After travelling the world for over 40 years nothing comes close to “Owen River Lodge” Felix and his team delivered way above expectation on all fronts.
The food, accommodation, location and the warm environment provided a sensational holiday experience. Fishing the local waters provided trout over 5lbs regularly and even produced 11.25lb for one of the guests.
I cannot wait to get back and enjoy the family atmosphere of the lodge where nothing is a problem for the host.
Returning for my fourth visit, the failure of arrival of summer did not diminish the experience. ORL continues to be welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing, helped in volumes by Felix Borenstein, the owner, assisted by his staff, including chef Ryan, the long suffering casting instructor Kylie, and Keely the resident golden Labrador. The fishing was awesome in spite of the weather. In search of the wilderness experience, I took two helicopter fishing trips to the Karamea river, in the heart of the Kahurangi National Park.
It always amazes me how overwhelming such trips are, with only the sound of the river and birdsong. The fish are tough and wild. I never have an expectation to catch a trophy, but if lucky 5 or 6 quality fish to the net ensues, only with the help of a good guide. Not cheap, but as an experience, I would not miss it. The skilful helicopter pilot picked us from the stony river bank up and home for cordon blue dinner. Will I travel all that way again - already started saving. Thank you Felix.
Felix and Kylie warmly welcome you into what feels like home, and offers top drawer accommodations from the early morning breakfasts to A+ evening meals! They work hard to help out everyone’s special needs, like my dietary restrictions. They made delicious meals without a problem! Fishing guides shepherd beginners to expert fishermen and women through very technical and athletic Brown Trout fishing on any number of the magnificent rivers close to the Lodge.
The guides are fun, competent and always challenging. The Lodge has everything for every need, so you do not have to fuss over packing. Just come and relax, take in the tranquility of this setting, trek through lush and rugged terrain, drink a variety of New Zealand wines, munch on home made cookies and sleep in the most comfortable bed ever! I will be a repeat customer!!! Thanks to Felix and Kylie and all of the staff at Owen River Lodge.
From the moment we entered the stunning beauty of the property, we knew this was going to be a special place. There are 3 cabins with 2 suites, each with their own entrance and porch where you can sit and enjoy the Owen River and mountains beyond. The rooms are spacious and impeccably clean with a large bathroom, great shower and towel warmer. Each room has its own minibar, french press coffee maker with daily fresh ground coffee & homemade cookies! A very well stocked bar and great NZ wines served in their lounge and all meals in the lodge.
The food is superb – so don’t expect or even try to diet. Upon arrival, a spread of appetizers and drinks were offered by the gracious and caring hosts, Felix & Kylie. They attend to your every needs and go out of their way to make sure the guest are comfortable, cared for and well fed. If you forget anything – Felix probably has something that will work. I can’t say enough to complement them on their wonderful lodge, attention to detail and warmth in making guest feel relaxed and ‘at home’.
As for fishing needs…. unless you’re emotionally attached to your boots, waders & rods, I wouldn’t bother to bring them. Felix’s fishing cabin is stocked with the latest Simms waders & boots and a variety of rods! Going through customs with used boots was a significant time delay and hassle – why go through that when he has it all! Fishing was as technical and challenging as we’ve heard but still able to catch some beautiful & large browns and you cannot match the splendor of the NZ landscape and wildflowers.
All in all, I trip that is forever etched into our memories and a place to return to hopefully in the near future!
Owen River Lodge is truly a piece of paradise. My son, husband & I arrived a couple of days after Christmas(summertime here) and were welcomed very graciously by the owner, Felix, and his fabulous staff including the superb hostess, Kylie and the best golden retriever ever, Keeley. Chef Jo cooked an awesome 3 course dinner with accompanying wines for us and we were off to our super comfy cabin with uber comfortable beds for the evening. Early am, guys and I were up for a cooked to order breakfast by Chef Ryan and then they met their fishing guide, Pete.
Pete grew up 3min from the lodge so knows these waters inside and out. He took the guys on about a 45 min truck ride away and then they fished for giant, brown trout. They had a super successful day and loved fishing with Pete and his knowledge and expertise on the river. While the guys fished all day, I enjoyed myself by exploring the Owen River with Keeley, the golden retrevier. She took me on quite the adventure. It took me a while to navigate the rocks along the river but after finding a large walking stick, I was able to keep up and we hiked for about 2 hours along the river.
I was served a great late lunch at the lodge and then went back down by the water to some giant bean bags to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and a good book. The gardens on the property of Owen River Lodge are really unique and I filled my iPhone with beautiful pictures of the unique plants and can’t wait to frame some for some upcoming Bday and Christmas gifts. When the guys returned we had a toast and beer with Pete, the staff and met some of the other guests of the lodge. The guys showered and changed to super casual clothing and we went back to the lodge for an another awesome 3 course dinner prepared by Chef Ryan.
All of the other guests staying at the lodge were all brought to this special place by the love of fly fishing and it was really fun and interesting to meet everyone at dinner and learn their stories and experiences. We cannot wait to travel back to Owen River Lodge and fish and relax again. Thanks to Felix for such a wonderful week! Cheers!
I just returned from a 3-day stay at the Owen River Lodge. It was spectacular, and even a short stay easily qualifies as a trip of a lifetime. The accommodations are impeccable—comfortable, spotless, beautiful but not pretentious, and maximally suited to the stunning environmental landscape—there are covered porches outside rooms where you would be perfectly content sitting for hours because of the scenery and the sight and sound of the river.
The Owen River itself is a famous fishery and even when not guided you can try your luck at any hour of your stay. The guides relish the fishery and fiercely protect it. They sight the fish and teach you everything you are willing to learn about catching smart big fish (survivors). I have trout fished once-a-month in southern Missouri (USA) for about a decade—each of the eight fish I caught (having missed or lost twice as many because of bad technique) was bigger than any trout I have ever caught (all 4-6 lbs.; 7, 8, and 9 lb. fish were all caught by other guests during the short time I was there).
The guides across the region communicate with one another every morning such that everyone who is fishing is spread out across the numerous rivers and streams in the region. I was there on a beautiful weekend in late spring and did not see a single human on any stretch of river I fished.
Felix the proprietor and his team bend over backwards to ensure that each guest has what they need to make the most of the experience; they are PRESENT throughout the social elements of the stay (eg. meals and when you are spending time about the property on an unguided day)—they are consummate hosts, entertaining, and extremely knowledgeable about the region and its recreational opportunities. When they supply whatever gear you need (no extra cost) it is the best gear on the market (waders, boots, fly rods).
If you ask them to arrange for a transport to or from the airport or another region, you will get a driver who could double as a tour guide. They manage every case of jet lag and “own” that as part of their job. Throughout your stay, the main lodge which is their own living quarters, is your living room, dining room, and reading room. Most of all, they create opportunity (if you want it) to make the most of brief intersections of lives of the 10-16 people who are staying at the lodge at any given time; this typically happens at breakfast or happy hour or dinner every evening.
I crossed paths with a physician who spent a career in outreach medicine in the wilds of Australia, a navy chaplain, a successful restaurateur, creators of businesses, a triathlete couple, and a man who willed his way through a level of rheumatoid arthritis that made doctors doubt he could walk let alone fish, let alone peruse miles of rocky river shoreline stalking trout. These are the intangibles that I will remember most and that MADE the trip, completely unexpected value-added, along with the truly stunning New Zealand scenery, and, of course….the enormous trout.
Father and daughter trip of a lifetime! My father and I arrived 8 hours after the earthquake and tsunami hit NZ. Our first day of fishing was thwarted due to the conditions, but the local farmers/ranchers stopped by with homemade scones and invited us to come and bottle feed their lambs and calves. This is the type of atmosphere one finds at OWL. Our two days of fishing (with the expert help of Pete) yielded us 8 trout between 4 - 7 lbs.
Felix and Kylie were excellent hosts! Keeley, the resident dog, was a delight. Ryan and Jo, the chefs, were amazing! spring lamb, red deer venison, duck, and angus filets… The homemade granola, shortbread cookies, and the sandwich lunches were outstanding! The house wines were 5 star. The cabins are extremely well equipped: heated towel racks, beautifully stocked mini bar, and spacious!
We are already planning our next visit to ORL. The experience was SO much more than we expected! Zero negative feedback. Outstanding lodge!
(I haven’t submitted a review in the last few years, but ORL was so exceptional that I must share!)
My wife and I stayed at Owen River Lodge as part of our honeymoon. It was one of the most memorable and relaxing experiences we have had. Felix and his team are so welcoming and provided anything we needed. The accommodations are very comfortable, the cabins are the perfect balance between rustic and sophisticated. Not to mention the view is incredible.
The food did not disappoint either, it is as advertised five star! The fly fishing was a blast and our guide made it an experience we will never forget. My wife and I would absolutely recommend Owen River to anyone visiting New Zealand. If we go back we will make sure to stay here again!
Room Tip: Any one of the six rooms will exceed expectations
Only my second time to the lodge and I speak as someone who is absolutely hopeless with a fly rod but just love everything that is fly fishing. I’ve chased Golden’s and tuna on Hervey Bay, Bones in the Cook Islands and Browns in NZ.
For the Fly Fishers, the guides are great humans with wonderful temperament and skill set . They will put you onto fish! The gear Felix provides is first class all Sage rods and reels and Simms G3 waders and boots .
In regards the food. My best comparison is Lizard Island ( probably one of Australia’s top 3 luxury resorts ) . I would say the food at Owen River Lodge is as good if not better than Lizard .
In regards the wines that come inclusive with the tariff they are way way better than Lizard Island and any cruise line ( Silver Seas) that Ive been on. the rooms they are beautiful and clean . Again if i was to compare with Lizard Island ( pre the cyclone and rebuild ) I would say the rooms are an 8 out of 10 comparison.
Beyond that I really love the intimacy with only 6 rooms its a far, far more personable experience than i have experienced anywhere else. Felix was particularly accommodating with my quirky requests like packing a thermos of tea with real milk and a bottle of wine for each days fishing. He even trained me on closing doors ( in joke) .
My wife who is not into fishing flew in and joined us for the last night . She was so impressed that next time she will come in a day earlier and just relax around the lodge.
We just returned to Owen River Lodge for our second visit and again it was a terrific experience.
Felix and his team’s hospitality is first class. Nothing is too much trouble. The rooms are very well appointed and the lodge itself is set up perfectly for guests. The food was exceptional and the wine list very well selected.
For the fly fishermen it is everything you would want and more. All the gear (rods, reels, lines, waders, boots) is top shelf & the guides are experienced pros who put you on fish as well as being great company for a day on the river. The many rivers that are accessible in the area are world class. We are far from experienced fly fishing anglers but again we landed very nice wild brown trout on this trip. I would highly recommend Owen River Lodge and will be coming back for sure.
Owen River Lodge was my first opportunity to visit New Zealand, and the trip was exceptional! The accommodations were fantastic and extremely comfortable. The food was delightful, and I waited each evening with excitement to find out what delicacies were on offer for dinner.
The setting of the lodge is wonderful with “postcard picture” views available from each room. How can I forget the fishing? I can’t!! The brown trout fishing was world class, and my guide worked as hard as all the staff at the lodge to make sure my trip was a successful fishing trip.
Felix and staff pay attention to the details, and go out of their way to ensure that guests of the Owen River Lodge are taken care of. This is what makes Owen River Lodge such an exceptional trip! I thoroughly enjoyed my 6 nights and 5 days fishing, and I certainly plan on being a repeat visitor!!
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!!!