In New Zealand helicopters are sometimes referred to as 'magic carpets' and for anglers, that's exactly what they are.
Flying over a breathtaking saddle or pass in the mountains, and then up or down a river to a landing spot is always highly memorable. After you get dropped off and the “bird” leaves, a notable silence will descend, reminding you that you are in the middle of nowhere and the only sounds of the day will be the movement of water, the breeze in the trees, and the splash of a leaping fish miraculously attached to your line. By 5 or 6pm or whatever time you arranged, the distant sound of the helicopter begins to get louder and it finds you a few miles upstream, standing on a gravel bar with lots of room for a safe landing, and you’ll shortly be flying back to dinner with a few stories to share.
Sparkling streams, staggering landscapes - angling in New Zealand is equal parts challenging and rewarding, placing you firmly at one with nature. Helicopter fishing trips offer a wide variety of exclusive opportunities off the beaten track. Skilful pilots will deposit you deep inland or up in the mountains, stalking some of the biggest trout in the country. Many rivers overshadowed by their larger counterparts, that would take days to walk to, fly mostly under the radar – you could be the first to fish their untouched waters all season.
This is the sort of extraordinary experience that makes happy anglers return year after year to visit their favourite fishing lodges and to fish with their favourite guides. The lodges, guides, and helicopter companies all work together to make sure that the rivers get well rested between visits to help ensure great expeditions.
Here, you can base yourself at a deluxe fishing lodge, taking off from right in front of your room and being whisked back in time for a sumptuous dinner. The beauty of New Zealand is that you’re only ever a short drive or flight away from countless other spectacular sights and activities. A day of fishing is easily followed by a day of golfing, kayaking, hiking, or wining and dining.
Lodges around the country can organise a helicopter fishing trip for you. Here are some excellent places to try.
Poronui - Taupo
Tongariro Lodge - Taupo
Stonefly Lodge - Nelson
Owen River Lodge - Nelson
Riverview Lodge - Hanmer Springs, Canterbury