This is the place - if you have ever dreamed of fly fishing in New Zealand, Owen River Lodge is it! From the moment we arrived, our host Felix made us feel like old friends. Our accommodations were superb, 5 star all the way.
Our chefs, Ryan and Jo, prepared wonderful meals every day. The fishing guides were extremely professional and knowledgable about the areas many rivers. I caught 5 to 8 lb trout every day - I cannot say enough about what a great experience this was!
Owen River Lodge is a perfect blend of true luxury accommodations, surreal surroundings and a home base for the greatest brown trout stalking angling opportunities the planet has to offer. Felix and his superb staff seem to have thought of everything - the spacious, comfortable cabins are wonderful, the fly-fishing gear available to borrow is top-notch and in great condition, the dining is world-class and the lodge environment is very comfortable and full of laughter.
Whether you’re a family looking for a relaxing holiday or a hard-core solo fly-fisherman, Owen River Lodge will meet and exceed your needs. For anglers, Felix has built a stable of outstanding guides who can teach a novice angler or provide the most skilled anglers with any challenge they may desire and the lodge can easily access more than 20 rivers in under a 2 hour drive. I have been visiting and fishing in New Zealand since 1997 and I can truly say I’ve never had a better experience.
We found ORL on the internet when planning a 4 week fishing trip to New Zealand from the UK and were not sure what to expect. The Lodge facilities, Felix’s welcome and the extremely high standard of guiding far exceeded our expectations. The week we had at ORL was the highlight of our whole trip and will be remembered for years to come.
The best day’s fishing was 20 trout averaging 4lbs between the two of us fishing with an extremely energetic and professional guide! Many kilometers of wet wading!!
Having just returned from ORL for my third season of fishing there, I can only reaffirm that this place is fabulous! Felix remains the absolute star, advising on my angling trips before reaching ORL, and entertains and informs when I get there.
The catering and facilities as ever, especially chef Ryan, make the guests feel special and pampered, particularly to soothe the aches and pains after a day out for my unfit frame . The cabins are luxurious, and quiet. The main house provides a great place to interact with fellow guests, and Felix carefully seats people to ensure everyone mixes each day with someone new.
The guides provide superb support for the fishing. The friendly rivalry each day kept me giggling all the way through. After a stellar performance last year, I was able to relax this year, with brown trout up to 6.5 lbs, and a tremendous variety of waters to fish, some new for me and some old favourites. This year my guide treated me to some amazing upstream dryfly, my lifelong passion. A real treat!
As I mentioned previously this is serious fishing. Physically and mentally demanding. There are, however, things to do on rest days, such as walking, horse riding, shopping expeditions etc, for the non-purist (not for me!)
The opportunity to heli-fish again in the back country was amazing. This is real wilderness fishing, but with the certainty of getting back for a superb dinner at the end of the day. What is there not to like?
Have tentatively booked already for next year!!!
It’s such a treat when literally every aspect of an experience exceeds one’s expectations. Owen River Lodge is that and more.
Proprietor Felix Borenstein offers accommodations, cuisine, décor, and a setting that are richly and deeply satisfying. On top of that there’s The Fishing—why most folks come here. It is, in fact, the stuff of legends. Epic water, outstanding guides, and the fish themselves—gorgeous beasts they are. We are complete devotees after a 5-day visit. Thank you, thank you Felix for enhancing our lives so deliciously!
A truly remarkable experience. After recovering from the jet lag and recapping our trip to NZ, we were in total agreement - that our time at Owen River Lodge was hands down the BEST part of our trip.
Our only regret is not staying at ORL longer! Felix is the most gracious host, Ryan’s cuisine was out of this WORLD (best food in NZ), the accommodations were luxurious and just what we needed after the long days fishing/trekking, Aaron was an outstanding guide and our experience wouldn’t have been the same with out him. He put us in excellent positions to catch plenty of 6 lb and up browns (including a 9 1/2 lb monster). Then you have sweet Keeley dog!! She cannot be overlooked. What a joy to see her sweet face everyday. A huge thank you to Felix, from the bottom of our hearts, for being exactly who you are and for fostering what will go down as one of our most treasured memories. We are already looking at dates for our next visit and can’t wait to see you all again soon!
Fly fishing for huge wild browns at its best !!
My advice to any passionate fly fisherman keen to hunt & catch huge brown trout in superb condition, in crystal clear beautiful rivers flowing through magnificent scenic countryside ... look no further ... treat yourself to at least a week at the Owen River Lodge and endulge yourself in excellent accommodation, fine food and wine and superb service provided by the owner Felix Borenstein and his great staff ...
After you’ve experienced Owen River Lodge, no doubt like me, you will be counting the days to your next trip !! ... It just cannot come quick enough !!
I fly fish in New Zealand a few times a year. From Melbourne Australia it is easy to get there. Airfares are very reasonable and the flight is under 4 hours.
This year I decided to visit Owen River Lodge again. Its hard to keep away given that that Lodge is the best 5 star lodge in NZ. Five star however normally means that the establishment ticks all the required boxes to achieve its rating. With Owen River Lodge it really does go beyond the required criteria. The service here is personalised and intuitive. The atmosphere and lodge is intimate, relaxed and luxurious. The food really is deserving of major accolades. It is fresh, innovative, balanced and at times euphoric. Being a foodie I almost look forward to the cuisine as much as the tremendous fishing.
The other thing that sets ORL apart is that the owner, Felix Borenstein employs the best fishing guides in the region. These guys know their stuff. They know not only were the fish are but which rivers are best to fish at any given time. Last season various clients caught fish between 10 lb and just under 13 lb. Staggering sizes and evidence that the areas and rivers immediate to ORL really do offer the best sighted brown trout fishing in the world. I decided to visit early this year, just after season opening. Most fly fishermen prefer the warmer peak months but I can attest that early fishing is fantastic and best of all there are not many other fishermen around and the trout a little less wary. Thank you Felix for another trip that was again beyond expectations, beyond 5 starts both for the service/wonderful accommodation and the fishing. Cant wait to come back !
On arrival at this superb lodge, you are treated by Felix who has everything at his finger tips, and then you realise the amazing location, and this is followed by the superb view of the Owen river from every room, we knew instantly this was going to be something special, and we were not wrong.
Our first huge surprise was the superb dinner we had that evening we arrived, Ryan the Chef is a master of his art and all our meals breakfast, lunch on the rivers and the dinners were absolutely top class, 5 star restaurant standard.
The selection of wines were outstanding and I think happy hour was more like very happy two hours. We fished for three days in the most wonderful wilderness areas and our guide Boris was fantastic, patient with us and found us lots of fish in difficult conditions, the rivers were coloured do to recent rain.
Our partners who don’t fish were very well catered for, and enjoyed Spa and massage, Jet Boating, Site seeing, and just generally relaxing with a walk of the resident dog or just a casual stroll by the streams.
This is right at the top of its game and should not be missed if you like your fishing. I also like that everything was included, just a small incidental bill on departure, could not have been better, unless of course I caught the 12lb Trout instead on Meg LOL.
This was our second trip to Owen River Lodge and what a wonderful experience it was. The location is sublime, the fly fishing superb and the lodge an incredible mix of understated elegance and simplicity. Felix, the owner of Owen River Lodge has an eye for detail, a passion for fly fishing and a desire to see all of his guests looked after. He certainly does a wonderful job.
Felix has put together a wonderful team of guides that are born and breed Kiwis (or have lived there long enough it doesn’t matter) and can spot trout in impossibly difficult places. All guides are professional and fun to be with and take time with their anglers to ensure they get the most out of their day. The guides are willing to share their knowledge and experience which means anglers leave better fishers after their stay at the lodge. Catching up with the guides at the end of the day for a cold beer and debrief is one of the highlights.
The lodge has range of quality gear to make life for the traveling angler a lot easier. Simms waders, boots, sage rods and reels- in all sizes and configurations means there is no need to bring any gear unless you want to. That certainly makes travel a lot simpler and getting through customs a breeze. We used the lodges’ equipment and enjoyed trying out the very latest gear.
Then there is Ryan the head Chef who creates wonderful dishes from local produce that are both hedonistic and delicious – his desserts get plenty of ooohs and aaahs at the table. Indeed every course does! So if you want to experience the best the South Island has to offer then Owen River Lodge is the place to go.
Can we not keep this one a secret?
The temptation is to rubbish Owen River Lodge to keep it a hidden secret. However, as virtually all reviews are of like mind, I am unlikely to succeed in keeping this to myself.
My second trip, this time in the summer was in glorious sunshine. The good weather comes with a price; many rivers are lower than usual and so this is where the guides, and local knowledge come into their own. Felix artfully advised, and for my first time (the last was in spring) I wet waded, which was a joy. My guide carefully selected rivers and if the promise was not fulfilled early then a backup plan was adopted, with the result that I achieved 34 good browns, up to 10 lbs, with one day 15 alone up to 4 lbs, in 7 days. My lifetime best! As to the facilities, Owen River Lodge is a class act.
The dry approach of Felix hides a great host. The food, as ever, led by Ryan and supported by Cheryl and Lily was superb. The care with which seating at meals is altered to mix people up is a great thing for me, a solo traveller. The comfort of the chalets is reassuring being so far from home. Keeley, the “failed” guide dog provides those of us with dogs that pleasure of canine company whilst on holiday. When I first visited ORL it was with some reserve. I returned to friends in a quality establishment, to have so much fun. My only reservation, if it is construed as such is do not think the fishing is easy. The guides do their very best to fit the daily sorties to the guests. Physically it can be quite demanding but a fantastic experience.
I cannot wait to go back!
Three nights at the Owen River Lodge was just not enough time to be in the place I’d love to be forever. It WAS enough time however to explore some of the most beautiful stretches of the Owen River for either a swim (me) or to catch a whopping 8 pounder brown trout (husband…so proud!).
The fishing was fantastic and guides organized through the lodge definitely value add to the overall experience: - extremely knowledgeable guides who are generous with their tips and strategies for improving your art in sighting, casting and landing. I can happily report that from my husband and stories of praise for the guides from other guests at the lodge when we would gather each evening. Gourmet skills from Ryan and his kitchen team made me glad for “catch and release” so we could enjoy the superbly presented and delicious meals which made every dinner a foodie dream-exquisite.
As a non-fishing guest journeying into the middle earth of wilderness I had packed lots of things (just incase) such as a French speaking course and drawing/painting supplies. However, due to opportunities for walks around the area or along the river by the lodge with Keeley (beautiful Golden Retriever/Lab and belle of the lodge); daily jacuzzis; catching up with other non-fishing guests adventure stories from their white water rafting and horse riding activities; I was completely content to be entertained by the lodge facilities, ambience and staff. Felix is the most brilliant host and his attention to detail and thoughtfulness was incredible to witness and experience. Every effort was made to ensure that everyone was having a good time, and you really couldn’t not have one. To me, Owen River Lodge is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the best food and wine you will taste, where you can do as much or as little as you feel like, as long as you are doing what you want.
Or catching an 8 pounder fish having the best day of your life. Embrace.
Thank you Felix for sharing a little slice of your heaven with us. We can’t wait for next time.
Thank you Felix for another incredible week at Owen River Lodge.
Where do we begin to express our feelings …?
The lodge - offers the warmth and friendliness of a country inn. The cabin rooms are large offering simple elegance with natural light. Each room offers a view which is an eye wash every morning, noon and night…imagine a pallet of mountains, the Owen River, beautiful landscaping, cattle, and birds.
The dinners - exquisite… presentation and taste would be hard to beat. As a special treat, Head Chef Ryan would come to the table each night and describe each course in detail and then leave us to savor his art of cooking.
The wine – New Zealand, of course, so what else do you need.
The fishing –We have had four different guides over the past years, as this was our fourth stay at Owen River Lodge, and all four guides made sure we accomplished what we desired -which was to fish and enjoy ourselves. This year David was our guide. David knows the rivers and the trout plus has a passion and energy that was contagious. In fact Tim and I both agreed we felt David got as excited as we did when we netted a brown. After 5 days of fishing, we can honestly say we had a whole lot of fun and one very successful week … 25 browns up to 9 pounds! Thank you David.
The staff – It is evident that they care and they always have a smile.
Keeley – one more thing to love about the charm of Owen River Lodge.
Felix – Considering all of the above, there is one more reason we stay at Owen River Lodge and that is Felix. This is a life choice for him and he has devoted his time in making sure your stay is perfect and without want. With that said, it is obvious he loves what he is doing, he is an incredible host; his attention to detail in everything is unsurpassed. He makes you feel so welcome and his humor is quite witty to say the least. His knowledge of the area will help you with all of your needs and desires. You never have to ask for anything twice, in fact … you rarely have to ask for anything as he has already thought of it and has it covered.
The Owen River Lodge is indeed a 5 star gem!
Thank you Felix and we are counting the days until we return …. Approximately 363 more to go!
Tim O and Kay B
From the moment I stepped out of the car at Owen River Lodge I knew this was going to be a special week to remember. Felix the owner and host greeted us with a warm welcome upon arrival ,and showed me to my spacious and extremely cosy room,which had the added bonus of a verandah to sit and take in the serene views of the Owen river flowing by.
A refreshing drink and an introduction to fellow guests and guides in the dinning room ,soon became friendly chatter of the days fishing adventures and a relaxing atmosphere which was to continue for the entire week . The food consisting of New Zealand’s finest produce was amazing ,even more so for me because of severe food allergies. To enjoy a beautiful meal with no consequence is heaven. This was my first trip to New Zealand and to fish some of the remarkable rivers, where the reputations of big trout linger ,and the expectations of a relatively newcomer to flyfishing was to cause a little apprehension .
I need not have worried, Anton our guide was, patient and dedicated. His ability to sight fish was amazing ,which led to an exceptional week of fishing for me . It is to the credit of Felix and his team that creates the atmosphere to make people feel welcome and special . Thank You .
Two Days of NZ Trout Fishing
My visit to Owen River Lodge was a last minute addition to an Australian vacation. Time constraints limited me to two days of fishing.
What a fortunate circumstance to spend my NZ time with Felix and his team at Owen River Lodge. From the accomodations to the wonderful meals served in the lodge, the experience is first rate. The fishing is spectacular with experienced guides on staff and lots of different options nearby.
I highly recommend an Owen River Lodge adventure if you are thinking about South Island flyfishing.