Paradise now a player

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The not-for-profit Paradise Trust has quietly become a serious player in the Wakatipu accommodation market. 

Paradise operates a $950 per night luxury homestead plus five cheap and cheerful secluded bush cottages on 128 hectares of pristine land fronting Diamond Lake near Glenorchy. 

The homestead accommodates 13 guests and each cottage sleeps between four and nine people. 

The entire Paradise property can be exclusively booked for up to 40 people at $2250 per night – $56.25 each. 

Dating from the late 1800s, Paradise hit international headlines in 1997 when owner David Miller, suffering from an hereditary kidney disease, offered to give away the beauty spot for fear it would be carved up by developers when he died. 

After hundreds of approaches, some weird and wacky, Miller instead set up the Paradise Trust in July 1998 before he passed away soon afterwards. 

Trustees – currently numbering five, including Miller’s eldest daughter Marijke – spent more than a decade fundraising and refurbishing to make Paradise a going concern. 

The latest financial accounts show the land and buildings in the books at $2.3 million. 

More than $900,000 was spent restoring the homestead and its eight guest rooms and three bathrooms to what the trust calls “a luxurious standard” with “superbly comfortable beds, crisp cotton sheets and original artwork”. 

There’s no restaurant but guests can “hire your own personal chef”, the trust website says. 

As well as family gatherings and corporate retreats, Paradise pitches for summer weddings and special events with a large marquee on the homestead lawn. 

Four of the five cottages are basic – but then they’re only $25 per person per night. 

The other cottage, The Annexe, is $35 per person but boasts electricity, bath, flush toilet, microwave, fridge and oven. 

The trust’s 2011 accounts show sales almost doubled to $91,000 and a full-time management couple have been hired.