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Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat opened in 2013 when owners Kaye and Luke Paardekooper left Wellington in search of a slower-paced lifestyle. They found this on the shores of the Mackenzie District’s Lake Pukaki and now, 10 years after falling in love with the Mackenzie, they have established their luxury retreat as a world-class accommodation experience.

Their most popular offerings are the wedding packages but in late 2017 Kaye and Luke embarked on another development journey when they noticed the shortage of purpose-built wedding venues and conference spaces within the Mackenzie. Moraine Lodge began construction, taking on similar design features and styling to the luxury villas the retreat also offers. The lodge is a modern take on classical European architecture and includes some beautiful ancient Greco-Roman features. With a large open fireplace, high ceilings and wooden beams it creates a romantic and elegant environment.

Recently, Kaye and Luke have also opened Moraine Lodge as a fine-dining restaurant five nights a week with Chef Corey Hume as their new Culinary Director. Corey has an extensive resume including competing in the World Culinary Olympics for both New Zealand and the Australian Culinary Olympic teams and has also been a coach for Bocuse d’Or New Zealand team.

Corey is offering a unique fine-dining experience which Kaye and Luke believe will be good for driving more tourism to the Mackenzie region.

“We are excited to have Chef Corey Hume join our team as Culinary Director,” Luke said. “We believe it will take our fine dining restaurant to that next level and create wonderful memories for people.

"With Corey’s impressive culinary background and passion for food, we look forward to offering and providing our guests with an extraordinary dining experience amidst the breathtaking beauty of the landscape.”

After dinner, all you have to do is step outside and look up to experience the galactic magic of the Mackenzie. Kaye and Luke offer stargazing up at the Pukaki Wine Cellar and Observatory, allowing their guests to explore another special part of the retreat. With a drink in hand, you can listen to an experienced astronomer take you on a tour of the night sky with a high-powered laser pointer and a pier-mounted telescope to learn more about the constellations and their mythologies, stars, star clusters, nebulae, planets, the Moon and more.

Kaye, Luke and their team are excited for this new chapter in Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat’s journey and extend an invitation to try Corey’s ‘Trust the Chef’ menu not only to guests of the retreat but to anyone who would like to indulge in a world-class dining experience.

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