My fourth stay at Owen River Lodge-well that's a review in itself, almost no more needs to be said.
The lodge is as elegant as ever, Autumnal colors, the effervescent Owen River and dramatic landscapes frame this luxurious gem beautifully.
After 3 intense months at work back in Melbourne my 6 day stay was just what I needed, rest and relaxation ? Well I should say relaxing when back at the lodge, the attention to detail, the caring the superb cuisine , the extensive wine list , the warmth and humor ....oh it is a joy staying here !
On the Rivers however it would be inaccurate to say that it is relaxing. Heart pounding is more like it. Spotting large trout in crystal clear water knowing full well that failure or success is a 1/3 of a fly line away , a 15 foot leader and a miniscule fly imitating the menu of the day. You live and die by your stealth , accuracy and nerve. Some fantastic fish came to hand and quickly released.
The Rivers at this time of the year (April) can be low and clear making spotting possible in pretty much all conditions. The weather on this trip was mild with the occasional hatch of little brown and blue duns bringing some monster browns to the surface. (Tip) The Rivers were almost exclusive to us.(Tip 2) there are so many glorious rivers a very short drive away. Your expert guide will consider all factors such as flow, weather (many micro climates) and most importantly trout activity and will take you to rivers that offer the best fishing conditions and opportunities.
Back at the lodge of an evening your favorite drink emerges before you have even thought about it and the pre dinner canapés' are a delight. Other guests gather and fishing stories are exchanged. The agony and the ecstasies of the day are relived vividly and in typical fly-fishing detail.
Michael a returning ORL guest is in his 70s. A 7.5 pounder , a 6 pounder few 4.5 pounders were his efforts for the day. Well fished and expertly guided. A couple from Melbourne, its only their second foray into Fly Fishing , they each caught almost identical 5 pounders amongst many opportunities. What an amazing effort.
Conversation is soon transported to the elegant dining room (views to die for) by the announcement that dinner is served. White bait fritters accompanied by a subtle aioli and the chefs own salsa were divine. In fact the fritters were so good, so beautifully presented that our main had to be delayed as the guests pleaded for a second helping (which was prepared and cooked from scratch). The Pork Belly main was sublime. All the flavor, richness and contrast of textures but some how delicate and subtle.
Desert, well I am not a desert aficionado and happily settled for the chefs non dairy treats he especially prepared for me, but I could not help but be a little envious of the mini works of art that the other guests enjoyed. Elegant, luxurious but above all seductive.
Each night the cuisine exceeded expectations. In fact , Owen River Lodge, the superb accommodation, the fishing and Felix all exceeded expectation!
Thanks for a fantastic stay Felix and see you next season.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Owen River Lodge is New Zealand's finest 5 star rated fly fishing lodge. Luxurious, warm and inviting ambiance. Stylish, understated accommodation located right on the Owen River in the South Island of New Zealand. Come and enjoy the stunning food, superb service and outstanding fishing. ... more less