Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Waitahanui River

What a day to step softly or gently cast a fly upon the moving waters. The Waitahanui river is a fly fisher's dream and our idea of a perfect walk. We got lost in the reserve each time we entered.

The original Waitahanui Lodge (we're staying in the 1950s version) was built in 1932 on 2.5 acres by ex-pat Englishman Fred Fletcher. He and his family worked from dawn until dark in the middle of winter to get the lodge up. 

In those days, the trout being caught here often weighed more than 20 pounds.

The old weatherboard lodge consisted of a dining room, kitchen, living room, and sleeping for nine, no electricity or running water, but most certainly a smokehouse to smoke trout and also to cure wild pork and venison.

In the early days there was no limit on the catch and word soon got out. Before long people from around NZ and the world came to stay, including diplomats and English royalty (who, it has been noted, were treated just the same as everyone else). In the 1950s, the lodge was rebuilt into individual units, still spartan by today's standards.

Look at the clarity of this water.

We walked the dreamy river on each of the three mornings we awoke here, occasionally speaking to the fishers, women and men skilled at arcing a line elegantly across the sky. More on the fishing here.

The reserve is just across the street from our small space, where we've awakened to the sound of waves each day.

2023 stats

Self-contained accommodation is common here and includes a kitchen and bathroom. I wrangled that oven-top electric range at left until we got meals from it.

Last night Art grilled on the gas grill just outside our door. We wanted burgers.

Here's a curious product, ground coffee in bags, kind of like tea. These came with the room so I tried them and was as underwhelmed with the result as I was in 2019.

It's summer's end and tomatoes are still decent, though not unsprayed. The meat was delectable.