Stonefly Lodge, South Island

Enjoy immediate access to some of the best fly fishing waters in New Zealand.

Stonefly Lodge, South Island


Award winning Stonefly Lodge is situated on 156 acres of private forest on the banks of the Motueka River, only 50 minutes' drive from Nelson through the scenic Moutere Hills, home to multiple vineyards, orchards and country farms. This luxury lodge is centrally located between three spectacular National Parks (Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park) making the lodge an ideal base from which to explore the region. Lodge guests have access to world renowned fly fishing, sea kayaking, guided and unguided hiking tours, wine tasting, white water rafting, rock climbing, horseback riding tours, and exploring the many art and craft studios of the region.

The Location

Stonefly Lodge is ideally situated on the banks of the Motueka River between the confluence of the Wangapeka River and the confluence of the Baton River, allowing lodge guests immediate access to some of the best fly fishing waters in New Zealand.

Within an hour's drive, you can access dozens of quality fly fishing streams and rivers within the Nelson Lakes and northern Murchison region. Stonefly Lodge is surrounded by many rivers and streams accessible by a short 4WD excursion from the lodge. Additionally, the lodge's private helipad and the close proximity to Kahurangi National Park allows anglers the opportunity to experience some of the world's best heli-fishing. Kahurangi National Park consists of 1 million acres of pristine wilderness with dozens of back country rivers and streams that are only accessible by helicopter, or a four day hike. This is remoteness - like you've probably never experienced before.


Sample Itinerary for Stonefly Lodge

4 night, 3 day fly fishing and hiking trip

Arrival Day | Arrive in Nelson

There are direct flights to Nelson from several cities in New Zealand, including Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Upon your arrival in Nelson you’ll be met by a representative of Stonefly Lodge and transferred to the lodge about one hour away. Check-in time is 2:00 PM, and if time permits, anglers may practice their casting or enjoy some self-guided fly fishing on the Motueka River this evening. In the evening you’ll enjoy a gourmet, four-course dinner before discussing your fishing plans and options for the following days with the lodge manager.

Day 1 – Guided fly fishing

Your guide will arrive at the lodge at 8:30 AM. After a hearty breakfast you will load up in a 4WD vehicle and enjoy a scenic ride to one of the many rivers in the region. The locations vary each day, depending on the weather conditions, river flows, and angler experience and interests. The lodge practices a rotation schedule when possible; resting each managed stretch of water for five days between anglers, dramatically limiting the pressure on the fishery. Lunch is typically enjoyed on the riverbank, maximizing the time spent fishing. You’ll return to the lodge with your guide around 5:30 PM in time to freshen up before sharing fishing stories and cocktails at the Matai bar before dinner.

Day 2 – Sea Kayaking Abel Tasman (optional activity)

Today you’ll take a day off from fishing to enjoy the natural beauty of the area while kayaking and hiking with an expert naturalist guide. You will take a water taxi north to the golden expanse of Onetahuti beach to discover New Zealand fur seals at Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Fur seals are extremely good swimmers and you will see them first hand from your kayak. Finish kayaking at Medlands beach for a gourmet lunch before embarking on your guided bushwalk. Your guide will stop at a number of significant spots where you can learn about the flora and fauna. Return to Marahau by water taxi where your transport will be waiting to take you back to Stonefly Lodge around 5:30 PM.

Day 3 – Helifishing in Kahurangi National Park

Today you’ll board a helicopter with your guide and fly into the remote headwaters of a small river in search of trophy trout. The thrilling flight will expose you to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery before you’re dropped off on a narrow gravel bar in a tight canyon. Once the pilot leaves, you and your guide will likely be the only humans in sight, and you’ll probably have this entire stretch of river to yourselves. In New Zealand, it is these small headwaters that hold the largest fish, and because their home is so isolated, they don’t get many visitors. These fish are still challenging, but patient and skilled anglers are often rewarded with the fish of a lifetime. At the end of the day you’ll meet up with the helicopter for your return flight to the lodge, followed by more stories, snacks, and cocktails before dinner.

Departure Day – Return to Nelson

After a relaxing morning and a hearty breakfast you will check out of the lodge by 10:00 AM and be transferred back to Nelson in time to catch your flight. Alternatively, you can say farewell to the lodge staff and drive your rental car to another exciting destination. Orvis Travel will be happy to help you coordinate your stay at Stonefly Lodge with one of our other endorsed New Zealand fly fishing lodges.


The Fly Fishing

This region receives more sunlight than any other part of New Zealand and is graced with incredible mountains and crystal clear waters flowing through numerous rivers and streams inhabited by wild trout. This combination of pleasant weather, scenery, and trout fishing opportunities has made this part of New Zealand a favorite with knowledgeable anglers, many of whom visit annually.

On a typical day, skilled anglers have a realistic chance of catching 2-3 fish, averaging 4-5 pounds. Each fish will likely present enough challenge to make it interesting, but this type of fishing requires a bit of patience and persistence on the angler’s part. Trout fishing in New Zealand is often a game of finding the fish and this sometimes calls for some hiking. Blind fishing is not common, or productive, in New Zealand and with fish that average much larger than fish in the US, it is sometimes necessary to cover some water in order to find them. Don’t be surprised if you walk ¼ mile between fish, or if once you find a fish, you only get a few casts to try and entice them to take your fly. It is this challenge that most skilled anglers truly enjoy and what makes fly fishing in New Zealand truly unique.

Heli-fishing is popular in New Zealand and allows anglers to reach more remote areas where the larger trout often reside. In New Zealand, unlike the US, larger fish are often found in the headwaters of rivers and streams. The farther upstream you go, usually the bigger the fish get. Since most headwaters are in remote regions with very limited access, a helicopter is usually the best way to reach the larger fish. It is also a wonderful way to see the spectacular scenery of the area. We encourage you to consider at least one day of heli-fishing during your stay at Stonefly Lodge. Heli-fishing is best booked on-site, in consultation with your guide, and the rates vary depending on the destination and size of your party. The helicopter departs from the lodge’s private helipad and flights can be arranged on short notice. Many anglers say the flight alone and the spectacular scenery is worth the trip.

Stonefly lodge stocks a full range of waders, boots, rods, and reels for guest use. Your guide will have all the flies required for the fishing days.

All of fly fishing guides at Stonefly Lodge are members of the NZ Professional Guides Association and are hand selected for their vast experience of the local waters, ability to stalk and spot trout and individual personality.

Other Activities

While the main activity at Stonefly Lodge is fly fishing, they also have an extensive list of other attractions and adventure activities. These guided and self-guided tours offer visitors unparalleled access to the scenic natural beauty and culture of the area. Most of these tours can be booked on-site with short notice, but if you know you want to do one of these tours we recommend booking it ahead of time when you confirm your reservation with Orvis Travel. Prices for these tours vary and will be based on the dates, group size, and available options.

Private guided wine/art tours
There are 24 boutique wineries and art studios within an hour’s drive. A full day excursion visiting a selection of award winning wineries and local art and craft studios introduces visitors to the actual creators of world class wine, while revealing the cultural essence of the region with studio and gallery visits with some of New Zealand’s highly acclaimed artists. Each tour is tailor made to suit the interests of the group.

Abel Tasman National Park - Private Charter Boat cruising
Arguably the most beautiful park in New Zealand, the Abel Tasman National Park is predominantly a coastal park and is admired for its golden sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons, fascinating rocky outcrops and beautiful unmodified estuaries. This full day tour is by a private charter catamaran exploring the coastline with time to kayak, walk, swim and view the seals and penguins that frequent the park.

Abel Tasman - Sea Kayaking
This tour showcases the seal colony and granite headlands, with a scenic walk in one of the most legendary sections of the park. You will take an aqua taxi north to the golden expanse of Onetahuti beach to discover New Zealand fur seals at Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Fur seals are extremely good swimmers and you will see them first hand from your kayak. Finish kayaking at Medlands beach for a gourmet lunch before embarking on your guided bushwalk. Your guide will stop at a number of significant spots where you can learn about the flora and fauna. Return to Marahau by water taxi where your transport will be waiting to take you back to Stonefly Lodge around 5:30 PM.

Guided Hikes
Abel Tasman National Park (coastal)
There are several coastal walking tracks which wander through the forest and along the edge of the sea offering spectacular views across Abel Tasman Bay. Spend a day with your own guide exploring this park, including courtesy transfers from the lodge, and lunch. The Abel Tasman hike is from Marahau to Anchorage, 4 hours of reasonably gentle walking and includes the water taxi ride back to Marahau.

Kahurangi National Park - Mount Arthur hike (wilderness)
Kahurangi is New Zealand's second largest national park, created in 1996. It is an untouched wilderness area and includes the world-renowned Heaphy, Wangapeka, and Mt Arthur tracks. Kahurangi is home to many endemic plant species with the largest range of flora of any of the New Zealand national parks. This is a fully guided hiking tour taking you to one of the higher peaks in Kahurangi National Park, with spectacular views of Nelson and the Abel Tasman Bay. The walking time and route taken can be varied easily to suit the fitness and experience of the hikers. The guides are experienced, know the area well, and have a passion for nature. They are keen to share with you its wildlife and natural history as well as the stories of the original inhabitants, the Maori people.

Nelson Lakes National Park (alpine)
This stunning hike to Mt Robert offers exquisite views and vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges and many valleys. Your guide will pick you up in the morning from Stonefly Lodge and drive you to the trailhead – half way up the mountain. The drive itself will provide wonderful views before the hike even begins. This walk on a good day is hard to beat. Wonderful 360 degree views of the Southern Alps stretching away to the south, and the valleys which lie at the feet of these mighty mountains, it’s almost hard to capture the feeling in a photograph. This hike is best suited to those that are reasonably fit, and includes a nice picnic lunch while on the trail.

Scenic Heli-tours
Abel Tasman - Water, Walk and Fly
Your party will depart from the lodge’s private heli-pad and fly northwards over the Kahurangi National Park before landing on top of Mount Hoary Head to take in the enormity of the park while enjoying 360 degree views. After enjoying the view you’ll take off in the helicopter again and work your way towards the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park flying over the white sandy beaches and forest to land at Awaroa beach on the northern side of the park. You now have the option of an easy 2 hour self-guided walk, or the longer 4 hour walk, along well marked trails through pristine native forest to reach some of the golden sandy beaches this park is noted for. You’ll enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach before meeting your boat transfer and enjoying a ride along the Abel Tasman eastern coastline back to Kaiterteri where you’ll meet your host for the short drive back to Stonefly Lodge.

Mt Owen, Dimrill Dale
The production team of Lord of the Rings spent ten days filming in this area. Mt Owen features some of the oldest rocks in New Zealand. As you fly toward Mt Owen, you’ll see a landscape of glaciated marble karst and be impressed the size of these giant rocks. The surface is split with crevasses and sinkholes where water has left its mark. The area also claims New Zealand’s largest underground cavern system. Mt Owen is situated at the southern end of the Kahurangi National Park, easily accessed by helicopter from Stonefly Lodge. This tour includes a picnic lunch on top of Mt Owen, and lasts approximately three hours.

Heli - Hikes
Stonefly Lodge is located adjacent to Kahurangi National Park and within 1 hour’s drive of two other national parks (Nelson Lakes and Able Tasman). A quicker way to reach these parks is by helicopter from the lodge’s private helipad, shortening the trip to about 20 minutes. The lodge is an excellent base for day walks into these areas with helicopter access to spectacular destinations that are not visited frequently. Walks can be chosen or customized to match your level of fitness and interest. You will be accompanied by an experienced guide, and provided with a gourmet lunch to enjoy in the field.


The Lodge

Stonefly Lodge was built from locally sourced stone and timber, and boasts an authentic, yet luxurious design that guests are sure to enjoy. The lodge and facilities are powered by alternative energy sources, in an attempt to protect the environment and conserve the area’s natural resources. The focal point of the lodge’s interior is a large stone double-sided fireplace that provides a warm ambiance to the game room, dining room and sunroom. A large open kitchen adjoining the dining area offers a relaxed atmosphere for sharing meals. The menu is designed by an international chef and integrates seasonally fresh produce from the extensive garden with homegrown produce, local quality meats and fresh seasonal seafood.

Complete with library, a snooker table and the "Matai Bar", guests have the ideal setting to relax after an exciting day of fly fishing or after exploring the numerous sites and attractions of the region.

Four double guest rooms are located upstairs complete with en-suite bathrooms featuring heated towel rails and private balconies overlooking the Motueka River and surrounding mountains. Each room can be configured with a king bed or two twins to accommodate a variety of group preferences.

The upper landing area above the dining room provides a quiet secluded place to tie flies and use the guest computer, or just indulge in a game of chess or a good book. Stonefly Lodge was designed to satisfy the needs of the most discerning traveling anglers, while providing exceptional comfort in a warm and inviting setting. Your hosts, John and Kate Kerr, have over fifty years of combined experience in tourism and hospitality.

Pricing & Dates

Pricing & Dates for Stonefly Lodge

Orvis Travel Inclusive Package Rates: per person, based on 2 guests sharing a room and a fly fishing guide.

Season: October – April (Closed May – September)

All rates are quoted in US dollars, per person, based on double occupancy.
Rates are subject to change without notice based on international currency fluctuations.

2019-2020 Season

ORVIS WEEK: December 7th - 14th 2019: $5,200 per angler, double occupancy room, 2 anglers per guide. Includes a Helios 3 freshwater fly rod for each angler.

December 15, 2019 – March 14, 2020 (High Season)
4 night, 3 day fishing package $3,050
7 night, 6 day fishing package $5,500
March 15, 2020 – December 14, 2021 (Low Season)
4 night, 3 day fishing package $2,550
7 night, 6 day fishing package $4,650

Ground transfers from Nelson, per car, each direction:
- 1-2 guests $250 NZD
- 3-8 guests $400 NZD

  • Contact Orvis Travel for custom packages, including single occupancy. Fishing packages can be modified to include fewer days of fishing and/or other activities.
  • Helicopter fishing is booked and paid for at the lodge, no advanced notice required. Average cost of a fly-out is about US $1500 - $1700 per day.

Orvis Travel packages are based on the lodge’s published rates. Any specials or discounts offered by the lodge will be honored when you book with Orvis Travel.


Continental and cooked breakfast, lunch on fishing days, pre-dinner drinks and appetizers, four-course dinners, house beer and wine, accommodations from check-in on arrival day to check-out on departure day, guided fishing (2 anglers per guide), fishing equipment including waders, boots, rods, reels, and terminal tackle, guided fishing excursions, local taxes, wireless Internet or lodge computer access.

Not included:

Airfare to Nelson, airport transfers or rental cars, heli-fishing excursions, lunches on non-fishing days (box lunches available for purchase) guided non-angling excursions, fishing licenses, laundry service by lodge staff (available for a small charge), phone calls and items of a personal nature.


Contact the expert at Orvis Travel:
Seth Berger
Stonefly Lodge
Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm (ET)

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