Poronui Lodge is a luxury hunting and fishing lodge set on 16,000 acres in the north island of New Zealand. We split our time between the main lodge and the safari camp. The main lodge accommodation comprises seven large well-appointed guest cabins overlooking the Taharua River. This is pretty much a standard luxury fishing lodge set-up with communal dining in the main lodge area and like all luxury fishing lodges, the setting is truly spectacular.
After the main lodge, we then moved into the safari camp. I was so apprehensive about staying in the safari camp as I really did not know what to expect. Our expectations were far exceeded and Husband and I voted this one of the best holidays we have ever had and cannot wait to return.
One of my initial misconceived concerns was that we would be sharing the safari camp with other guests. However, notwithstanding that the safari camp can accommodate up to four guests, when you book the camp, it is exclusive use only. So we had the whole camp to ourselves which was simply amazing.
My other misconceived concern was the cooking arrangements. I do not like cooking at the best of times but on holiday it is just not even something I would ever entertain. At the safari camp you have two options: a private chef can come and prepare your meals or the Lodge chefs can semi-prepare and package meals at the stable complex which they deliver to the camp fresh each day for you to prepare. We took the second option as we wanted total privacy and Husband promised that he would do all the cooking. I am so glad we chose this option as not only did it allow us the privacy that we were so seeking, it was actually a lot of fun. The food was also outstanding and plentiful.
The safari camp is situated on the banks of the Mohaka River about 12 kilometres from the main lodge and is only accessible by four-wheel drive (or helicopter). The camp is made up of two guest tents, two bathrooms (each with its own shower, toilet and basin) and a bush kitchen hut with a refrigerator (well stocked with beer!!), wood-burning stove, barbecue and kitchen sink. It was all so perfect with all the comforts of home including luxury linen on the beds, hot and cold running water and most importantly, flushing toilets.
The safari camp was right up our alley as it provided total privacy and seclusion with only the cleaning staff and chef coming in very discreetly each day. Yes, cleaning staff. Glamping did not mean roughing it and even our laundry was taken and returned on the same day. For some, the remoteness may prove difficult as there is no television, no power after dark and no mobile reception. The only way in and out is by four-wheel drive and the only communication is by two-way radio.
The other main attraction is the range of activities that Poronui Lodge has on offer. It is not just about the fly-fishing and they cater really well for non-fishing partners and children. For me, the big ticket item was the horse-riding and even Husband got hooked. The Poronui Lodge horses have their own groom, Olivia, who expertly takes care of their management. Olivia was just delightful and we had such a pleasant time in her company riding around the property under her experienced guidance. Olivia can also provide riding lessons and I took advantage of this and took a much-needed jumping lesson.
The fly-fishing is the big attraction as there is limited public access to the rivers and streams flowing through the property giving Poronui Lodge guests the ultimate fishing experience on pristine New Zealand waters. There is a big emphasis on heli-fishing at Poronui Lodge but we opted to tramp into the river with our guide as we are fairly fit and love the challenge. Unless you want to take your lucky rod, top quality fishing equipment is supplied and Poronui Lodge can arrange your fishing licence.
If fly-fishing and horse-riding are not your thing, there are also other on-site activities to enjoy including spa treatments, guided walks and mountain bike-riding, shooting and archery. Trophy hunting, as well as the fly-fishing, is the main draw card at Poronui Lodge. Husband and I do not support hunting for hunting’s sake in any shape or form so there is no way we would unnecessarily kill a live animal. For those who, like us, enjoy a bit a shoot but do not want to kill anything, Poronui Lodge has an Olympic standard clay range. Husband was blasting doubles by the end of our session. There are also off-site activities including Hawkes Bay winery tours and Maori culture tours.
Location: Poronui Lodge is a luxury hunting and fishing lodge located 40 minutes from Taupo, 90 minutes from Rotorua, 90 minutes from Napier and 4 hours from Auckland. Recommendation is to take a domestic flight from Auckland to Taupo.
Food: The daily rate includes all meals, beer, wine and soft drink. The food and wine were of an excellent standard and provided in abundance.
Equipment: All fishing, riding and shooting equipment is supplied so there is no need to bring a thing.
Safari Camp: Although the safari camp can only be accessed by four-wheel drive there is no need to worry if you haven’t hired such vehicle as we were picked up and dropped off by the attentive staff at no extra cost.
Tips: Although New Zealand has no predators it does have the most annoying sand fly so take a good strength insect repellent for sitting around the safari camp or take long-sleeved tops and pants. Pack a stack of good books.
Things I loved about this place: The safari camp and the privacy it offered, the range of activities on offer including the guided fly-fishing and horse-riding, the quality of the horses, the amazing setting, the attentive staff and the total flexibility to cater to your needs.
Further details: Further details on Poronui Lodge can be found on their official website: http://www.poronui.com/.