Owen River Lodge wins at the Qualmark Awards

August 04, 2021

By Felix Borenstein



We’ve made history!

Following last week’s win at the 2021 Qualmark Awards, Owen River Lodge is now the most-awarded fishing lodge in New Zealand.

Qualmark certification is no pushover. The requirements, particularly for the Luxury Lodge and Gold Sustainable Tourism accreditations we hold, are stringent. And the competition for the Awards is brutal. The standard’s extremely high and we were up against the best of the best.

It’s all about our people

This year’s Qualmark 100% Pure Experience Awards were decided on how well we looked after our guests, our team and our community in 2020, the year that decimated New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Every business decision I made in that year was based on keeping our staff employed—because I’m well aware that without the people who choose to work with me, all I really have is a fancy building and some rooms. The people make the difference.

So despite losing 95% of our market overnight when the country’s borders closed, Owen River Lodge opened for the 2020–21 season. We worked our butts off to increase the Lodge’s profile in the domestic market; an initiative so successful that many of our Kiwi guests have re-booked to stay and fish with us for the coming season.

We still took a financial hit but our team kept their jobs. And they helped Owen River Lodge win yet another major award. I am so very proud of them. “Owen River Lodge got through 2020 by doing what people in rural communities have always done—sticking together, listening, offering support, showing aroha (compassion/empathy). Owen River Lodge was exemplary in putting whānau (family) well-being first in all business decisions.” —Judges’ comments, 2021 Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards

Looking ahead

If you want to experience the sort of accommodation, cuisine and angling adventure that consistently wins New Zealand’s top tourism accolades, book now for the 2021–22 season. Be quick, though to secure your preferred dates and fishing guide.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Felix Borenstein

Owner & General Manager

Back to list

Apr 29 2021

My wife and I spent three wonderful nights at ORL and could not have been happier. The weather was challenging, but that’s fishing, and on the day we had with our guide Stefano,… Read more

Tony & Jay Auckland NZ : TripAdvisor

Nov 17 2019

The Best Keeps Getting Better! Felix, Kylie and the amazing team at Owen River Lodge (ORL) continue to exceed expectations. I have been visiting the South Island of New Zealand… Read more

Dave Boston USA : TripAdvisor

Awards & acknowledgements

Owen River Lodge NZ: “Fly fishing at its very best”

Ph: +64 3 523 9075 Address: Owen Valley East Road, Murchison, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand

Email: stay@owenriverlodge.co.nz