential learning tailored to the needs of individual children.

Considered revolutionary, Darracott gave his students hands on projects to teach them practical skills that would equip them for adult life. Making over the school’s garden was the first task.

Once the garden was complete, Darracott’s philosophy of experiential learning was realised on a much more ambitious scale when he led a group of 10-12 year old students to design, build and furnish a small bungalow, built to three quarter size. Students were involved in all aspects of its construction. They even sourced three quarter size interior appliances including a bath tub, hot water cylinder, stove, kitchen sink and kitchen units.

When finished the bungalow was fully functional, complete with electricity and running water. It was used as the home economics room until the close of the school in 1955.

On Sundays the buildings are open to visitors from 2-5 pm (entry by donation).
Throughout the rest of the week visitors can inspect the grounds during daylight hours.
Tours can be arranged; contact the Kotuku Heritage Society on +64 3 738 0049 or email