River Birches offers boutique New Zealand lodge accommodation in Turangi, on the southern edge of Lake Taupo. The lodge provides quiet seclusion and understated luxury accommodation at affordable prices.
The Tongariro – a river steeped in history and folklore
Flowing from headwaters set in deep and rugged volcanic mountains, the Tongariro
winds its way to the delta of Lake Taupo, the second biggest lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Within this massive fresh water lake, Rainbow and Brown trout introduced in the later half of the 19th century, head up the Tongrariro to spawn. In the 1920s famous American writer and angler, Zane Gray ‘discovered’ this rich bounty of fighting trout and informed the world. From then on there has been a steady stream of fisherman (and fisherwomen) for whom the Tongariro is an integral part of their fishing ‘bucket list.’
Fly fishing at the River Birches
Located on the banks of the Togariro River, The River Birches is in the heart of New Zealand’s finest fly fishing region. A few minutes walk or short drive will take you to Tongariro fishing pools that are internationally renowned: The famous Major Jones pool, The Duchess (named after the Duchess of York) and many others imortalised by fishing writers are still fished today by a variety of anglers from all over the world.
Whether you’re new to fly fishing or an experienced angler, the Tongariro River is a superb environment to catch trout. And the friendly staff at River Birches will organise everything you need from waders, licenses, rods and transport, through to arranging an expert guide who will put you right in the trout catching zone. Even if you have never fly fished for trout before, a guide will show you the basic techniques and get you started. A day (or half day) walking the banks of the Tongariro is a magical experience even if you don’t get a trout first time!
Discover a bounty of other fly fishing rivers in the region
Apart from the famous Tongariro, there are other great trout-laden rivers nearby. The Tongariro-Taupo is a short drive away as are the Hinemaiaia and Waitahanui. These rivers feed into Lake Taupo and are situated within easy driving distance of the River Birches.
Various fly fishing techniques* can be applied to these rivers depending on conditions. Wet fly fishing with a sinking line is popular especially on pools on the Tongariro, like the Hydro and major Jones, while nymphing remains the most widely used technique as pools are often swift, relatively shallow and rocky. Dry fly fishing is an option during the summer when hatches of beetles and cicadas are abundant. (See below for more information on these techniques.)
While selected rivers, lakes and streams are closed over the winter months, fishing all year round is possible on the Tongariro and other selected rivers.
For the more experienced or adventurous angler, a helicopter can whisk you away to ‘big brown country’ where the Upper Rangitikei, Waipunga and Mohaka rivers hold some of the finest (and biggest!) brown trout in the North Island. These rivers are renowned for dry fly fishing especially in summer, so be prepared for some challenging and exciting action! With a little notice, The River Birches can help organise a wonderful fly fishing excursion like this for you.
Don’t forget the lakes
Near by Lake Otamangakau and Lake Rotoaira both hold excellent stocks of both Rainbow and Brown trout. Lake Otamangakau is known for the excellent quality of its fish and the good possibility of trophy sized trout for the more skilled angler.
Both these lakes are normally fished in small boats, rubber zodiacs, kayaks or float tubes. While fly fishing from a boat (usually nymphing or dry fly) is common, fishing from the bank is also possible and quite productive in the right locations.
For those who have no fly fishing skills but still want to fish, Lake Taupo offers a multitude of fishing excursions and day trips by professional operators and guides. It’s easy to jig for trout while taking in the spectacular surrounds of Lake Taupo. And it is something the whole family can enjoy.
Learn about the fishery at The Tongariro National Trout Centre
Whether you’re into fly fishing or not, the Tongariro National Trout Centre is a fascinating place to visit. You can see and feed wild trout, and get a close-up view from the fresh water aquarium. A museum and visitor centre houses an impressive collection of trout fishing memorabilia and educational material on the history and ecology of the fishery. The Trout Centre is a very popular attraction and is just 5 minutes drive from The River Birches. Learn more at www.troutcentre.com
Set within a peaceful garden-scape beside the world-famous Tongariro River, try your hand at trout fishing in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful rivers by day, and enjoy our luxury lodge accommodation by night. River Birches is a short drive from the Tongariro National Park, where you can select from a range of exciting activities, from the renowned Tongariro Crossing, to winter skiing on Mount Ruapehu.
Accommodation in Turangi, at River Birches Lodge includes your choice of 3 guest rooms. River Birches is a low-slung, cedar-clad luxury accommodation retreat set within a peaceful, established garden. The stylish interior reflects its east-meets-west character – sophisticated and welcoming.
This Turangi lodge was recently awarded first place in a prestigious New Zealand Architectural competition, testimony to its understated elegance. French doors open onto a large deck where you can relax and enjoy the serenity of the Tongariro riverside environment.
In summer, join other guests for drinks and canapes before dinner.
There is a well-equipped fitness room, satellite TV, a DVD library, spacious living areas with Wi-Fi and broadband internet services. In summer, air conditioning keeps things comfortable.
River Birches has three guest rooms – each a quiet haven of comfort and style. They are well appointed to ensure you enjoy your stay. All rooms include:
– super king-size beds with sumptuous down-filled duvets and pillows, monogrammed bathrobes.
– ensuite bathrooms with separate shower, generously sized bath, complimentary bath and hair products and bathrobes
– Wi-Fi and broadband internet access
– iPod mini sound system and docking station.
– Heat pump heating and air-conditioning providing comfort in all weathers.
The Admiral’s Room
The Admiral’s Room offers a soothing cedar hot tub to soak in after a long day’s trout fishing or sightseeing. Gaze at the stars, sip a glass of wine and completely unwind. This room also has satellite TV, DVD, and a mini bar stocked with fine New Zealand wines, artisanal sparkling water an a micro-brewery beer selection.
The Major’s Room
Standing apart from the main house, the Major’s Room offers privacy and tranquillity within a lovely garden setting. Relax and enjoy the comfort of this beautifully appointed room featuring a bathroom with its own private garden, i-pod dock, tea and coffee making facilities.
The Duchess’s Room
Cosy, welcoming and relaxing, the Duchess Room enjoys a superb vista of the garden areas with both the room and bathroom looking out onto a private garden setting. This room enjoys the morning sunshine and features the same appointments and facilities as the Major’s room.
Single party booking
Choose a single party booking if you’d like to enjoy a private and exclusive visit to River Birches lodge, including breakfast and use of the lodge facilities. Contact us for further details.
The Cottage at River Birches
Positioned alongside the lodge is the newest addition, The Cottage. Set amidst the beautiful surrounds of the River Birches environment, The Cottage is a three-bedroom self-contained property with service options available if desired. Conceived with families and smaller groups in mind, those who value the privacy and spaciousness of a home.
The Tongariro Crossing is regarded as one of the world’s finest walks. Beginning in the native forest tracks on the western slopes of the mountain and climbing up along the rocky volcanic track into an incredible mountainous realm, the walk finally culminates in glorious panoramic views from the summit. Unsurprisingly, summer often finds the Tongariro mountain tracks filled with walkers.
Fortunately, River Birches offers an exclusive, privately guided crossing by an experienced mountain guide where, after taking in the most popular vistas, you can escape the crowds and explore rarely seen, superb views of the Tongariro surrounds from special mountain trails. For something truly memorable, a pre-dawn departure can be arranged getting you to the top of Red Crater to watch the sun rise – magical light, tranquility and amazing views will make this experience unforgettable.