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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New Zealand is a beautiful, fresh country with a dynamic landscape, a fascinating natural history, excellent fly fishing for trout, and a cosmopolitan, if somewhat rural, lifestyle. It is also remote on a global scale, and a long flight from the northern hemisphere. Maybe the thought of a long flight is putting you off heading […] The post Flying To New Zealand appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
New Zealand is a beautiful, fresh country with a dynamic landscape, a fascinating natural history, excellent fly fishing for trout, and a cosmopolitan, if somewhat rural, lifestyle. It is also remote on a global scale, and a long flight from the northern hemisphere.
Maybe the thought of a long flight is putting you off heading to New Zealand. You’ve heard about the great trout fishing and the fabulous little fishing lodges dotted through the country. It’s on your fly fishing bucket list, but the flights are a little daunting.
Here’s a bit of good local knowledge for you. It needn’t be as long a flight as you may think. Long flight times are often due to transit stops, plane changes and indirect routing by the various airlines. Or by just going for the cheaper options.
If you live near San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago or Vancouver you’re only one flight away from New Zealand. Same if you live in the major Australian cities, South East Asia, China, Japan and the Middle East. These flights range from 3 hours from Sydney to 17 hours from Dubai. Somewhere in-between, like Los Angeles, is a 13 hour flight; Singapore is a 10 hour flight.
Direct flights from North America are easy to find on Air New Zealand or its code-share partners. As Auckland is the airline’s hub, all flights lead to Auckland, so to speak, and are not sidelined to other hubs and countries along the way. There are also some direct options with American Airlines.
So from the United States, for example, you can check in to Los Angeles International early evening, refresh in the airport lounge before boarding, and head into the sky for the overnight flight. We recommend flying at least Premium Economy so you can upgrade to a lie-flat bed (Air New Zealand has an excellent Sky Couch offer); Business Class is even better.
There are no direct First Class services to New Zealand – the easiest option for First Class is to fly with Qantas via Sydney – adding at least 3 hours to the trip. But not all legs of the flight may be in First Class as it depends on the aircraft being used.
Having relaxed through the night on a direct flight you will arrive in to New Zealand around 6am, hopefully well rested and ready to start your New Zealand adventure. Just remember that you lose a whole day on the flight to New Zealand if travelling from the US – so if you leave LA on Friday evening it will be 6am Sunday morning when you land, despite only being in the air for 13 hours.
Most domestic flights within New Zealand are also with Air New Zealand, so it will be possible to get all your flights on one ticket – always an advantage if disruptions occur. And don’t forget to off-set the carbon emissions on your flight when you purchase – for a few well-spent dollars you’ll be helping to plant carbon-hungry trees. Air New Zealand supports an excellent reforestation project with these funds through their FlyNeutral initiative.
Another tip – if you’re arriving into Auckland later in the day, heading for a fishing lodge stay further down the country, it can be a good idea to take that first night in Auckland to relax and refresh and also to help your body clock adjust. There is a good hotel at the international airport, and many others in the city, a 30 minute drive away.
Ask us for more info – we are New Zealand luxury and fly fishing specialists.
Minaret Station, high in the mountains between Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka, in the south of the South Island, has recently been named the Best Sporting Resort in the World for 2019 by American Airlines. And justifiably so. We flew in to Minaret Station last year by helicopter (it’s the only way in unless you’re a […] The post Minaret Station Wins Best Sporting Resort appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Minaret Station, high in the mountains between Lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka, in the south of the South Island, has recently been named the Best Sporting Resort in the World for 2019 by American Airlines. And justifiably so.
We flew in to Minaret Station last year by helicopter (it’s the only way in unless you’re a mountain goat) and were treated to their fabulous Mountain Lunch. So remote even the air feels quiet, this alpine lodge sits in the middle of a sheltered valley surrounded by beautiful (often) snow-capped peaks. And from there, true to the award’s name, you can play and explore at will.
Heli-fishing for wily trout in season, heli-skiing in winter, heli-hiking in summer, heli-mountain biking, heli-almost everything, is the name of the game here. A top pick is a heli-trip to Fiordland, a gargantuan landscape that dwarfs a helicopter to the size of a mosquito. So you can access diverse and exciting options each day of your stay. Or wander the home valley on a network of boardwalks if you choose to stay close to the lodge.
Lunch was superb, based around all the bountiful wild and local foods available from the Otago and Fiordland regions – super fresh fish and produce, mountain-raised lamb, deep Otago red wines, and sweet local fruits.
Accommodation is in just four luxury chalets, each angled for that perfect view. The decor is robust – woollen mats (yes, New Zealand wool), possum fur throws, and textures and colours that echo the surrounding mountains and alpine grasslands. Each chalet has a hot tub on the deck, and there’s a good-sized dressing area for all that outdoor clothing you’ll be discarding at the end of the day. Then there’s just time to grab a local Otago pinot noir and retire to the deck to watch the sun sink low over the surrounding peaks before the lodge drops into its fabulous Dark Sky setting.
With the new fishing season just a month away now there is plenty of info coming through from the various lodges. Some, like Tongariro Lodge, don’t close over winter as there is fishing in the region throughout the year. Others, especially in the South Island, do close for the winter months, but are now starting […] The post New Season at Tongariro Lodge appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Tongariro Lodge, in the central North Island, lies at the southern end of Lake Taupo, and is in the heart of fabulous fly fishing country. They are getting ready for their 37th summer season, which helps demonstrate the enduring quality of fishing available from the lodge.
Looking forward to the coming season they say, “By mid-October over 50 thousand prime-conditioned trout averaging 3.5 – 6lb will have migrated up the world famous Tongariro river alone from Lake Taupo, and we are once again looking forward to a stellar spring and summer season in all the Taupo tributaries. The first of December is opening day on the isolated upper reaches of the Tongariro and Taupo tributaries. This always provides great angling for trout who have not seen a fisherman for six months. A wilderness rafting trip on the upper Tongariro offers spectacular fishing at this time.”
Accommodation at Tongariro Lodge is a mix of studio chalets and multi-bedroom villas. These are very comfortable without being lavish, and the main lodge area with the restaurant, den and bar are a haven for trout fishing fanatics. The lodge guides know these fishing waters intimately and can ensure some excellent fishing.
Pricing is attractive too and there are stay and fish packages starting from 3 nights with 2 days fishing.
Rates are per person, share twin and include all meals i.e. a cooked English breakfast, a 3 course gourmet dinner and picnic lunch daily. Accommodation in a one bedroom chalet, free wifi, full use of all lodge facilities and expert guiding with one of Tongariro Lodge’s top guides
3 nights 2 days fishing =US$1199.00
5 nights 4 days fishing=US$2177.00
7 nights 6 days fishing=US$ 3155.00
Check with us for availability and pricing to suit your dates.
Find Out More About Early Season Fishing and Specials Have you thought of fly fishing in New Zealand before Christmas? From opening day on 1 October through to mid-December there is a fabulous window of opportunity for some excellent fly fishing for trout in New Zealand, without the pressure of too many people around. We […] The post Pre-Christmas Fly Fishing in New Zealand is Some of the Best appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Have you thought of fly fishing in New Zealand before Christmas? From opening day on 1 October through to mid-December there is a fabulous window of opportunity for some excellent fly fishing for trout in New Zealand, without the pressure of too many people around.
We find it’s a quiet time in terms of bookings, so it’s easier to get the dates you want, and to be at the lodges you would like to fish at. With the main fly fishing season only opening in October the fish are not so flighty and there are less fishermen out on the rivers.
The lodges are all aware of this time too, and there are some good early season specials available to encourage you to come at that time. Especially as once mid-December arrives many lodges jump to their high season rates. But the consensus is that there is excellent fishing right through October to December, and that it’s an excellent time to come to New Zealand to fish.
Felix Borenstein, at Owen River Lodge, says, “This early in the season, the local brown trout seem to love big nymphs — the stonefly is a classic, early season fly. The fishing is still very much casting to sighted fish, and rivers such as the Owen usually have mayfly hatches on a sunny afternoon. Early season will often see you fishing 50% of the time using a dry fly. The weather this time of the year can be changeable, so it’s always an idea to pack your dull-coloured rain coat.”
At Poronui they say, “October 1 heralds the opening of the fishing season. Snow melt is not something we have to contend with, instead fish tend to be hungry, less fussy and presentation is not as critical as during summer – no wonder guides gets so excited as opening morning approaches. Fishing during November and December is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Those ‘in-the-know’ choose this time of year to fish. The days are lengthening and while the weather warms up, the water is still cool. There can be good mayfly hatches, encouraging the trout to feed recklessly on the surface during the day. This is the least crowded time to fly fish in New Zealand.”
Down by the lake Tongariro Lodge reports, “The rainbows and browns tend to feed more aggressively and be less spooky early season. It is quite a sight to watch a feeding trout move 10 feet to engulf your fly! By November the days are long and the sun is higher, making spotting and stalking conditions ideal. The waters are less busy. Nymph fishing is often used but there can also be excellent dry fly fishing with good mayfly hatches along with brown and green beetle by mid November.”
John from Stonefly Lodge summarises it like this – ‘In October streams with resident browns becoming very active and there’s excellent fly fishing with weighted nymphs in most mountain streams. The trout have had all winter without angling pressure so they are not as spooky to angler casts. November brings the start of summer weather, with very long days and plenty of sunshine. Very good dry fly hatches, particularly in the evening. The trout are generally very aggressive to artificials and many guides believe this is the best fishing month of the year for browns. The water levels are dropping and getting clearer. December is one of the least crowded months to fish New Zealand waters up until Christmas Day. The trout in all streams are active throughout the day and at this time the browns seem least wary. Good clear waters with little angling pressure.’
Overall, the agreed knowledge is that early season fishing (pre-Christmas) in New Zealand is a great idea, in terms of fish action and condition, pricing, lodge and guide availability and numbers of people on the rivers. Now is the time to book to make the most of those great early season specials.
We’ve got all the info for you right here so email us with your query today.
The post Pre-Christmas Fly Fishing in New Zealand is Some of the Best appeared first on New Zealand Fishing Lodges.
So you’ve found the perfect lodge stays for your fishing trip. And now you’re wondering how to travel around New Zealand easily, maybe see a bit of the country on the way, but also maximising the time you get fishing at the lodges. Luckily it’s not that hard. The bulk of the fly fishing in […] The post Travelling Around New Zealand appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
So you’ve found the perfect lodge stays for your fishing trip. And now you’re wondering how to travel around New Zealand easily, maybe see a bit of the country on the way, but also maximising the time you get fishing at the lodges.
Luckily it’s not that hard. The bulk of the fly fishing in New Zealand is in three main areas, the central North Island, and the northern and southern ends of the South Island. We’ll look at each one, then see how they can be visited in one trip.
If you’re arriving from almost anywhere but Australia you will have arrived in to New Zealand via Auckland, the main international gateway airport and cruise terminal. If you’re fishing in the central North Island you can choose to either fly or drive south to Taupo or Rotorua, depending on which lodge you’re staying at. Poronui, Tongariro Lodge and River Birches are near Taupo, while Wildwood Lodge and Solitaire Lodge are near Rotorua. From Auckland it’s a 3 hour drive to Rotorua and 4 hours to Taupo, and another 20 to 40 minutes drive from there to the lodges. If you fly it’s approximately a 50 minute flight to Rotorua or Taupo, and the same drive to the lodges from either airport. The drive from Auckland is firstly through the sprawling suburbs of South Auckland, then into open country for the rest of the way. The driving is easy on mostly open road with some motorway (freeway) driving to start.
If you’re fishing in the Nelson area in the northern South Island, you’re best to fly to Nelson from Auckland (or Christchurch if you’re arriving from Australia). Then it’s a 50 to 90 minute drive to the three main fly fishing lodges in that area – Owen River Lodge, Stonefly Lodge and River Haven Lodge. This area is home to three national parks and their resplendent countryside, so the roads are a bit narrower and twist and turn through the hills and mountains as you get further away from town.
The third area, and no less exciting, is the southern lakes area around Queenstown and Fiordland. There are direct flights to Queenstown from Australia, or its a 90 minute flight from Auckland. And from Queenstown airport you’re within an hour’s drive of Blanket Bay, 2 hours to Fiordland Lodge or a 1 hour helicopter flight and transfer to Minaret Station. Most other local lodges are within those time frames. As in the northern South Island, the roads around the Queenstown area are very good, although sometimes hilly and a bit winding. And the further out you explore, the steeper and narrower the roads get. But that’s all part of the journey.
If you’re fishing while on a New Zealand tour, or you just want to drive between the lodges, then allow plenty of time as drive times are generally slower than they look on the map. You’ll need at least two weeks to explore either island. There’s a lot more detail on this post about Driving in New Zealand.
If you’re flying between lodge stays then the crossing between the islands is easy. If you’re driving both islands you will need to cross on the inter-island ferry that runs between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. There are several options for this.
We can also arrange transfers to all the lodges from the nearest airport if you don’t want to hire a car. And if you prefer to travel by private transfer between the lodges we can arrange a personal driver or a heli transfer. This provides an amazing view of the areas you are travelling through.
River Haven Lodge sits near the confluence of the Mangles and Buller Rivers near the small town of Murchison at the top end of the South Island. Just a 90 minute drive from Nelson airport, it is one of several lodges offering stay and fish packages in the heart of New Zealand’s wild brown […] The post A Laid-Back Stay at River Haven Lodge appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
River Haven Lodge sits near the confluence of the Mangles and Buller Rivers near the small town of Murchison at the top end of the South Island. Just a 90 minute drive from Nelson airport, it is one of several lodges offering stay and fish packages in the heart of New Zealand’s wild brown trout country. Pricing is in the mid-range and the fishing is superb.
Owned and run by well-known guide Scott Murray and his wife Leya, River Haven Lodge offers an excellent option if you enjoy a more casual stay with your world-class fishing. And like all good fishing lodges there is plenty of gear and tackle available on site and a heli-pad on the lawn. There’s also a very pleasing number of excellent fishing rivers and streams within a 90 minute drive or a highly scenic heli flight.
With a 70% return guest rate there is obviously plenty to enjoy about a stay at River Haven. Accommodation is in four rustic log cabins in the garden, stretched along the riverside. There’s also a smaller lodge room in the main house. All meals are also taken in the main house, although the cabins do each have a small kitchen to rustle up a quick snack in. The rate includes accommodation, all meals and house wines and beers, pre-dinner drinks and canapes. And the fishing rate includes all your gear and tackle, a packed lunch, and 4WD transport to and from the river each day. Heli flights, as usual, are extra.
Scott is a well-known fishing guide who has been working the area for a long time. Many fishermen may remember him as a guide at Lake Rotoroa Lodge (when it was open). It’s his dream come true to now be running his own lodge not that far down-river from there.
And about the rivers – a very happy guest had this to say. “The waters, which range from small creeks to large, open rivers are nothing short of spectacular. Fishing these gin clear waters for challenging wild Browns that range from 3-10+ pounds is the ultimate trout fishing experience. I believe that Scott’s team of guides are second to none … And to top it off, Scotty and Leya’s hospitality makes you feel like you are visiting old friends as opposed to staying at a commercial lodge.”
And that really sums up the experience at River Haven Lodge. It is very much a home-style fishing stay rather than a ‘lodge’. If that is your preferred style of hospitality, then you’ll feel right at home there. And you won’t be disappointed with the fishing either.
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