Now that we’re in COVID-19 Alert Level 2 here in Te Anau and the Fiordland region, we’re open and operating again. And it means we’re able to get stuck into planning some exhilarating spring and summer outdoor adventures!
One of our passions is fishing – the quintessential Kiwi water-based activity that makes the most of our deep rivers, tranquil lakes and rugged coastlines here in New Zealand, and the bounty they have to offer. Southland and Fiordland fishing in particular is world-renowned: the crystal-clear waters in our part of the country provide an excellent opportunity for catching brown and rainbow trout, and (when the borders are open) seasoned fishing enthusiasts from all over the globe head here for the experience.
But if you’re a local and have become somewhat immune to the stunning scenery and the thrill of reeling in a Kiwi trout, how do you make it feel like a special event? Read on for our tips on taking your average fishing trip to the next level and create your Ultimate Kiwi Fishing Weekend.
Find the dream fishing spot by helicopter
There’s nothing that will make your fishing friends more envious than finding the perfect catch in a perfect, remote location – and getting there by helicopter! We’ll work with you to create a custom fishing experience with an expert pilot that knows all the best rivers and streams like the back of their hand. The idea of standing calmly with a cold beverage in one hand and a fishing rod in the other isn’t new, but having arrived in that situation from the skies really is.
Enter a competition, or watch others compete
Before or after your Fiordland helicopter charter and fishing experience with us here at Southern Lakes Helicopters, immerse yourself in the culture of fishing by watching (or competing) in the Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic! It’s a huge annual Labour Weekend event in the area. Even those who don’t fish are drawn to the excitement of the day, and to see who takes home the impressive prize of a brand new boat.
An endearing twist on your fishing weekend is watching the little guys get into it! The Cruise Milford Take a Kid Fishing event is held on Labour Weekend as well. Kids aged 11 years and younger get a chance to reel in a trout on McGregor’s Pond and have it weighed to win. Head along to cheer them on! Or, if you have a kiddo of your own in tow, enter them to give it a go themselves; online entries are welcome up to 5 days before the big day.
Add another outdoor activity in the region on Day One or Two
One way to make your Ultimate Kiwi Fishing Weekend memorable is to actually add an entirely different outdoor activity to your itinerary; it’ll enhance the helicopter fishing experience by exploring the area on a deeper level.
Fiordland National Park’s Great Walks tracks are world-famous, but they’re a big commitment in terms of time. You need several days to complete one from beginning to end. But there are a few Fiordland Day Walk options as well, which is a wise add-on to your fishing-focused weekend.
So, the day after your helicopter adventure and following breakfast at your Te Anau accommodation, be sure to drive the short distance to the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre for a short but impactful stroll. You’ll follow the track around the lakeside there, passing the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary before stopping at the Kepler Track and Control Gates car park (perhaps your future Kepler Track Great Walks starting point on another holiday?). It’s a visual feast at that point, with unrivalled mountain and lakes views offered up to you.
Once you’ve had your fill, wander back to where you started for a round trip of about 50 minutes – some exercise and scenery to fit in before flying home and a beautiful and serene way to top off your Ultimate Kiwi Fishing Weekend.