The central North Island of New Zealand has some of the world's best trout fishing, and you'll find great places to fish and stay throughout the year. Although the fishing season closes for the upper reaches of many rivers over winter the lower reaches of some rivers stay open all year, as do the lakes. In summer the season is open from October to April. These fishing areas centre around Lake Taupo and Rotorua and there are excellent options near each place. I travelled there earlier in the year to check out the lodges we represent.
Tongariro Lodge is nestled among trees on the banks of the very famous Tongariro River, right on the edge of Turangi township. It’s one of the country’s iconic lodges, having hosted royalty and other very famous people to fish there over the decades. The lodge is a mix of traditional lodge spaces – lounges, dining and den – and free-standing villas dotted around the grounds. You can walk out your door in the morning and amble along the stopbank, watching the early fishermen out casting. With a guide you can drive or fly from here to any number of choice fishing spots, or you can just walk out the door. The Tongariro River is stuffed with famous fishing holes almost within walking distance. I found the cuisine, fishing, hospitality and setting of this place to be all that a discerning fishing traveller could ask for.
Next stop was River Birches, tucked in below a bend in the lower Tongariro River and just upstream from Tongariro Lodge. Accommodation here is B&B style, although it can also be booked as lodge accommodation with dinner included as well. There are two suites in the main building, along with two large lounges and an open kitchen. A third room is across the deck in its own private space and a large leafy garden runs down to the river. Guides are available to take you fishing throughout the region, or, if you have your own gear you can cast just out the front gate.
Nearby I also stopped in at Tui Lodge. This is a family-run B&B catering to the 4-star traveller. The rooms are large and each opens to a view of the garden, the two largest with private decks as well. The family also runs a fishing guide service so everything is on hand. We will be listing this property on the website shortly. Contact us for more details.
Then it was up to Huka Lodge out the northern end of Lake Taupo beside the Waikato River. Huka Lodge is probably New Zealand's most recognised luxury lodge and it is right at the high end of the fishing market. Royalty and celebraties frequently wander the well-tended gardens and have been coming to fish here for decades. There is good fishing off the front lawn if you wish, but it is also central to the best that the Taupo and Rotorua areas have to offer, either by vehicle or helicopter. This is a world-class destination with world-class fishing.
From there I tracked north-east through Rotorua to stay at Wildwood Lodge. This beautiful lodge is quite small, just three accommodation rooms, but its gentle lakefront setting provides a relaxing stay, only enhanced by the great fishing and lovely hospitality. Wildwood runs a full lodge service, or B&B (your choice), with two large accommodation rooms in the main house and a superb little luxury guest house in the garden. The owners run a successful guiding company and take guests to fish throughout the Rotorua and Te Urewera regions.There is also excellent saltwater fishing just 45 minutes away in the aptly named Bay of Plenty.
It was almost time to head south again but not before stopping in at Treetops Lodge, high in the hills behind Rotorua.I was surprised by the scale of Treetops Lodge, both in the size of the buildings and in the way they are spread across a native forest-covered hillside high above the valley floor. The main lodge is a series of massive reception rooms, a library, billiard room and dining areas, with a wing of lodge accommodation at one end. Larger chalet-style suites are spread through the nearby forest, linked to the main lodge by rambling walkways. From Treetops you can fly-fish the Rotorua and Taupo areas, and also head out to the coast for some saltwater fishing.
From Treetops I headed south again, past Taupo and out on to the road to Napier, heading for Poronui, a remote luxury fishing and hunting lodge deep in the hills off the highway and bordering the Kaimanawa Forest Park. Poronui is a gem. It’s a very large property, part working farm, part hunting estate that is being left to regenerate to native bush. There are several parts to Poronui – the main lodge with its very comfortable suites and rooms overlooking the Taharua River, the large Blake House which provides a separate exclusive stay venue, the Stables, and a remote river camp complete with luxury tent cabins right beside the fiesty headwaters of the Mohaka River. This Safari Camp is something rather special and if you get the chance to visit Poronui I suggest taking a few nights at the camp as well. You won't get much more remote than this without using a helicopter. Once again, I loved this place for its magnificent setting and hospitality and the large variety of fishing options it presents. Heli-fishing is a must-do here.
During my week away I visited seven fantastic fishing lodges and B&Bs in as many days and was left with the confident knowledge that the properties we offer our fishing clients are among the best in the country.
Contact us for details on all these places, and more.
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