The Top 20 fishing lodges in New Zealand. These beautiful places offer a fabulous stay in some of New Zealand's most stunning locations, and offer world-class fishing, mainly for trout. They are spread throughout the North and South Islands. Check out the blog posts for lodge reviews, fishing tips and travel ideas around New Zealand
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Have you thought of coming to New Zealand to fish in the shoulder season of May, June and July? There is always a rush of people in to the country to fish through the summer. So the lodges are often full, guides are in high demand and high season pricing applies. But once the […] The post Fly fishing in May, June & July in New Zealand appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Have you thought of coming to New Zealand to fish in the shoulder season of May, June and July? There is always a rush of people in to the country to fish through the summer. So the lodges are often full, guides are in high demand and high season pricing applies.
But once the main season ends on 30 April the whole scene quietens down. This is an excellent time to come and fish in the central North Island. The lakes and lower tributaries of the big fishing rivers stay open throughout this time. You’re far more likely to get the dates that really suit, the guides are easier to book, and shoulder season rates apply in many of the accommodations.
Realistically you could leave Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on a Friday morning. Arrive in to Auckland and catch the early or late afternoon flight from Auckland down to Taupo to be at your chosen lodge for dinner. Be ready next morning for two or three days of full-on fly fishing for trout, then fly out again Monday or Tuesday.
Through May and June the best fly fishing is using nymphs on the lower reaches of the backcountry rivers. The main spawning runs on the Lake Taupo rivers run during these months, and right through to November. Rainbow trout can be caught right through these winter months, with brown trout in May as well. Raft fishing is also a good option in the earlier part of this time and fly fishing on the lakes remains open all year. The only real difference between fishing in the shoulder season (early winter) and through the main season is that the higher tributaries of the rivers are closed, so heli-fishing isn’t really an option.
There is an excellent range of accommodation available throughout this area, from small family-run B&Bs through to some of the best lodges in the country. We bring many people to Poronui, Tongariro Lodge, Wildwood Lodge and River Birches for a quality stay, while family-run Tui Lodge offers an inexpensive B&B stay. Other higher end options include Treetops Lodge and Huka Lodge. We’ll find the best fishing stay for your group – whether it is just yourself or a gathering of 12.
Find out more – email us here.
(C) Travel Gallery 2019
This is such a good news story – to hear that Etihad (UAE-based airline out of Abu Dhabi) has flown their first commercial flight powered by locally produced sustainable fuel is beyond exciting. Suddenly we can see a future without fossil fuels. The bio-fuel used on this flight was derived from salicornia plants grown […] The post Etihad Makes the First Commercial Flight Using Locally Produced Sustainable Fuel appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
This is such a good news story – to hear that Etihad (UAE-based airline out of Abu Dhabi) has flown their first commercial flight powered by locally produced sustainable fuel is beyond exciting.
Suddenly we can see a future without fossil fuels. The bio-fuel used on this flight was derived from salicornia plants grown locally on a test farm in the desert. These plants grow naturally in saltwater marshes and on the coast, but are also being grown in a purpose-built facility combining saltwater food production – think shrimps and fish – with bio-fuel production. Saltwater is pumped from the ocean and used to farm fish in large tanks. The waste water from there is pumped into larger areas where saltwater plants are grown and the bio-mass from these is used to create bio-fuel. The wastewater from there is then pumped into a mangrove wetland where, once again, the bio-mass is used to create bio-fuel. And, as we know, mangroves are great water purifiers so the final output would be clean water.
The article also explains that over 160,000 flights have already been flown on a mix of fossil and bio fuels. And it also mentions Air New Zealand’s test flight using plant-based fuel back in 2008 when these initiatives were very new.
Watch this space as technologies advance. With so much riding on the reduction in carbon emissions in the next 20 years are we looking at a definitive step forward in that?
(C) Sue Farley 2019
The post Etihad Makes the First Commercial Flight Using Locally Produced Sustainable Fuel appeared first on New Zealand Fishing Lodges.
I’ve been to Poronui before and remembered it as one of those perfect places – no little glitches with the hospitality, the experience or even in getting there. But that was mid-winter, when the fishing season was quiet and the guests were there for other reasons like hunting, horse-riding or just for some time out. […] The post Learning to Fly Fish at Poronui appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
I’ve been to Poronui before and remembered it as one of those perfect places – no little glitches with the hospitality, the experience or even in getting there. But that was mid-winter, when the fishing season was quiet and the guests were there for other reasons like hunting, horse-riding or just for some time out.
This time it was early summer, the lodge was full, the fishing season was well underway, and the weather had risen from its winter bed, giving us a balmy breeze and rising water temperatures. I had come to Poronui to learn to fly fish. Why not start at the top?
Experienced and novice fishermen and women come to Poronui from around the world to sight fish the legendary beats for wily brown trout. It’s one of New Zealand’s most quietly well-known fishing lodges and one that keeps these guests coming back year after year. Helicopters are used a lot to get out to the remote spots, and there’s a criss-cross of old forestry and farm tracks throughout the vast property allowing access to large chunks of riverbed. You won’t see another person on your day on the river.
Guide, Marcus, was the lucky guy who got to take me out on the river. Young, very tall and a passionate fisherman, he also had the patience of a saint and total confidence that I would have no trouble learning to cast to a fish on my first afternoon.
When I first arrived at the lodge he had taken me out to the Safari Camp to see some of the other accommodation. The Safari Camp is a remote, very comfortable, tented camp beside a wonderfully noisy rapid on the Mohaka River. Sleeping 4 people in two tented cabins and with a full kitchen and bathroom, it provides an excellent outback stay. You can self-cater or have a chef cook for your group. All you have to do is fish each day and sit around the fire at night. Blake House is another accommodation – a large, beautifully appointed home well away from the main lodge, and the perfect venue for a group or large family stay.
Now it was business time. I was kitted out with waders and boots, water and snacks, and we were off. Twenty minutes later we were several valleys away from the lodge. Marcus set up the rod and we spent the first half hour learning the rudimentary strokes of casting in a grassy area by the river. I learnt quickly, enjoying the swish and flick of the line as it arced from one side to the other. In no time I was casting to a small brown weed, imagining it to be a tricky trout.
Then it was down to the river to put what I’d learnt in to practice. It was a magical experience, wandering slowly along the waters edge, looking for a trout lying quietly in the current, barely visible in the low light of late afternoon, but oh so sensitive to our movements. As Marcus said, “They get spooked as soon as they see you, so move slowly, carefully.” We saw several fish that first afternoon. I loved the motion of casting the line, the swish as it flicked back and forth, and that moment of anticipation wondering if the trout would be drawn to the fly.
I didn’t catch a fish that day, but I had learnt so much, and really enjoyed the quiet and solitude of where we were, way out on the river, surrounded by forest and a big sky. There were native birds chattering nearby and paradise ducks tending their young on a backwater. I could see how a few days spent fishing on a remote river, in a beautiful setting, with these very challenging trout, could become quite addictive. There was a meditative quality about it that was refreshing and very satisfying. I could do this more often.
Thanks to Eve and the team at Poronui!!
There are more cruising options around New Zealand than ever before. Piggy-backing off the more established Australia and Pacific Islands routes, New Zealand has now become a cruise destination in its own right. If you’re heading to New Zealand to fish think about arriving or departing through Australia and sailing across from Sydney – most […] The post Cruising New Zealand’s Volatile Coastline appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
There are more cruising options around New Zealand than ever before. Piggy-backing off the more established Australia and Pacific Islands routes, New Zealand has now become a cruise destination in its own right.
If you’re heading to New Zealand to fish think about arriving or departing through Australia and sailing across from Sydney – most cruises cross the Tasman Sea quite quickly, then spend a week (or more) visiting the ports dotted around the New Zealand coast. This offers a chance to see a fair amount of the country before arriving on dry land and heading to your chosen fishing stay. Or take a cruise around New Zealand’s coastline once you’ve arrived.
Legend has it that Maui fished the North Island of New Zealand out of the Pacific Ocean, while sitting on his canoe, the slightly larger South Island. This poetic birth may help explain the country’s often violent landscapes and surreal vistas, but it also answers a lot of questions that quantum physics have yet to address.
New Zealand is a small remote island nation in the lower left corner of the Pacific, and is relatively young on a global scale. But a week spent cruising the coasts of its two largest islands shows just how young this geologically volatile country really is. Auckland, on the upper North Island, is the largest city, with a third of the country’s four million people. Built around the Hauraki Gulf in the east and the wilder Manukau Harbour in the west it has drawn its heart and soul for generations from the sea, water sports, sailing and a laid-back summer lifestyle. Lesser known is the fact that Auckland straddles 50 volcanic vents, and that the inner Hauraki Gulf is guarded by Rangitoto Island, an active volcano which last erupted just 600 years ago.
We left Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf at midnight on the Volendam, sliding out past upmarket apartments stacked on the end of the wharf, steaming slowly out in pitch darkness past Rangitoto Island and in to the outer Hauraki Gulf. By morning we were cruising quietly between the islands at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Early afternoon we reached the central waters of the Bay of Plenty, an area rich in sea life and a traditional fishing ground for local Maori people. White Island, or Whakaari, sits 30 miles offshore and, unlike Rangitoto, is a very active volcano. Named by Captain James Cook during his early exploration in the 1700s, the island is shrouded in an ever-shifting gauze of sulphurous steam rising from the collapsed crater. The surrounding cliffs are scorched, naked and scarred, with little vegetation except on the outer slopes of one corner. White Island erupts continuously but has not exploded violently since 2000. The ship circled the island several times, giving everyone on board the chance to smell the sulphur, see the steam and watch the seabirds wheeling in the strong breeze.
Next morning we steamed into Tauranga Harbour and tied up beneath the protective cover of yet another volcanic cone, the now extinct Mt Maunganui. Tauranga is a key area in New Zealand’s kiwifruit production and access point to the central North Island.
Onshore excursions include Rotorua, an inland city built round the edge of a volcanic caldera lake. Maori have lived here since they first arrived in New Zealand almost 1000 years ago and they welcome visitors to come and share their heritage and culture at several cultural attractions. Rotorua makes the most of its Central Volcanic Plateau location, where the geothermal activity comes bubbling to the surface throughout the area. At places like Waimangu Valley scalding hot pools, glugging mud pools and pounding geysers let the earth vent while creating warm places to swim or cook food. Many backyards in Rotorua have their own thermal vents which are tapped for steam rooms and hot pools in the family garden.
But at Napier, another night’s cruising down the coast, the earth vented in a very different way, when, in 1931, the city was almost destroyed by a 7.9 earthquake. While Napier was thrashed to its knees as most of its buildings were destroyed and a large fire broke out, it also gained many acres of land due to uplift, including the Marine Parade beach along the waterfront. The city was quickly rebuilt in a bold display of Art Deco architecture, and it is now the best small city example of Art Deco building in the world. Maori Deco, a local variation using traditional indigenous motifs (kowhaiwhai) and carving styles (whakairo), is best seen in the ASB bank building just a block back from the sea in the main shopping area.
On a Maori cultural excursion from Napier we were treated to a different Maori experience when we visited the ancient Hakikino pa (fortified village) site at Waimarama. As with local tradition, men and women walked separately onto the marae (the meeting area), led by two strong, well-fed warriors flashing their eyes and twirling carved weapons. Their soft feet padded on the sandy soil and their flax skirts swayed and clattered as they moved. We were welcomed with a waiata, or song, and listened as they shared their family stories, art and music, and their language. This was a privileged peek into the local indigenous culture, one we were all very moved to have been part of.
We cruised through the night, arriving at Wellington at the southern end of the North Island in the early morning. Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city (recently called the Coolest Little Capital in the World, by several publications) and has a boisterous climate and a very shaky history. It also gained a considerable amount of inner city real estate following a massive 8.2 earthquake in 1855. Tour guides here proudly park on the fault line which runs through the hills behind the city while explaining how Lambton Quay, where sailing ships once tied up and city provisions were unloaded, is now several blocks back from the city waterfront due to seismic uplift.
From Wellington we crossed Cook Strait during the night. This notoriously rough stretch of water separating the North and South Islands barely had us moving in our beds as we powered through a moderate sea, to awake in the morning at Picton, on the northern coast of the South Island. Here the beautiful landforms of the Marlborough Sounds have been shaped by water, not seismic violence, as drowning valleys slip ever so slowly under the sea. Maori explain it as the prow of Maui’s canoe dipping into the sea as he fished up the North Island – it sounds so much nicer.
But we were maybe saved the best for last, as several days later we rounded the southern coast of the South Island and entered the flat calm waters of Fiordland. Unlike the waterways around Picton, these staggeringly steep hills and fiords were shaped by glacial action. Doubtful Sound, also named by James Cook, is the star of the area with the ship passing between high promontories, almost vertical mountainsides and shadowy bluffs. The very high rainfall here creates a golden layer of freshwater, sometimes metres thick, which sits on the seawater and cuts the light levels into the sea beneath. This allows unusual organisms like black corals, spongy sea pens and red hydrocorals to grow within easy diving depth, unlike anywhere else in the world.
As there are no port facilities in Fiordland and the water is too deep to anchor we motored off later in the day towards the setting sun. Next stop would be Australia, several days to the west across the Tasman Sea.
Email for info on all cruising options around New Zealand and Australia
If you’re fishing in the fabulous Nelson or Buller areas in the top of the South Island, in magnificent rivers like the Maruia, the Buller and the Motueka, you’ll be within an easy drive of Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park. This lake is the source of the Buller River so these waters […] The post Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
If you’re fishing in the fabulous Nelson or Buller areas in the top of the South Island, in magnificent rivers like the Maruia, the Buller and the Motueka, you’ll be within an easy drive of Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park. This lake is the source of the Buller River so these waters become home to thousands of trout as they tumble towards the sea.
There are some excellent day walks around the lake and surrounding hills and some serious longer walks up in to the mountains beyond. Check out this sweet little clip of this beautiful area.
Driving in New Zealand It’s a hard choice when you have limited time in New Zealand – do you drive and see the countryside? Or do you fly between fishing stays and get more valuable fishing time? There is no easy answer to this. Although New Zealand looks like a couple of small islands floating […] The post Driving in New Zealand appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Driving in New Zealand
It’s a hard choice when you have limited time in New Zealand – do you drive and see the countryside? Or do you fly between fishing stays and get more valuable fishing time?
There is no easy answer to this. Although New Zealand looks like a couple of small islands floating in the big South Pacific Ocean, it is in fact quite a long country when you go to drive it, 400 kms (220 miles) longer than the state of California. And with a varied terrain, the drive times can be a lot longer than you may think. There are also excellent fishing lodges on both main islands, so the choices increase.
If, like many fishing folk, your intention is to fish, then we usually suggest you fly to the airport nearest your chosen lodge (or lodges) and use lodge transfers or a local rental car to get there.
If your intention is to drive the length of New Zealand over several weeks, with a bit of fishing along the way, then that’s what you will be doing – lots of driving, some fishing. This can be an adventure in itself as there are so many places to stop at along the way you’ll be spoilt for choice. But if driving is your goal we still advise booking your lodge stays and guides ahead of time.
If you choose to drive, either all or part of the way, there are a few things to note. Apart from a few stretches of motorway (freeway) out of the main cities – Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Dunedin – the roads are either state highways or regional roads. And these vary from wide well-formed highways through to steep mountain ranges and passes, narrow gorges, open alpine desert, winding coastline, and many kilometres of lush green pasture land. New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road (steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle) and the give way rules are similar to most countries that drive on the left.
But there are things to watch out for – there are few places to pass on the more mountainous and winding parts. It’s easy to get impatient and try and pass in tight places, but patience is the name of the game here as it’s much better to arrive at your destination in one piece, although maybe a little late. And be aware of animals and slower farm vehicles on rural roads. GPS coordinates don’t always give you the best option to get to a place – you may end up with a river in the way or a road on the map that is actually a goat-track. So check road maps if you’re heading somewhere off the beaten track.
Another good source of info is –https://nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/which has good info for route planning and road closures.
If there has been bad weather where you are heading check that the roads are open before you leave in the morning. Roads through all the mountain passes in the South Island, the Desert Road in the North Island, around Kaikoura, and the West Coast of the South Island may all change without warning.
Check your car rental insurance if you’re renting a car. It is worth upgrading to a zero excess policy so you’re covered for most issues. However, even these policies may not cover for broken glass, lost keys or tyre damage. And always check, if you’re planning to travel on unsealed (gravel) roads, that your policy will remain valid off the seal – most don’t unless you have a 4WD, and even they vary. Ask us for info on this.
And lastly, if you’re heading somewhere out of the way fill your fuel tank before you leave. Safe driving and enjoy the vast beauty of rural New Zealand.
We can help with all your driving and travel queries – just send an email and we’ll get back.
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