Jack’s Point, Queenstown.

We moved to the area called Jack’s Point. Interestingly this place in 2021 was rated among top 10 lifestyle estates in the world (newworldwealth.com). I can see why, it’s only 10 min walk from Wakatipu, it has cool playground attached to the football pitch and tennis courts (all free entry), if you like playing golf there is a golf course no more than 5 min walk from our house, it is close to The Remarkables Ski Area and Conservation Area, previously mention Lake Alta, Peninsula Hill, 25 min drive to Lake Hayes or Ben Lomond Track, 10 min drive to Twin Rivers Trail (18.5km one way from Kawarau to Shotover River), popular wedding photo shoot destination – Cecil Peak is just across the lake (you have to take a water taxi, go by own boat if you have one, or hire helicopter same as people wanting really cool wedding photo),  it also has good bike track. There is a lot to do, even if you just want to go to the beach for a lunch alfresco, or just sit there and enjoy the view.

The name Jack’s Point is taken from XIX century local figure Maori Jack Tewa. The research materials about him can be easily obtained from official Jack’s Point, Queenstown website or Arrowtown Museum. The name Jack Tewa was most likely a nickname as some suggest that his real name was Hatini Wait or Antony White. Most probably he came to Queenstown from the North Island. He’s famous locally from two episodes. First, on the 9th of August 1862 he was sailing from Queenstown to Kingston with two other people (one called Mitchell). Opposite Cecil Peak squall capsized the boat, and one of his companions sunk beyond the ability to rescue him. It took around 2 hours for Big Jack (as he was also known) to right the boat and pull the other companion (Mitchell) aboard and land safely on the southern part of the lake (now called Refuge Point). Jack then put Mitchell in safe area covering him with wet blanket and fern and set on foot to Von Tunzelmann’s station 30 miles away to seek help and rowed back. The casualty survived thanks to a mysterious dog. Tewa was awarded medal from Royal Humane Society, and silver hunting watch from Mitchel. The second famous episode of Jack’s Tewa is the discovery of gold in the Arrow River in Arrowtown in 1862 that started a huge gold rush. Apart from that not much is known about his later life (guiding miners to West Coast gold fields, work in the Shotover River), and the location of his remains is unknown.

After kids started school, finally there was some free time during the week that could be used for various activities. What sort of stuff a married couple could do on the first day together without children since 2019, hmmm? The answer is trying our new bikes on one of the local sighs – Jack’s Point Track. Initially Mrs Sting wanted to make a shorter ride, and don’t do the full track, however people that know me are aware of my competitiveness. What is the point of doing a wishy-washy ride when you can do a proper one. Anyways there are two options of doing the track, very scenic grade 3, or slightly extended grade 4 that is more challenging.

The track starts on the side of the golf course, pass a skydiving club (planed take off and land next to the track several times each weekend, which is quite nice to watch), and turn towards the little hill that you have to climb (just before the climb you pick grades 3 or 4 route). From the top of the hill, you ride down towards a sign explaining Jack’s Tewa heroic deeds. At the sign the grade 4 track joins grade 3 and continue as one from now on. The trail from Jack’s Point is easier as there is lots of downhill (still some cliffs to the left so you have to be careful), and uphill rides are not too long. The track is beautiful and scenic, we had to stop several times just to take some pictures.

  Eventually track reaches the Kelvin Heights where at least officially finishes. There is a bench that provides stunning views of Queenstown, Ben Lomond, Eerie Mountains, and Lake Wakatipu. You can turn back and return the same way having mostly uphill ride, but what for. We decided to through Kelvin Hights to join another trail around Peninsula. The track starts again on the side of a golf course, but after short ride you are entering the woods. From there track is just enjoyable, trees provide cover from the scorching sun, and just to the left you have a Wakatipu with a nice and gentle breeze. Just enjoy the ride around Peninsula and literally a million dollars view.

The track finishes close to the Hilton Hotel, and you have to use the normal road from now on, if you wish to take a loop trail, rather than going back the same way. There is very steep climb, and road down towards the main A type road. You turn right after leaving the Kelvin Heights and continue through the main road towards Kingston. The enjoyment through that part of the road is really wind dependant. I cycle back from work occasionally, and some days are just hard, the wind is too strong, and always in your face. Anyways, while following the main road, turning right to Woolshed Road which looks stunning in Autumn. You eventually reach Henley’s Farm Estate where you can go through the fields next to our kids’ school, which saves around 1 km, or carry-on Jack’s Point via main road. At some point you reach the starting point. Overall, I just enjoyed the track, repeated it multiple times since. I tried the grade 4 few times, and it is not easy I must say. I’m not mad enough to ride whole part and had to push the bike on foot. We didn’t try this trail with kids on the bikes but walked with them few times on the grade 4 part. Always there was a lot of drama and moaning that the track is too steep, and they don’t like hiking. Anyways this Trail is just one of the sighs in Jack’s Point, but definitely worthy to try.

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