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.