It’s a hard call but here’s our Top 5 New Zealand Fly Fishing Lodges for the Coming Season
Although in no particular order (because they are all fabulous) these five beautiful lodges are our picks for the coming season in New Zealand, which opens on 1 October. And already the pace is heating up with rooms and guides becoming scarce in some of them over the big months of January through to March. Our advice – book now while you still have choices. And be prepared to travel out of the peak of the season so you still have plenty of options to choose from.
New Zealand has become a very HOT destination and is reaching saturation point at the busiest times. Mid-summer coincides with Christmas, New Year and the long, hot school holidays, all combining to put a strain on the country’s accommodation resources. However, there are just as many trout and long stretches of unbelievably beautiful river out there as ever, so read on to find out where you will want to go this season. There’s a mix of large and small, and North and South Island lodges here – what they all have in common is great accommodation, service and cuisine, and world-class fishing.
Poronui – there’s a lot of adjectives used to describe Poronui – remote, rustic, breath-taking, relaxing and unforgettable, to name a few. And Andrew Harper likes it too. But the essence of Poronui is a lot more than the combination of all those things. It’s a rustic sporting lodge that has grown from earlier fishing camp roots, set on the edge of the Kaimanawa Forest Park in the central North Island. It’s surrounded by a vast area of wild rivers, mountains and valleys, and is home to some of the best trout fishing in New Zealand. Accommodation is a mix of luxury lodge rooms, a separate homestead and a summer safari-style camp deep in the heart of the property.
Owen River Lodge – sits in the heart of the brown trout country at the top of the South Island. It’s the smallest lodge in our selection, so one of the harder ones to get in to. But size means nothing when it comes to the excellent fishing available from this secret spot. Host, Felix, is a passionate fisherman himself and loves the myriad local waterways as much as you will. With just 6 rooms Owen River Lodge is boutique and personal. Accommodation is in garden suites overlooking the beautiful Kahurangi National Park. And the fishing for brown trout is among the best in the world.
Fiordland Lodge – is the southern-most lodge on the list, overlooking Fiordland National Park, which in turn is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area of south-west New Zealand. This richly-timbered lodge sits above Lake Te Anau, one of the deep, brooding lakes in the area. Fiordland Lodge is surrounded by an impressive number of fishing rivers and streams, and also has just as many fishing spots accessible by helicopter. You can fish in a different place every day for a month if you wish. Accommodation is in a selection of well-appointed lodge rooms and two free-standing chalets. The cuisine, service and location are all excellent, as is the trout fishing.
Tongariro Lodge – our second North Island fishing lodge pick is Tongariro Lodge. This traditional-style lodge also has a long history as an iconic New Zealand fly fishing lodge. It sits on the bank of the Tongariro River, one of New Zealand’s best-known fly fishing rivers, and has a great range of fishing opportunities within an easy drive. There is also lake fishing available on nearby Lake Taupo. Accommodation is in a mix of 1-bedroom chalets and 2 – 5 bedroom villas. Their executive villa is an excellent place to host a small group or family stay of up to 8 people, depending on the configuration required. The trout fishing is generally sublime.
Blanket Bay – just an hour from Queenstown’s international airport, Blanket Bay is a very handy place to fly in for a luxury fishing stay. This sumptuous lodge is one of the best in New Zealand and is highly acclaimed for its fishing as well. As with Fiordland Lodge, just a few hours away, Blanket Bay is within easy reach of the unforgettable fishing in the Fiordland area, including the Otago and Southland rivers. Accommodation is a mix of stunning luxury lodge rooms and chalet suites. There’s plenty here to do for non-fishing partners and there is also excellent golf, wilderness activities and wineries nearby.
You could stay at all five of these exceptional properties, or just pick one or two. Save a few for your next trip maybe.