Cedar Lodge, New Zealand’s only pure helicopter fly out lodge, sits along the banks of the Makaroa River in the South Island's stunningly beautiful Makaroa Valley. The valley is surrounded by prime fly fishing territory in Mt Aspiring World Heritage National Park. Established in 1979 by Dick and Robyn Fraser, Cedar Lodge is comprised of four rooms with views of the rugged and ever-changing south island, and a comfortable lounge and dining area where gourmet meals are served.
Each morning, as you leisurely finish your hearty New Zealand breakfast, the lodges helicopter and fixed wing aircraft arrive at the paddock. You are minutes away by air from New Zealand's most remote trout streams. Flights into the mountain valleys are an awesome experience where beech forests, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, glimpses of glaciers and tarns and gin clear streams abound. Wonderful streams like the Dingle Burn, Albert Burn, the Hunter, Wilkin, Young Rivers and others where large rainbows and browns are spotted by your guide then cast to...(no blind casting here). And there is never conflict with other anglers not of your party. At midday you will pause for a delicious stream-side lunch then continue working upstream, catching trout until it is time for your return trip to the lodge.
Then it is cocktails prior to one of the lodge's famed gourmet dinners. You are guaranteed to sleep like a baby this night! When you fish at Cedar Lodge you will be in the spiritual company of famous anglers the likes of Ernie Schwiebert, Jack Nicklaus, Doug Swisher, Lefty Kreh, Del Brown, Les Eichhorn, Russell Chatham, Chico Fernandez and others. As Cedar Lodge has an extremely high return rate, early reservations are strongly suggested to avoid disappointment.
In this peaceful, natural setting in the heart of New Zealand's South Island, you'll eat like a king, sleep like a baby, and enjoy true hospitality.
New Zealand trout are wild. Both Rainbow and Brown Trout reside in the pristine waters near Cedar Lodge. In fact, it's not unusual to see both species occupying the same pool or run. Almost all of Cedar's fishing requires angler and guide to stalk the fish, locate their target, carefully prepare for the presentation of the fly and anxiously anticipate the strike.
Cedar Lodge's fly-in helicopter concession affords anglers total mobility to remote waters where the lack of other fishermen permits unencumbered angling and numerous fishing options. While New Zealand trout are not easy to catch and can be quite spooky, long casts are not the norm. Most casts are made between 25-45 ft. The first cast is always the most important. Our guides will carefully position and coach anglers so that they can make an optimal presentation.
Your typical day begins with early coffee and an ample breakfast. Beginning around 8:45 am, the Lodge's helicopter begins shuttling guests from the helipad located just a few feet away from the lodge to spectacular fly-fishing locations. Depending upon river and weather conditions, flights may be as short as 10 minutes and as long as 40 minutes.
Streamside lunches are served amidst the rising, bush clad mountainsides, spectacular waterfalls and the lush native Beech forests of the river valleys. Nowhere else in the world can large, wild, rainbow and brown trout be caught on a dry fly in such a pristine environment. And remember, Cedar Lodge is a catch-and-release lodge, so bring your camera and some fresh batteries. At the end of the day our helicopter picks you up streamside and you are safely returned to the comforts of your home away from home. Soon after guests are greeted with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and dinner.
While a 10-pound plus trout is a rarity, guests will fish trout that are consistently in the 3-6 lb ranges. And from time to time, some are fortunate enough to land the "big one".
With so many varying beats of water to explore, there is something for everyone at Cedar. If your rock hopping days are behind you, the South Island’s wide-open river valleys offer easy walks and comfortable fishing. For the fit angler, rugged beats are on the menu as well. Using our chopper we’ll find the best option for fishing success each day. Cedar Lodge is the only owner-operated, heli-fishing lodge on the South Island. Our pilots and guides collaborate each morning to find the best water for the day.
2020 Rate: USD $8,995 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations, guiding, all meals, liquor, access fees, and daily helicopter fly-out (weather permitting).
Not Included: Transportation to and from the lodge, gratuities, items of a personal nature, including fishing tackle and any other items not specifically listed in the inclusions.
Season: November to April
Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout
Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers