Women on the fly

A girls trip like no other with Wanaka i-SITE's Liz Hills and Southern Rivers Fly Fishing

Fly-fishing rod in hand, knee-deep in crystal clear water, surrounded by waterfalls and mountains chasing trophy-sized trout; I knew immediately this was not going to be an ordinary fly-fishing trip. A luxury adventure with my best of gal pals, an expert guide as well as a wine in hand was a winning combo.

Whare Kea Lodge

Tucked in the most stunning wilderness of the South Island, the magnificent Whare Kea Lodge was our starting point on our taster of a four-day off-the-grid outdoor heli-fishing adventure. Having touched a fishing rod maybe twice in my life (gasp!), this was the start of my learning to cast. And it was no mean feat!

A guide pours wine while clients learn to cast fly-fishing rodsClients practise casting a fly-fishing rodWhare Kea Lodge in Wanaka, New Zealand

The guide

The prospect of having a world-class fly-fishing expert like Jake Berry of Southern Rivers Fly Fishing as our expedition guide was ridiculously exciting. Having Jake’s expertise and insider knowledge, as well as laser-focused eyes primed to spot even the most cunning of fish certainly upped our odds of catching a trout, not to mention it being achievable fun for me being an absolute novice and my girlfriend being a ‘pro’. Jake was able to cater to any ability level and still find us some fish to catch!

A fly-fishing guide in Wanaka, New ZealandA group of fly-fishing clients wade through the water in WanakaA woman wades through the river in Wanaka, New Zealand

Feeling fly

True to his fisherman form, Jake took us to the hidden gem spots, giving us absolute insider’s access to the incredible beauty of the South Island’s wilderness. After wading through rivers in these to-die-for locations, fully decked out in gear, I was feeling very ‘fly’, not to mention dry – despite being in the water!

A client casts as the guide looks on in WanakaCatching the big one in Wanaka, New Zealand A client and fly fishing guide show off their catch

Food & wine

And what is a girls trip without the finest of food and wine? To be honest, I would’ve gone on this tour just for this. Everything we ate was caught wild – whitebait fritters, venison, crayfish, copious amounts of wine – all cooked on a crackling riverside fire. It was decadence in the middle of nowhere and felt like a Michelin five-star restaurant on a riverbed in the most remote fairy-tale wilderness in Aotearoa.

Fly-fishing guide cooks crayfish riverside in Wanaka, New ZealandLunch on a fly-fishing tour in Wanaka, New ZealandVenison cooked riverside in Wanaka, New Zealand

Rejuvenated & accomplished

This is a girls trip like no other. It is an adventure and experience that leaves you feeling so rejuvenated and accomplished in a way that you never thought, all while having the most incredible fun along the way. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure that includes a stay at a luxury lodge, a flight in the most remote and jaw-dropping of locations, the best trout fishing in the world, the finest cuisine and the best guide possible – this is a trip you will never forget.

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Photos by Jeff Forsee