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Media releases

Take a Self Drive Adventure to Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat.

Thank you to @phillippuckey @ignitionselfdrive and @blackrobincreative for capturing the essence of romance and letting their compass fall here at the Retreat.

Contact us to arrange your own self drive adventure through the most spectacular landscapes in New Zealand.

Packages available.


Congratulations Adi and Ratna!

What a beautiful wedding day for Adi and Ratna.  We feel very privileged to be part of their special day.

Adi and Ratna chose to marry at the Ashley Mackenzie Villa.  Photos were taken onsite.

Images by Bev Bell, Simply Inspired Wedding Photography


Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat hosts Storm Reid during filming of A Wrinkle in Time

Due for release early 2018, A Wrinkle in Time will be a must see.  

We were privileged to accommodate Storm Reid and her mother Robyn during filming here at Lake Pukaki. Storm is an inspiring young woman and the trailer demonstrates her incredible talents.  

During filming, Oprah and Ava DuVernay also joined us for dinner and  stargazing experience in the wine cellar observatory.  What wise women!  With their leadership and talent, this movie will be a must see and we can't wait to see A Wrinkle in Time when it comes to the NZ screens.

"Thank you so much for sharing your lovely home! I had an awesome time!  You are so sweet! Thank you again.  You made shooting a Wrinkle in Time easy" - Storm

Aoraki / Mt Cook Stay

By Matt Philip - Kia Ora Air Nw Zealand Inflight Magazine March 2017

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

When a guest recently told Luke and Kaye Paardekooper that her stay at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat made her feel "like a billionaire for a night", it was perfect feedback.  The couple created their luxury property at Lake Pukaki as an exclusive experience in a place of great natural beauty, and cut no corners.  Te Ashley Mackenzie Villa, which sits on a secluded plateau with views of Aoraki/Mount Cook, is built of double-block walls, with Oregon beams and an inviting fireplace made for apres star-gazing whiskeys. (There is a boutique cellar/observatory with refracting telescope, or you can take in the stars from your hot tub.) For the active, there's a gym, a massage room and a sauna, plus walking trails, a tennis court and a curling rink set among the pines. The villa accommodates four, and the homestead includes a two-bedroom guest wing.

kia ora magazine march 2017 mt cook lakeside Retreat accommodatino mackenzie nz

To the Lake House

Mindfood-  By Ewan McDonald | MARCH 23, 2017

Just a few years ago, it was a dream. Now Luke and Kaye Paardekooper are sharing their dream come true with guests from around the world.

At Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat, they have created a luxurious and secluded place where travellers can relax and rejuvenate in one of the most beautiful and peaceful locations in New Zealand.;

Set in a forest wilderness overlooking the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki, the retreat is on the doorstep of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park in the beautiful and unique Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.

From their rooms, guests can enjoy uninterrupted views up the lake to the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mt Cook.

The night sky is just as spectacular: the retreat is inside the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

The story begins in 2010 when the couple were operating their events management business in Wellington. ...

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mindfood magazine mt cook lakeside retreat nz luxury lodge accommodation

Did you know that all the tapware at the Retreat has been hand crafted?

The New Zealand supplier, In Residence recently visited the craftspeople at Perrin and Rowe, producing this video on the manufacturing process.  

Each piece of tapware in the Villa is beautifully hand crafted.  This fitted perfectly with our desire to handcraft the Villa and create a truely luxurious experience.


The 9 Bluest Waters in the World - cntraveler.com

Like sand, not all bodies of water are created equal: due to certain natural filters like coral reefs or limestone, some oceans (and lakes, and rivers) simply look better than others. Here, we’ve rounded up the world’s bluest waters for your summer travel…

The largest of three near-parallel alpine lakes on New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Pukaki is such an unearthly shade of blue that it looks like a scene out of a movie. (And it is: the lake was a backdrop for major scenes in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies). But that frosty, Gatorade-level blue is no special effect: the lake derives its hue from glacial flour—a fine silt of pulverized rock suspended in the water that reflects blue light and give the lake its luminous appearance.

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Lake Pukaki among world's clearest waters

NZ Herald article | Photo / Richard Robinson

Lake Pukaki "is such an unearthly shade of blue that it looks like a scene out of a movie," wrote Conde Nast.

A New Zealand Lake has been named among the world's clearest waters by an American travel publication.

Lake Pukaki, an alpine lake in the South Island, was named the third clearest by Conde Nast Traveler, coming in behind the rivers in Bonito, Brazil, and the Italian seawaters around the island of Lampedusa in Italy.

The lake "is such an unearthly shade of blue that it looks like a scene out of a movie," wrote Conde Nast, adding that it did in fact feature as the backdrop in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies.

"That frosty, Gatorade-level blue is no special effect: the lake derives its hue from glacial flour - a fine silt of pulverised rock suspended in the water that reflects blue light and give the lake its luminous appearance." ...

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lake pukaki mount cook accommodation 10 best

New Zealand's greatest gifts: Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve

Stuff Article | Siobhan Downes | January 6 2017

"The Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat at Pukaki has an exclusive observatory for guests, equipped with a six-inch refractor telescope. You can also enjoy refreshments and nibbles in the adjoining wine cellar."

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Seeing the Southern Lights Is an Experience of a Lifetime

We recently shared our unique insights into how to see the Aurora Australis, and to make the most out of your quest to see them in the blog post by Expedia, 'Chasing the Southern Lights in New Zealand'. Chasing the lights can in itself be an adventure. You have to find the perfect night, when the moon is dark, the sky is clear, and the solar winds are swirling up a magnificent geomagnetic storm.

And you have to have patience. The lights are unpredictable, but they do reveal themselves, especially if you plan on spending a few days on the South Island. While you wait soak your cares away in our outdoor hot tub overlooking the lake, revitalise tired muscles with a relaxing massage at our Fantail Spa and savour our fantastic cuisine – at the Mt. Cook Lakeside Retreat, you won’t mind waiting for the aurora to show.

After all, what could be more amazing than a combination of stargazing in one of the most beautiful areas of the world with luxurious accommodation – spa and on-site observatory included!

You can also fill your days with mountain biking, hiking, kayaking or other outdoor activities. Breathe in the fresh air – it’s some of the cleanest in the world at Mt. Cook. See the stars at night in all their wonder, and when the Southern Lights appear, you will have your grand 


Absolute Wanderlust - Lakeside Luxury

Absolute Wanderlust Blog | Image by Absolute Wanderlust | 13 November 2016

Living like royalty, in luxurious accommodation with limitless views of luxuriant landscapes while being served lavishly, delicious meals… Sanjay and I were a part of this amazing and slightly surreal experience recently, while celebrating our five year wedding anniversary! 

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wanderlust mt cook lakeside retreat priti blog

Top 10 things to do in the Mackenzie, New Zealand.

We absolutely love the Mackenzie. In fact we think it is too much of a well kept secret and want to share our favourite things to do here! Here are our Top 10 experiences in the Mackenzie.


Winter Wonderland. Latte Magazine article by Brittany Woodford

It’s not too late to start plotting a snowy escape. Here’s our round-up of the coolest places to get on the piste. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat features as the LUXURY ESCAPE in this article by Brittany Woodford.

A precious thing in hobbit country - article by Alice Jones, The Independent on Sunday, UK

The scenery is like a film set, but with extra seclusion, as Alice Jones found. If ever a place looked like it had been Photoshopped, it's Lake Pukaki. The water is an otherworldly icy turquoise, fringed by velvet greenery and overlooked, to the north, by Mount Cook, (aka Aoraki, or "Cloud Piercer"), New Zealand's highest peak, topped with box-fresh snow. Peter Jackson filmed his last hobbit film here, and no wonder – it's a ready-made fantasy landscape. You just want to stare and stare .

Mystical Mountains, Wedding feature in the Singapore Tatler with Jamie Keet

Breathtaking locations await you at every turn in New Zealand’s South Island, promising vast vistas of nature to inspire your wedding album shots. Book a driver, hire a photographer, pack your sense of adventure, and set off to discover the land of Middle-Earth with your loved one. Singapore Tatler Weddings at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat for some inspirational wedding shots.

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat wins 2016 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat today announced it has been recognized as a winner in the Best B&B and Inns in New Zealand category of the 2016 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards. The Retreat ranked 13th out of 25 in New Zealand.

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Five remarkable retreats, THE WEEK magazine, 2 May 2015

It’s no wonder Peter Jackson chose Lake Pukaki as the location for his last Hobbit film, says Alice Jones in The Independent. The lake, an “otherworldly” turquoise surrounded by “velvet greenery” and snow capped peaks, is “a ready-made fantasy landscape. You just want to stare and stare at it.”

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat gain NZ Luxury Lodge status

Four years of hard work has paid off for a Lake Pukaki couple after their lodge has been officially recognised by Qualmark as a New Zealand Luxury Lodge. Luke and Kaye Paardekooper, who own Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat, were thrilled to receive the accreditation, which has seen the lodge join an elite group of around 30 properties throughout the country with the accreditation.

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat Sponsors Hops n Hooves - Queens Birthday Weekend 2016

Hops n Hooves craft beer and merino festival is a new event for The Mackenzie. Add an authentic kiwi experience to your travel itinerary and experience the best of high country hospitality at this local Twizel event. Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is proud to be associated with this event.

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Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail and Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat are Official Partners

Recently, the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail was recognised as the best cycle trail in New Zealand. The trail covers the most varied and picturesque scenery in New Zealand.

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat gains 2016 Certificate of Excellence

We are pleased to receive a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor again this year. The certificate recognises hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year.