Friday, November 23, 2012

Return to Kiwi

A year later we are back in beautiful New Zealand! Our descent into Auckland, around 8am, was just as stunning as I remembered from last year with crystal clear blue-green water surrounded by rolling green hills.

We immediately took another flight to the South Island (which we did not visit last year) to a town called Nelson, the northern most city on the south island. We traveled on a small prop plane which flew us along the west coast of the north island. The view was also incredible.

After landing in Nelson, we drove through town with our guide, John, and learned that it was the second oldest city in New Zealand and the first place rugby was ever played in this country. It also hosts some very unique terrain. It is a large port city with beautiful beaches but is surrounded by mountains.

After our city tour, we drove a short ways the Waimea vineyard for lunch. The climate around Nelson is perfect for wine making- cool, lots of sunshine, and the perfect ratio of dry air and humidity. The vineyard is situated just inland of the ocean and its pristine beaches, in a valley between large green hills and snow-capped mountains. We had a delicious lunch with fantastic wine overlooking the vineyard and New Zealand's northern alps.

After lunch we headed to out first destination, Stonefly, a fly-fishing lodge situated on a hillside just above a river.

That evening we had dinner and crashed! It felt very good to sleep in a bed again.

The next morning we woke up had breakfast with the very sweet German Shepard, Sophie, and fed the ducks.

Mom just had babies

Then the helicopter came in to take us to some remote fishing spots

View from the helicopter

Our pilot was very talented and very nice. He told us all about the different sets he had choppered on, including transporting the cast of Lord of the Rings (specifically Peter Jackson and all the main characters) and the New Zealand version of Survivor.

This is where he dropped my mom and I off with our guide. My dad and my sister went to a different hole with their guide.

Unfortunately, it was not the ideal day for fishing. Although the sun was out, the wind was very strong, with gusts up to 30mph, which made it nearly impossible to cast. Although I had a few bites and even hooked 2, I did not succeed in landing one. However, my mom did catch one!

Still, it was a beautiful day with stunning scenery.

The next day was much better with perfect conditions. We went to a different spot that somehow was more beautiful than the day before.

The water was emerald green!

And I caught 2 fish! One was about 21" and 4lbs, the other was 24" and 6lbs, both brown trout. The bigger one was such a fighter! I had him on the line for close to 15 mins before he tuckered out. FYI, New Zealand is all catch and release, so every fish was thrown back.

Mom and I only fished for a half day, so we were able to fly back to the lodge, clean up and relax. Everyone was exhausted from traveling and fishing, having walked quite a bit across some tricky terrain for 8 hours the day before. It felt good to kick back and relax.

Picture from the flight back to the lodge

Tomorrow we will leave Stonefly and take a helicopter south to another lodge called Grasmere, which is closer to Christchurch. On the way we are supposed to stop on a glacier, weather permitting. I will update from there!

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Location:Nelson, New Zealand

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