When we began our journey at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat, we embraced a beautiful but rugged landscape. Our vision then and now: To shape that landscape into a peaceful retreat, dedicated to relaxation, wellness and rejuvenation.
On August 30, 2020, we faced our greatest and most terrifying test. The acres of wilding pines surrounding the property were engulfed in a forest fire. We feared the worst – that our years of effort and love poured into the Retreat would be gone in an instant.
However, thanks to the incredible efforts of firefighters and emergency services, as well as our own team, our property suffered minimal damage. Our luxury villas, Moraine Lodge event space and Pukaki Wine Cellar Observatory were untouched.
The main impact of the fire was on our trees and landscaping. Within a week of the event, and with the support of our team and many friends and family, we’d begun the task of cutting burned timber, mulching and replanting. The scars of the fire will no doubt be visible on the land for some time, but we are looking ahead.
This kind of event inspires reflection, and we have chosen to accept the fire's destruction as an opportunity. We are rededicating ourselves to our vision for Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat as a place of rest, wellness and renewal for all who set foot here. Now the regenerating land itself will be a living symbol of that vision.
As spring arrives in the High Country, each new green leaf and blade of grass at the Retreat shows the power of nature to heal and rejuvenate. And, across the stunning blue waters of Lake Pukaki, Aoraki/Mount Cook towers over all, a monument of resilience and endurance through millenia.
In the wake of COVID-19, which was devastating to so many businesses, we were overwhelmed by the wonderful support we received. Now we look to you, our treasured friends and guests, to continue your support as we move forward from another difficult challenge.
We hope you will join us on this journey of healing and renewal, and let the rejuvenation of Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat be an inspiration for your own life. We look forward to sharing this special piece of pure paradise with you.
Ngā manaakitanga (best wishes),
Kaye and Luke Paardekooper