FIORD­LAND

Go Travel New Zealand - - Contents - By Chris McPhee

What a way to start our week­end! On a pris­tine day, the drive from Queenstown to Te Anau is one of the most var­ied and in­ter­est­ing drives I have ever driven. From mas­sive alpine moun­tain and lakes out to farmimg flat­land and back into to an alpine re­gion. Af­ter ar­riv­ing in Te Anau a cou­ple of hours later we de­cided to head straight

to the Dock Bay Lodge to drop off our bags.

When we pulled upto the lodge I was pleas­antly sur­prised with the amaz­ing struc­ture and its ‘tag’ as a bou­tique ac­com­mo­da­tion was an un­be­liev­able un­der­state­ment. Dawn at the lodge rec­om­mended we go to Red­cliff Cafe for din­ner and ex­pe­ri­ence one of Te Anau’s hid­den gems.

Af­ter try­ing a few of their vast se­lec­tion of lo­cal wines it was our turn to grab a spot in the quaint wee din­ing room. To­tal com­pli­ments to the chefs as not only was the food beau­ti­fully pre­sented but also cooked to per­fec­tion! Af­ter one more wine we de­cided to head home, we felt two stone heav­ier. Home early to make the most of the man­sion and its awe­some dé­cor and sur­round­ings.

Wak­ing up the next morn­ing in our room that to say the least was “fit for a king” we opened the drapes to be amazed by the views over the lake to the snow capped moun­tains be­hind. Right there and then we de­cided that if we ever won the lot­tery we would be mov­ing to the lodge full-time. Af­ter en­joy­ing be­ing sprayed and mas­saged from ev­ery di­rec­tion in the multi-head shower it was time to head off to the main event that my anx­i­ety and ex­cite­ment had built up since we booked this ex­cur­sion a few weeks ear­lier.

Af­ter a gen­er­ous breakfast we were picked up out­side our lodge and chauf­feured to the boat ramp by our guide Ken. Ken was a friendly lo­cal guy that had fished the river and lake for years and knew ev­ery­thing there was to know about Fish­ing in this pris­tine re­gion.

I had been look­ing on-line for Jet­boat op­er­a­tors in New Zealand when I no­ticed Fish­jet and their grand ac­tiv­ity. The thought of fish­ing for trout from the back of a jet­boat was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence that sold me im­me­di­ately. Fly­ing up the river on a jet pro­pelled boat that can travel over wa­ter as shal­low as 100mm was an

ex­hil­a­rat­ing

ex­pe­ri­ence that def­i­nitely lived up-to my high ex­pec­ta­tions. Af­ter a ten minute trip up the river we stopped at one of Ken’s se­cret lo­ca­tions and cast out our rods.

Within five min­utes I felt a bite but no mat­ter how much I prayed, the trout was just too smart for me. Fol­low­ing the spin­ner the whole way and hav­ing a few teas­ing nib­bles was all the elu­sive fish was in­ter­ested in. Just as it reached the boat it turned di­rec­tion and swam off into the dis­tance. This guy had done it all be­fore.

It had taken a bit of con­vinc­ing for me to get my girl­friend to ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of fish­ing for the first time and af­ter a crash course by Ken it was Briar that first hooked-on. Af­ter a strug­gle for a few min­utes the beau­ti­ful look­ing brown trout was fi­nally in the boat. Part of com­pany pol­icy is to re­lease the fish to live an­other day and help keep this ma­jes­tic wee river jam packed with what at the time seemed to be the most teas­ing fish I had ever come across. This was all about to change for me though! It paid off lis­ten­ing to the ex­pert and cast­ing out in the area Ken had ad­vised me to try out. Straight away one was on and af­ter a head to head bat­tle with the crea­ture I fi­nally came out on-top and had my­self a crack­ing

rain­bow trout in my hands. Ex­actly the con­fi­dence boost I needed as over the next few hours I seemed to be pulling them in from ev­ery di­rec­tion.

We de­cided to stop off for some tea and some home-made cookie’s while float­ing down the river lis­ten­ing to Ken’s wide and in­ter­est­ing knowl­edge of the area. Then we sped off wind­ing along the river just tak­ing in the amaz­ing scenery on ei­ther side. It says it all about the beau­ti­ful scenery along the Wa­iau that Sir Peter Jack­son him­self chose lo­ca­tions along the river to film parts of his block­buster hits ‘Lord of the Rings’.

The banks were cov­ered in na­tive trees abun­dant with wildlife which seemed to be one of the high­lights for my na­ture lov­ing girl­friend. I was more in­ter­ested in what was lurk­ing in the dark green wa­ters be­low and try­ing to im­prove on my num­bers for the day which was be­com­ing eas­ier and eas­ier. Ken had men­tioned that the most fish caught in one day was twenty and I was aim­ing to try and at least man­age to hit half of that im­pres­sive tar­get. Al­though I only man­aged to end the day with a half dozen, it was an ex­pe­ri­ence that will stay with my for­ever and def­i­nitely one of the high­lights of my trav­els to the land of the long white cloud. Whether you are in­ter­ested in adren­a­line sports, fish­ing or just chill­ing out with na­ture then look no fur­ther than this won­der­fully fam­ily run op­er­a­tion. It was al­ways go­ing to be hard for Fish­jet to im­press me with my high ex­pec­ta­tions how­ever I have to take my hat off to them. This had made my dream come true and the great ex­pe­ri­ence had passed with fly­ing colours.

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