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After a few days in New Zealand’s wine country, we were anxious to get back on the water. From Blenheim, we made our way to Stonefly Lodge which is ideally located overlooking the Motueka River on the northern end of the South Island.

John and Kate Kerr built this self-sustaining lodge from mostly raw materials found on the property. They have been in the fishing business for a number of years — we worked with them when they operated a lodge in Australia’s Northern Territory at Cape Don. Stonefly Lodge opened three seasons ago and John and Kate are proud of its early acceptance into the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand Collection.

With just four rooms, this lodge is perfect for exclusive use by intact parties. And it’s close to a number of wineries, the towns of Motueka and Nelson, and Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, so nonfishing guests have plenty to do.

One of the highlights of our stay was the opportunity to reunite with Chef Dean Sincock. Dean is a longtime friend of Frontiers and has spent time in Wexford as a guest chef for a number of dinner parties. During the off season, Dean also spent a few summers in France aboard one of the canal barges we frequently recommend to our clients. The open-concept kitchen gave us the opportunity to visit with Dean while he prepared the evening meal. We were treated to a homemade puff pastry tartlet with goat, cow and sheep cheese, Mediterranean vegetables and pesto followed by fresh Nelson grouper with a new season pea risotto. Dessert was a delicious raspberry soufflé with vanilla bean ice cream and aged balsamic strawberries.

This lodge provides easy access to the famed Motueka and other rivers in the region. Helicopter fly-outs are also available and are reasonably priced because the choppers are based nearby and it’s a short flight to the prime rivers. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not treated us well since we landed on the South Island. Despite the rain and cloud cover, our guide, Steve, put us on a number of fish. We lost three good browns but managed to land three “little ones.” Keep in mind that little ones in New Zealand are very respectable trout in most other areas of the world.

We had a great time at Stonefly and wished that our itinerary could have allowed us to enjoy more time at this beautiful lodge. We have a few more fishing days ahead on the South Island. Hopefully we will see some sun!

By: Mike Jr. and Kristene Fitzgerald

As son of the Frontiers founders, Mike Fitzgerald, Jr. was brought up in the outdoor travel business. He has handled a number of sporting programs for Frontiers through the years. Today as President, Mike works closely with the Senior Management Team and the department heads and is quite involved with the Southern Hemisphere freshwater programs. Mike loves to travel with his fly rods, shotguns and cameras. He is passionate about trout, salmon and conservation. He sits on the boards of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.