Media Kit 

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A Time for Renewal: Rejuvenation After a Fire

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.  READ MORE

A solo escape at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

New Zealand Herald Travel, - by Jessica Wynne Lockhart

'The next morning, sunshine spills through the villa's windows,revealing what my night-time arrival obscured. I understand immediately what Luke's partner, Kaye Paardekooper, means when she says the building "wraps around" you. Leadlight windows frame the mountains in a way that contemporary floor-to-ceiling panes never could, while neutral tones throughout allow the lake's aquamarine hue to take centre stage.' 

Land of the Gods

Psychologies Magazine - by Jini Reddy Feb 2020

'Wistful goodbye.  Towards the end of my stay, I fly to the South Island and the remote Mount Cook Lakeside Retreat. It sits in a forest wilderness near Lake Pukaki. With the turquoise waters and views of Aoraki – the highest peak in New Zealand – its beauty is surreal. I have my own villa, spa, the services of a yoga teacher and masseuse and, heaven oh heaven, my own hot tub'

kia ora magazine new zealand accommodation luxury

Down in the Scenic South

OK Magazine recommends Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat.  

'If you fancy getting away form urban life and immersing yourself in a private wilderness but still wish to enjoy somr five-star luxury hen follow in OK's footsteps and check in to Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat'.

A Precious Thing in Hobbit Country

The Independent on Sunday, UK - by Alice Jones

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.'

Chicco Jerikho at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

It was fun hosting Chicco and the crew on their journey through New Zealand.  Inspiring!

The video features the vegetable garden which supplies the Retreat's garden to plate menu, a peek inside the Ashley Mackenzie Villa, the large glacial erratic in the Memorial Graden and Pukaki Observatory.

 Video by Lanang Indonesia

Published on 19 Mar 2016

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

Kia Ora Air New Zealand Inflight Magazine - by Matt Philip

'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.  The 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

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. ...


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

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.

Lake Pukaki among world's clearest waters

NZ Herald article | Photo / Richard Robinson

Lake Pukaki 'is such an unearltly 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." ...


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

Stuff Article - by Siobhan Downes

"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."

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! 


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.

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.