South Island Fishing & Lodging

Christchurch

The South Island's largest urban center, Christchurch is a vibrant modern city; bustling with sophisticated café’s and restaurants, first-class hotels, great festivals, innovative theater, live music, exciting art galleries and wonderful shopping. It is also a classical English city, famed for its Gothic architecture, tree-lined avenues, exquisite gardens and lovely parks. The city is also a convenient base from which to explore the rural attractions of the Canterbury Plains.

Christchurch is called the garden city because almost a third of it is devoted to parks, reserves or sports fields. The Botanic Gardens, possibly New Zealand's most mature and beautiful gardens, consist of formal flower gardens, conservatories, glorious annuals and magnificent trees all within a loop of the Avon River. This gently flowing, picturesque river meanders throughout the city.

Barbara and I had the good fortune to use Angler's Passport to plan our first ever trip of a lifetime to New Zealand. We are not fishermen, but wanted to plan our trip with someone who knew the country and the people. We spent 19 days on the two islands and every stay at B & B's was outstanding and all the events scheduled went like clockwork. We met some of the nicest people, who truly became our friends along the way. Our friends who were there fishing and met us along the way used Mary also and had a wonderful experience. We would highly recommend using Angler's Passport to plan your trip to New Zealand.
TC & Barbara Clark, Scottsdale, Arizona

Christchurch is a main hub for the domestic flights through out New Zealand's South Island. Since that is where the majority of the population is found, the planes are routed through Christchurch in order to fill the planes. So, if you are flying from Queenstown back to Auckland, or Nelson to Queenstown for example, you will most likely fly by way of Christchurch. That makes Christchurch an easy stopping point for a night or two.

Christchurch is also a beginning point for the Tranz Alpine Express, which is considered one of the great train journeys in the world. Crossing the huge and fertile patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, The Tranz Alpine winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys, before tracking slowly across the country's greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps. Following rivers and skirting lakes, it descends through lush beech forest to the Tasman Sea and the town of Greymouth. The area just to the northeast of Greymouth offers excellent fishing for brown trout and has exquisitely beautiful scenery to breath in as well. This trip is not to be missed!

Just a two-hour drive to the south of Christchurch is a plethora of great rivers full of trout and a fisherman’s dream, come true. The area referred to as the Mackenzie Country just inland from Fairlie on the way to Mount Cook is a land of exquisite beauty, with turquoise colored lakes from glacial melt, and the snow capped Southern Alps.  This is not only beautiful countryside but this area offers some of the best trout fishing on the southern half of the South Island.

Our guide Kevin Payne has access to local streams as well as high country rivers and lakes. Specializing in stalking and sight fishing to large trout, Kevin has a great selection of rivers to choose from. If the weather is cloudy or rainy on the Timaru side, he can travel to the other side of the range and be in beautiful clear weather where the trout will be more easily spotted. Our clients love fishing with Kevin and so will you.

Jane_Kevin
The accommodations we use in this area consist of a few farmstays and a luxury cottage accommodation based in Pleasant Point.

Nelson

The Nelson region is the northwestern half of the top of the South Island; the beautiful country lying between the northern edge of the Southern Alps and a great sweep of beaches. This is an extraordinary corner of New Zealand, where the attractions range from deep forest to crazy cafe culture.

Nelson's trademark is the diverse culture that has bloomed in this area of rich resources and easy climate. The region has three national parks within 90 minutes of each other, two marine reserves and many more wonderful places to play. Abel Tasman National Park is an excellent place to explore the coastline by sea kayak.

At the southern end of the park is Motueka, home of the famed Motueka River. The Motueka is a sizeable river with long placid runs interspersed with rough runs strewn with huge boulders. This stream produces well on dry flies by day, using the upstream spotting, stalking method as well as nymphs. Traditional English wet flies are used in the evenings. There are several large tributary streams, all within 40 minutes drive, providing semi-wilderness fishing throughout the season. Helicopter flights to the backcountry are readily available and, the distance is closer than you think, over the virgin rain forest and rugged mountains to the world- renowned Karamea and Crow Rivers.

Our Motueka area accommodation is Wairepo House, a lovely luxury bed and breakfast accommodation owned by Joyanne and Richard Easton. This unique colonial homestead is set in a beautiful fourth generation apple and pear orchard surrounded by beautiful gardens. Set on two acres, this is the perfect location from which to explore the artist studios, café’s, galleries, wineries, national parks and beaches.

Just down the road a few clicks you will find the beach were you can rent a kayak for the day or take a water taxi out to one of the islands and hike the Abel Tasman Coastal Track which is a 51 kilometer easy to moderate hike that passes through a picturesque landscape of coastal forests and golden sandy beaches. Hike for as long as you like and then wait for the next water taxi to come back and pick you up. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful clear water on your own private beach.

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Another lovely property in the general area is Stonefly Lodge, which has been specifically built with the environment in mind. Situated on 150 acres on the bank of the Motueka River, Stonefly Lodge is completely self contained and does not require power, water or waste water management from other sources.

Just outside the town of Murchison, we have a lovely little accommodation with self-contained cabins overlooking the Mangles River. Our guide Scott Murray and his wife Leya own and operate this lovely accommodation. You can stay here and have your meals nightly with Scott and Leya or do it as a bed and breakfast style or opt to do your own cooking since your cabin has a full kitchen.

Queenstown

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu at the foot of the Remarkables range, Queenstown is a year-round alpine resort where you can be wildly active or simply relax and unwind. The town is compact enough to get around by foot and has excellent shopping and dining opportunities, gorgeous lodges, luxury accommodations and access to excellent trout fishing.

People who thrive on action-packed thrills will have a hard time deciding between dozens of hair-raising options that include bungy jumping, jetboating, whitewater rafting, abseiling, tandem parachuting and parapenting. In winter, the skiing and snowboarding are superb. Heliskiing, cross-country, telemarking and glacier skiing are also available on the surrounding mountains.

Guided trout fishing in this area can be done by the day or for the truly adventurous, a back- country experience can be arranged. We have excellent guides in the area and surrounding areas such as Te Anau and Wanaka and can arrange specific itineraries to fit your individual needs.

Just a twenty- minute drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is a picturesque, historic settlement that still has many of the original buildings from its gold rush days. You can still pan for gold and some lucky folks even find some.

Covering nearly three million acres, wet, wild rugged and remote, Fiordland is one of the largest national parks in the world. Waterfalls tumble thousands of feet into its pristine, forested valleys and lonely fiords indent its coastal boundaries. Protected by its isolation, some of New Zealand's rarest birds are found here, as well as some of the country's best-known hiking tracks such as the Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, Greenstone, Hollyford and Dusky.

Milford Sound is the most famous and accessible of the grand, glacier-carved fiords of the South Island's southwestern coast. Motor coaches will pick you up from your accommodations in Queenstown and deliver an interesting narration to you en route to Milford Sound, the end of the line. When you arrive there, you can take a cruise on the Sound and have a delightful lunch while watching bottlenose dolphins at play. This is an excellent day trip and highly worth taking. Also, the coaches are a much better solution than driving oneself. An alternative to driving both ways is to either coach over, cruise the sound and then take a scenic flight back to Queenstown, or you can even fly both ways. Either way, don’t miss Milford Sound.

Queenstown should be a stop on any South Island visit. Accommodations range from very high-end luxury lodges to B&B's and boutique hotel type accommodations.

 

Hanmer Springs

Nestled in a valley just below the Southern Alps you will find the small alpine village of Hanmer Springs. These natural hot springs are open year round, allowing access by summer tourists as well as winter skiiers. Just a 90 minute drive from Christchurch, it’s close enough to do as a day trip but we recommend you spend a little more time than that as there is quite good fishing in the area as well.

Just down the road 5 miles we have a fishing lodge providing guests with comfortable accommodation, gourmet meals and excellent fishing within close proximity. Riverview Lodge offers five rooms with ensuite baths, a large lounge with a stone fireplace, pool table, large decks, lovely gardens and awesome views.

Heading northwest from Hanmer Springs, you will pass Maruia River Lodge on your way into Murchison, the fly fishing mecca of the northwestern corner of the South Island. There are lodges and accommodations too numerous to mention as well as world class fishing guides, so plan on spending some time chasing wiley trout in this region, also known affectionately as “Brown Trout Heaven”.

brownie_ORL2South Island New Zealand has everything from glaciers to whale watching, fiords, world class hiking tracks, adrenalin sports, jet boats, thermal pools, beautiful beaches, artist studio tours, great restaurants, luxury accommodations, awesome fishing, eco tourism, stunning mountain ranges, swing bridges, beautiful gardens and gorgeous cities.

This is only a small sample of what New Zealand’s South Island has to offer; it’s just too much to put into words. The best thing to do is call us and we can make recommendations to you based on your time frame, interests and budget and put together a custom personalized itinerary to suit your needs perfectly.