Best of New Zealand Overview
New Zealand is a land of contrasts, alpine mountain ranges, lush rainforests, pristine beaches, majestic fjords and volcanic peaks that combine to paint a picture of dramatic beauty. New Zealand is divided into two islands and is about 1,000 miles in length (104,000 square miles), a little smaller than the State of California. English is the official language as the 3.5 million inhabitants are of mainly British decent. Kiwis are some of the most interesting and kind hosts you will ever meet, and are a truly one of New Zealand’s finest resources. Enjoying sport and the outdoors are prerequisite for every Kiwi, as evident by the hundreds of organized outdoor activities and tours available across the island nation.
New Zealand is perhaps the most gorgeous ecological wonder on the planet, and is choked with hundreds of the most picturesque trout fisheries imaginable. The rivers and streams of New Zealand are abundant with non-native rainbow and brown trout stocked there at the beginning of this century that have proliferated into one of the best all around trout fisheries on earth. This is technical dry fly heaven for anglers interested in targeting huge browns and the occasional rainbow. However, a fishing trip to New Zealand is much more than just a fishing trip. Guests of this remarkable country are witness to perhaps the world’s most beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna, culture, people and fine hospitality.
New Zealand is a trout angler and outdoor lover’s dream – but is also an incredibly diverse country rich with angling opportunity around every bend in the river. Dozens and dozens of traditional fishing lodges, bed and breakfasts, independent guides and an immense roster of non-angling activities and guided tours are available for the choosing.
Best of New Zealand
We began exploring New Zealand in 2001 with a handful of research and development adventures as well as some hosted trips to both the North & South Islands. A few years ago, our travel department director, David Leake, spent a month traveling the South Island visiting over a dozen fishing operations from Queenstown to Rotoroa. New Zealand is a trout angler and outdoor lover’s dream – but is also an incredibly diverse country rich with angling opportunity around every bend in the river. Dozens and dozens of traditional fishing lodges, bed and breakfasts, independent guides and an immense roster of non-angling activities are available for the choosing. Although we have learned our way around a bit, we have also realized we only know enough to make us dangerous! For this reason, we decided to simply pass along our New Zealand inquiries to the guys who put today’s trout fishing programs on the map in the United States market… Mike McClelland and The Best of New Zealand Fly Fishing.
Best of New Zealand recognized over thirty years ago that New Zealand alone was more than enough work for a highly specialized travel agency. Because we cannot be everything to everyone, we would rather put you in touch with the experts. We can sleep well at night knowing our clients are in good hands with Best of New Zealand. Mike and his staff have visited New Zealand over fifty times, and have been building relationships in this friendly country since 1981. Nobody knows the ins and outs of the fishing and non-angling options available in Kiwi land than The Best of New Zealand.
Invariably, the majority of New Zealand tourists want more than just the standard week long fishing trip. It would be foolish to travel that far and not experience its ecological wonders, hiking, sea kayaking, heli-tours, as well as the wine country, fine golf courses, and modern cities. Best of New Zealand can organize highly customized itineraries that encompass all you want to accomplish with your trip. They know the smallest niche bed and breakfasts as well as the fishing programs at the most tried and true fishing lodges. Best of New Zealand also gets the best fares with Air New Zealand – making it possible to get the most bang for your buck when booking your flights.
To book a trip with Best of New Zealand, we request you have brief conversation with us before making the call. We will discuss your itinerary, general preferences and preconceived ideas about your trip prior to making the introduction with Mike McClelland and his team. Cooperatively, we will initiate the planning process together.
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Both the north and south islands of New Zealand are riddled with dozens of options – each with their own style of accommodation and fishing. Some operations are traditional fishing lodges, while others are smaller bed and breakfasts or luxury hotels.
Best of New Zealand will gauge your budget, expectations, fishing interests, and non-angling agenda to match you with the best locations to get the most from your itinerary. The following are a roster of just a few of The Best of New Zealand’s advertised destinations:
These lodges specialize in fly fishing. They have some of the best fishing guides, are located in prime fishing areas, and their guests all share an interest in fly fishing.
Tongariro Lodge, Turangi
Poronui Ranch, Out of Taupo
Murphy's Lodge, Gisborne
Stonefly Lodge, Nelson Lakes
Lake Rotoroa Lodge, Nelson Lakes
River Haven Lodge
Riverview Lodge, Hanmer Spring
Lake Brunner Lodge, Westland
Kawhaka Lodge, Hokitika
Cedar Lodge, Makarora Valley
Riverview Farm Lodge, Southland
Nokomai Station, Southland
Luxury lodges offer luxury and outstanding meals. They are generally smaller and cost less than the Super Lodges. These lodges tend to offer a wide range of activities --of which fishing is only one. Again, BONZ uses a variety of independent fishing guides for clients staying at these lodges.
Greenhill The Lodge, Hawke's Bay
Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau
Riverrun Lodge, Wanaka
Bed & Breakfasts
Bed & Breakfasts range from luxury to basic --but in all cases have hospitable and friendly Kiwi hosts. Most of these properties have been specially built and offer facilities that usually surpass those of the hotels --plus include a great breakfast and in many cases an evening cocktail hour.
BONZ uses a substantial number of Bed & Breakfasts ; those listed here are just a sampling of some of their favorites. Fishing can be arranged with a local independent fishing guide.
The Springs, Rotorua
Bronte Lodge, Nelson
Beluga Lodge, Methven
Heartland Lodge, Twizel
White Shadows, Queenstown
The Dairy, Queenstown
Cottages, Villas, Condos & Apartments
Over the years BONZ has identified a number of unique two and three bedroom cottages, villas, and apartments in spectacular locations (vineyards, beaches, lakes, rivers, hilltops, etc.) that offer every amenity to ensure comfortable and enjoyable stays. These properties are especially well suited (and offer great value) for two couples or a family traveling together. BONZ can organize fishing guides for clients staying in these properties.
Black Barn, Hawke's Bay
Craggy Range - Cellar Masters Cottage, Hawke's Bay
Clifftops Retreat, Nelson
Farm Cottages, Queenstown
Jane Evans's 39 Russell
Queenstown Apartment, Queenstown
Vineyard Cottage, Hawke's Bay
Wave Watchers Cottage, Punakaiki
Travelers take an overnight flight from the U.S. to Auckland, New Zealand. Most commercial flights to Auckland connect in Los Angeles or San Francisco en route. Air New Zealand services the vast majority of direct flights from the U.S. to Auckland, however there are options with other airlines such as American or Qantas. Travelers lose a day crossing the international dateline en route. From Auckland, you will connect onward to one of many smaller cities and towns serviced by Air New Zealand (Christchurch, Taupo, Queenstown, Wellington, Nelson) and onward to your destination by ground or helicopter transportation. Inversely, guests follow the same route on the way home, only to regain the lost day after re-crossing the dateline and arrive back into the U.S. on the same day.
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Seasonality / When to Go
Trout fishing in New Zealand is generally has a season of October 1st through April 31st. A small number of streams available to fish do not open until November 1st, however there is still some excellent fishing to be had during October.
Good fishing can be had throughout the season, so there is really no “best” time to visit New Zealand. October until December can be unsettled spring weather, however New Zealand’s oceanic climate can have weather of all seasons any time of the year. Spring fishing in October or November can oftentimes be the best of the season if you receive a warm spell, especially as most trout have not seen an angler in over six months of closed season. Early January is when the majority of New Zealanders go on summer holiday, so many tourist areas are crowded and anglers are most likely to run into other fishermen or experience more wary trout. However, the weather and conditions are typically most pleasant during the summer months of December – February with warmer temperatures and longer days. March and April are also excellent months for taking perhaps the biggest fish of the season and a little cooler weather than the peak summer months.
The following are some very basic generalizations to keep in mind…
October – Christmas and March – April - The most trout are often caught when the weather and water is cooler
End of February – April - The best conditioned trout are caught in the late season prior to spawning
December – March - Surface activity with dry flies and terrestrials is best in summer
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Given the inherent strict refund policies associated with nearly all fishing packages, we cannot stress the importance of obtaining travel insurance to protect your investment. Travellers can obtain coverage for pre-existing health problems (related to yourself, your family, business partners, or your travelling partners), emergency evacuation, lost baggage, delay, life insurance packages; even “no questions asked” or “for work reasons” coverage.
Call today to protect your investment: (214) 219-2500 or (888) 824-5420
Please review our Policies & Cancellations section.
New Zealand is the outdoors person paradise! There are literally dozens of amazing activities visitors can choose to participate in while visiting New Zealand.
4WD High Country Tours
Zip line Canopy Tours
Helicopter Scenic Flights
Arts and Crafts Tours