6 Days 235 km


  • Large brown trout
  • Exquisite food & wine
  • Abel Tasman National Park



This 6-day fly-fishing itinerary starts and finishes in sunny Nelson at the top of the South Island.

Nelson Tasman is famous for its relaxed living and stunning natural landscapes. It's also known as 'trophy brown trout country' so it's a must-see area for anglers. Within an hour's drive, you can access several major rivers awash with large brown trout.

Day 1: Spend the day in Nelson

Fisherman's Island, New Zealand


Long golden beaches and untouched native forests


  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Craft brewery tours
  • Art galleries and craft shops


Known for its mild climate, epic scenery and long winding rivers, Nelson is perfect for fly-fishing.

Read more

The seaside city of Nelson is home to an artistic community of over 300 working artists and a plethora of galleries as well as delicious restaurants, boutique craft breweries and enticing golden-sand beaches. Explore the region's wineries via the Tasman's Great Taste Cycle trail or take the short walk from central Nelson to the Centre of New Zealand.

Beyond the city, you will discover a huge diversity of landscapes and experiences, making it a great place to explore by boat, foot or kayak. Take some time to explore Nelson before heading on to Motueka to begin your fly-fishing holiday.

Book now

Day 2: Nelson to Motueka

Nelson Tasman
Fishing in the Motueka area, Nelson Tasman


  • Specialist fishing lodges
  • Two National Parks nearby
  • Lively cafe culture



Find activities, tours and accommodation in Motueka.

Read more

Today you will head around the coast to the sunny town of Motueka. Many visitors use this town as a base for their exploration of Abel Tasman National Park; however, it's also a great town for anglers with various specialist lodges available. 

The scenic Motueka River is one of New Zealand's premier brown trout rivers with plenty of resident and sea-run trout, some to trophy size. With a range of water types from long riffles, long glides, boisterous rapids and deep pools, this is a beautiful and challenging river to fish.

Day 3: Take a guided fishing tour

Nelson Tasman
Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman


  • Motueka River
  • Golden Bay
  • Riwaka Resurgence


  • by bus:

    Contact the iSITE for fly-fishing day tours


Explore national parks, meet local artists and savour the local wines.

Read more

Several operators offer an excellent guided experience for you to do today. In Motueka itself, Uppacreek Guiding specialises in brown trout sight fishing. Further afield, the experts at Latitude Guiding or Stonefly Lodge provide one to multi-day tours throughout the region. Alternatively, if you're going it alone, read more about Motueka River on Fish and Game's website here(opens in new window)

Non-fishers may like to hire a kayak and explore Abel Tasman National Park or take a sightseeing trip to beautiful Golden Bay.

Day 4 - 5: Motueka to St Arnaud

Nelson Tasman
St Arnaud, Nelson Tasman


  • Alpine landscapes
  • Glacial lakes
  • Nelson Lakes National Park


  • by car:

    1 h 24 min | 107 km via Motueka Valley


Find activities, tours and accommodation in St Arnaud.

Read more

Travel to St Arnaud, your base for the next 2 days. From here, you can explore the epic Nelson Lakes National Park, famous for its alpine landscape and blend of rugged peaks, forest and tranquil glacial lakes.

Importantly, there are also plenty of pristine waterways that are perfect for trout fishing. Two of the most popular fishing rivers in the area are Wairau River and Buller River, both boast diverse fishing environments and good trout populations. If you would prefer, several operators nearby offer guided experiences.

Day 6: St Arnaud to Nelson

Nelson Tasman
Jens Hansen – Gold & Silversmith, Nelson Tasman


  • Art galleries
  • Pioneer Museum
  • World of Wearable Art museum


  • by car:

    1 h 16 min | 89 km via SH6


Fly-fishing in New Zealand is fantastic every month of the year.

Read more

Return to Nelson on the final day of this itinerary and take some time to relax and enjoy the easy, sunny town before beginning your next adventure.

View the route below

You may also be interested in...