Luxury Retreat Overlooking New Zealand's Highest Peak
Luke, the proprietor of the Mt. Cook Lakeside Retreat, insists on meeting us at the top of the 1.5 km driveway to escort us down. Guests are required to have snow chains or a four wheel drive vehicle to make it the rest of the way down the icy, steep path to the spectacular Mt. Cook Lakeside Retreat below. Situated on the shores of New Zealand's Lake Pukaki, smack in the center of the South Island, the private cottage is so isolated and quiet, you honestly feel as if you're the only humans alive in these parts.
My daughter and I were driving from Queenstown where she lives, to Christchurch where she studies in a distance learning graduate program at the University of Canterbury. The 6-7 hour drive, especially in July, the height of winter, seemed like it might be too arduous for one day. Searching the web for a wonderful halfway point, I stumbled upon this tiny lodge consisting of a two-bedroom cottage by the lake and another two rooms at the Homestead above.
Both homes overlook Lake Pukaki and the majestic Mt. Cook, towering over the Southern Alps at more than 12,000 feet. The Alps are covered with snow, and the light that bounces off the blue lake, yellow sun and pure white snow offers up a panoply of colors at certain points of the day that can only be created by nature.
The Cottage is less than a year old, and has all the amenities one would expect of a luxury retreat.