Nelson is famous for its relaxed living and long golden beaches. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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