• Established

  • Owner

    Felix Borenstein
  • Manager

    Felix Borenstein & Kylie Sargeant
  • Tel

    +64 3 523 9075
  • Open

    Jan-Apr, Oct-Dec
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $495 - $685
  • Minimum Stay

    3 days
  • Maximum Guests

  • Works with travel agents?

  • Great For

    Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Pampering, Solitude, Diverse scenery
  • Memberships

    Qualmark NZ: Luxury Lodge rated We were the first fishing lodge in the world to be certified as not Carbon Neutral, but one better - we are certified Carbon Positive - giving back more to the environment than we take.
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Owen River Lodge is a multi award-winning, stylish fishing lodge where you can relax in wonderful surrounds, enjoy unpretentious service, dine on some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine, and be guided by our fabulous team of fishing guides.

Good time to go

Owen River Lodge is open each year from 1st October through to 30th April. This means we open in Spring and close at the end of Fall.

Children at the Lodge

Great for children aged 12 and over

Unfortunately, with the exception of nursing infants, we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 12 years.

Environmental & Social Practices


Owen River Lodge is absolutely committed to looking after our environment, our people and our community… and not just because our livelihood depends on it.

Caring about things – other people’s happiness, getting all the details right, helping to make anglers’ dreams come true – is at the heart of everything we do.

We don’t believe it’s possible for anyone to talk about caring for guests if at the same time they’re trashing the environment, ill-treating their staff and ignoring their neighbours.

Industry world wide is rife with 'greenwashing' when it comes to sustainability. Owen River Lodge doesn’t do that. We’ve been quietly implementing strategies to reduce the lodge’s environmental footprint for well over a decade and we wholeheartedly support the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment.

We work hard to maintain our eco-credentials without compromising our luxury offering. That’s why we hold a Gold Sustainable Tourism Business award from New Zealand accreditation agency, Qualmark – its highest accolade.

This award is based on a stringent assessment of economic performance, social responsibility, community engagement, environmental care and the health, safety and wellbeing of staff.

ORL - On the road to Carbon Neutral Status

We have contracted EKOS, to assist us in measuring our carbon footprint so that we may put systems in place to become carbon neutral. We hope to achieve carbon neutral status by the end of 2021.

Here’s how we walk the talk of sustainability:

1. Reducing our environmental impact

As an organisation and a member of the community, we encourage team members at Owen River Lodge to play an active part in our commitment to environmental and social sustainability.

This ranges from turning off lights and electrical equipment when they’re not needed or when we leave a room, to monitoring and tracking our energy usage so we can identify ways to reduce our consumption.

The fundamentals

Planting more New Zealand-native trees and shrubs. For every booking we receive, we commit to planting a New Zealand-native shrub, flax or tree. These will be planted in and around the lodge grounds, creek and river banks, and our neighboring wetland.

Water supply: The lodge is not connected to a mains supply. We harvest rainwater from the main building roof and supplement this with water from a spring on the property. All water is filtered and treated through a series of non-chemical processes, including a UV system.

Furthermore, in an effort to cut down on carbon miles and reduce reliance on single-use glass, we’ve elected to produce our own sparkling mineral water. We pump it out of the ground, filter it through the systems mentioned above, carbonate and refrigerate it, and serve it in reusable glass bottles.

Fresh produce: Garden-to-plate might be all the rage now but it’s been a fundamental element of our service to guests since 2003. The lodge’s large gardens provide a seasonal bounty of fresh vegetables, herbs, berries and other fruit, all grown on organic principles.

We use any surplus to make our own jams and preserves. In 2019 we’ve also broken ground on an enormous new picking garden to supply the lodge with fresh flowers and foliage.

Other produce and products: We try to source these as locally as possible. By doing so, we support the local community and small businesses, increasing employment and reducing food miles.

Premium staples, including olive oil and honey, are produced locally. Our coffee is roasted in Nelson and is certified organic and Fairtrade. We grind and package the beans ourselves. Whenever possible and appropriate, we buy in bulk.

Minimising plastic: In 2016 we took a huge step in walking the talk of sustainability and eliminated the use of plastic water bottles, choosing instead to supply guests with stainless steel water bottles which they can take home as a memento of their stay. We also supply goodie bags so guests can take home the bathroom amenities they use, rather than throwing them out. Partially-used soaps are collected and then, at the end of each season, passed on to a charity that re-manufactures them, and distributes the soap to New Zealand- and overseas-based charities.

Recycling: All glass bottles and jars, metal cans, plastic bottles and cardboard are collected, sorted and recycled. Every guest cottage suite contains labeled recycling facilities. We have an agreement with one of our biggest suppliers to take back their cardboard packaging for re-use.

Waste water management: Waste water is treated through a three-stage process in an environmentally-friendly, non-chemical septic system. The water is then treated through a UV filter before being fed through an irrigation line to water some of our trees.

Food waste: We try and compost all organic food waste or provide it to staff so they may feed it to their chickens.

Electricity: 85% of New Zealand’s electricity generation is sourced from renewable energy (wind, geothermal and hydro generation). We purchase our electricity from Meridian Energy who are New Zealand’s largest generator of 100% renewable energy

In the lodge building and cottages

Design: Our guest cottages are constructed from New Zealand plantation-grown timber and recycled Oregon. Some of the windows in the lodge building and cottages are recycled; others are double-glazed to help with temperature control. All carpets are woven from 100% New Zealand-grown wool. We protect our wooden floors with natural wax coatings and use low-emission paints.

Heating and cooling: The lodge and cottages are heated/cooled using the very latest in split system air conditioning units. These lessen the use of electricity and are the most efficient method available for heating and cooling.

Hot water: We use instantaneous natural gas hot water systems. These consume far less energy than electric or gas storage systems.

Lighting: We have installed motion sensors, light dimmers and LED lighting where possible.

Cleaning products: All cleaning products used at the lodge are chosen for their limited use of chemicals and low environmental impact. Most are organic-based and manufactured in New Zealand.

Laundry: Some of our guests choose to reuse towels and have bed linen changed less often. This helps to conserve water, and uses less detergents and energy.

In the lodge grounds

Jacuzzi/spa: We keep the water sparkling clean and clear, with an ozone generator and UV sterilization, vastly reducing the need for chemicals.

Revegetation projects: Since establishing the lodge in 2003, we have planted thousands of native trees, shrubs, flaxes and grasses, and we continue to expand these gardens. As a result, you will see a variety of native birds around the lodge buildings. We have also fenced off waterways and wetland areas to keep livestock out.

Garden waste: We compost leaves and shred tree prunings to be used as mulch on our gardens, reducing the need to water them and suppressing weeds.

In the community

Employing locals: All our staff live locally and we pay them above the living wage, rather than the minimum wage.

Supporting local groups: We have supported various local non-profit organisations and events, including the Nelson/Marlborough rescue helicopter service, the Murchison rugby club, the Murchison A&P Show and the school. We donate unwanted goods to local charities and the Salvation Army.

Casting for Recovery: In 2011, the lodge first opened its doors to Casting for Recovery, a charity offering fly fishing retreats to breast cancer survivors. We have continued to host this event as a major sponsor every year since, providing attendees with a very special luxury experience that includes accommodation and cuisine, access to all lodge amenities and guided fishing.

2. Managing our impact on the fishery

Our waterways and trout fishery are a national treasure and resource, owned by the New Zealand public. We are very conscious of this and do everything we can to minimise and manage our impact on it. Although there are aspects over which we have no control, we are dedicated to ensuring the fishery remains healthy and sustainable for future generations.

Catch and release: By adhering to a responsible catch and release protocol, we ensure that the local fishery isn’t depleted—and that those wild browns keep getting bigger and wilier!

Resting key fishing spots: We don’t guide on the same stretch of water for at least five days.

Loan gear: Owen River Lodge stocks the largest selection of loan fishing gear in the world, offering premium brands including Simms and Sage. We take responsibility for ensuring everything is properly cleaned after use in order to prevent any contamination, and renew the gear regularly.

Choice of fisheries: With access to five distinct geographical regions/fisheries (29 rivers) within a 90-minute drive, there is no over-reliance on a single river. If adverse weather events affects the fishing in one place, we’ll use one or more of the others while the river clears.

If you’d like more information about our environmental and sustainability policies, or want to book your next luxury fly fishing experience at our accredited gold-standard, environmentally-responsible lodge, please get in touch!


“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

The Owen River Lodge ethos has always been about going over and above to delight our guests and exceed their expectations. It’s a philosophy founded in care and our philanthropic work is a natural extension of that.

We believe in generosity and we use the means at our disposal to make a positive difference that extends beyond the lodge’s boundaries.

Here’s a sample of some of the very deserving causes that we support. We encourage you to support them too.

1. Casting for Recovery: “To fish is to hope”

Felix first threw open the doors of the lodge for breast cancer charity’s Casting for Recovery South Island retreat in April 2013 and has continued to do so every year since.

Having lost a friend and neighbor to breast cancer in 2006, it’s a cause that’s always been very close to his heart.

Kylie also has a history with the charity. She was the first casting instructor for the Australian chapter’s inaugural 2016 retreat in Canberra.

Founded in 1996 by Vermont breast reconstruction surgeon and professional fly fisher, Dr Benita Walton, Casting for Recovery retreats offer women with breast cancer the opportunity to take time out, forge new friendships, reconnect with nature and have some gentle, beneficial exercise.

The charity was established in New Zealand 10 years later by former Air New Zealand flight attendant, Sherrie Feickert.

A transformative experience

The groups of women who come to Owen River Lodge each year are of different ages and backgrounds. Many of them are mothers and grandmothers and most have no experience of luxury accommodation, cuisine and indulgence. We don’t stint on any of it. For the time they’re with us, these women get the same full, five-star treatment that we give our paying guests... and boy, do they love Chef Ryan!

One of our fondest CFR memories comes from the 2016 retreat. Ange, a farmer’s wife from a South Island coastal community where there was no breast cancer support available at all, approached us... and she was glowing. She’d just had the first massage of her life.

“Now I know what all the fuss is about,” she said. “I want one every day!”

Most CFR participants openly admit they’d never contemplated taking up fly fishing before attending the retreat. After experiencing first-hand how therapeutic angling can be for body, mind and soul, many of them leave the Lodge as enthusiastic converts. It’s always an honour for us to play a part in that journey.

2. Cawthron Institute, Nelson

The Cawthron Institute is the largest independent science organisation in New Zealand. It focuses on protecting the environment and helping primary industries develop sustainably.

And, as a registered charity, it relies on donations and business partnerships for its operation. Founded in 1919, Cawthron punches well above its weight.

The Institute employs 250 staff from 26 countries and works with organisations both within New Zealand and globally.

It regularly makes headlines for its ground-breaking research in aquaculture, biosecurity, and marine and freshwater resource management. And it’s that last one that grabbed our attention.

When Cawthron announced it was seeking funding for its freshwater ecology and fisheries research – and that this included supporting the work of three freshwater research scientists – we decided to get involved. Then we decided it would be a good idea to get other stakeholders involved too.

So we approached the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association (NZPFGA) with a proposition: if they galvanised their members to donate to Cawthron, we’d match their donation up to a the total of $10,000.

As a result, in Cawthron’s eyes Owen River Lodge is a Significant Sponsor. Which is nice. But, more importantly, we’re proud to play a role in promoting better understanding and protection of one of New Zealand’s most precious resources.

3. Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

The northern end of New Zealand’s South Island (or The Top of the South, as locals call it) is blessed with its fair share of outstanding natural beauty. Boasting three national parks, a plethora of beautiful beaches, and stunning mountains and alpine lakes, (even a local ski field), our landscape is our biggest draw-card. But remote areas have their challenges, especially when it comes to medical emergencies.

Every year, the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter flies over 500 missions to remote and hard-to-reach areas in the Top of the South. Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, this service saves literally hundreds of lives. And only 50% of its funding is guaranteed.

Choosing to support the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter’s vital work was a no-brainer for us. Owen River Lodge is a Silver sponsor and we’re very glad we can help.

4. Local community events

We’re well aware that Owen River Lodge doesn’t exist in a bubble. We’re part of a close-knit rural community that we support in diverse ways. We employ local staff and fishing guides and, where possible, support local suppliers and contractors. But we also like to get involved in community events and groups.

Over the years we’ve contributed to the local A&P show, the footy club, the garden club, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game, Nelson trout fishing club, Rural Support Trust, and various other groups and initiatives that enterprising community members think up.

It’s important to us that our community knows we care about it and that we’re prepared to back up our words with action.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s all part of looking after your neighbours.


See above, under 'Environement'.

If you’d like more information about our environmental and sustainability policies, or want to book your next luxury fly fishing experience at our accredited gold-standard, environmentally-responsible lodge, please get in touch!


Established in 2003 by Felix Borenstein, the lodge is still owned and managed by Felix. We have a wonderful team of chefs, housekeeping staff and fishing guides that have been with us for rmany years.

Your Manager, Felix Borenstein & Kylie Sargeant

Hello, my name is Felix Borenstein, I'm the founder and owner of Owen River Lodge in New Zealand.

Fly fishing is my passion and through my love of fly fishing, I decided to open my own luxury fishing lodge.

We deliver our guest the fly fishing vacations of their dreams and it's the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Your manager


  • Types of water

    Streams, Rivers
  • Types of Fish

    Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout.
  • Fishing Experience Level

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Guided Fishing Included in rates

  • Unguided Fishing not available

  • Fishing Instruction Included in rates

  • You can borrow

    Rods, Reels, Boots, Waders.
  • You can buy

    Rods, Flies, Reels.
  • Bring your own

    Rods, Flies, Reels, Boots, Hats, Waders, Fishing Nets.

The Setting

Owen River Lodge is located near the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Our location allows our guests to access over 29 rivers within a 90-minute drive of the lodge. Add another dozen more available via helicopter.

Situated in the north-west corner of the South Island, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, giving it a surprisingly mild climate with generally light winds and reliable rainfall.

The Nelson region is known for its golden beaches and national parks, You’ll find a variety of incredible landscapes in the South Island, all within easy reach of each other.

Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hills, temperate rainforest, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches — it’s all here.

The Fishing

Zane Grey, famous American author and angler, described New Zealand as an “angler’s Eldorado”. He was right on the mark, especially when you look at the trout fishery.

The average trout size ranges from 3lb to 6lb (there’s nothing average about that!), but each season our fishery grants many an angler’s dream of landing a 10-pounder.

Over the years, New Zealand has developed a reputation for having the best-sighted river fishing for trout in the world.

And Owen River Lodge, with its easy access to the Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury and West Coast fisheries at the top of the South Island, is perfectly positioned to put you at the centre of all the action.

Fly fishing – top of the South Island

The South Island of New Zealand offers the very best sight fishing for large resident wild brown trout in the world and the region offers huge variety, ranging from small, intimate rivers like the Owen River, to iconic freestone rivers, such as the Wairau.

Here you can enjoy fly fishing on numerous blue-ribbon streams and rivers, with over 30 waters accessible by road (most within one hour’s drive) and countless others by helicopter.

A sighted brown trout fishery

You may have heard New Zealand’s rivers referred to as being 'Gin clear'. Well, it’s true!
Imagine stalking a 7lb or 8lb wild brown trout in water so clear that it looks 12 inches deep when in fact it’s up to your waist.

The fishing in our region involves walking and wading up stream, and fishing for sighted brown trout. This means that for the majority of the rivers, you must see the fish before the fish sees you.

You should use a dull-coloured fly line, long leaders and fine tippet. Unlike lake fishing, the majority of the casting you will do will be medium to short distances – accuracy being much more important than the ability to cast the complete fly line.

Generally, anglers use a 5 or 6 weight rod, 9 to 10 feet in length.

Fishing gear at Owen River Lodge

Naturally, we have the world’s very best fly fishing equipment available and our tariff includes the use of all the fishing gear you may need:

We have New Zealand’s largest section of loan gear available for the world’s leading suppliers: 

Simms G3 Gore-Tex waders (ladies’ and men’s sizes available)

Simms Gore-Tex wading jackets

Simms Guide and G3 wading boots.

We stock from ladies size 5, up to men’s size 16 in wading boots and from ladies small waders to men’s XXL.

Additionally, we have a huge range of current model Sage rods (X, Trout LL, One, Igniter, Pulse & Foundation) and Sage Spectrum LT wide arbor reels.

And you don’t need to worry if we will have enough loan gear; with over 54 pairs of Simms G3 waders and over 70 pair of Simms G3 wading boots, we have more than enough to outfit all of our guests.

Owen River Lodge is one of only two fishing lodges in the world selected by Sage to be a fully-authorised dealer.

We offer a friendly, professional service for both experienced and novice fly fishers.


  • Enjoy

  • Meals served

    family style, buffet style, everyone eats together, scheduled meals
  • Alcohol

    wine provided with dinner
  • Enjoy dining in

    dining room (casual attire)
  • You'll definitely love

    farm fresh eggs, ranch garden, organic produce, locally grown produce, fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free, other

The food at Owen River Lodge could best be described as 'stunning'. Naturally, all the meals are included in our nightly tariff.

We use the freshest of local produce and our large lodge garden – tended according to organic principles – supplies the kitchen with produce every day.

It's also backed up by daily deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the Nelson region.

Your Chef, Ryan

Ryan has been our Head Chef for the past 10 years, If you take a moment to read our Trip Advisor reviews, you will see he's very talented!


  • Address

    173 Owen Valley East Rd
    New Zealand
  • Remote Location

  • Elevation

    1000 ft

Nearest Town - Nelson

Nelson has a population of 75,000 (approx), and is situated 65 miles / 1 hour 30 mins from the Ranch.

Ranch shuttle

There is a shuttle service from Nelson Airport to the lodge that we can arrange for you. The cost is NZ $385 per shuttle, per journey (not per passenger)

Nearest Airports

Nelson, Nelson


65 miles / 1 hour 30 mins

Ranch shuttle

There is a shuttle service from Nelson Airport to the lodge that we can arrange for you. The cost is NZ $385 per shuttle, per journey (not per passenger)


  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $495 - $685
  • Minimum Stay

    3 days
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Any day is fine
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Any day is fine
  • Style of accommodation

    Luxury 5-Star
  • Packages available

    3 night, 4 night, 5 night, 6 night, 1 week
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Owen River Lodge can cater for up to 12 guests. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Guest cottage suite

Rates (Per Person)*

$695 - $985
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Minimum Stay

3 nights


We designed our six, purpose-built guest cottage suites with both the angler and non-angler in mind. They are located in the garden, a short stroll from the main lodge building.

These luxuriously-appointed suites enjoy stunning views of the water, the valley and Kahurangi National Park, with the delightful sound of the Owen River in the background.




Private bathroom


safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, air conditioning

Booking Policy

Our package rates include your accommodation in one of our luxury guest cottage suites, all meals i.e. pre-dinner canapés, a three-course dinner, cooked English breakfast, picnic lunch, Neudorf & Craggy Range house wine with meals, beer, Wi-Fi, the use of all lodge facilities (including use of our fly fishing equipment, GST and expert guiding with one of our senior fly fishing guides).

To secure your booking we require a deposit of 50% of the package tariff. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Owen River Lodge is a small boutique lodge and cancellations affect us greatly.

If your reservation is cancelled within 90 days of arrival there will be a charge of 25% of the total accommodation and guiding tariff or package rate.

Within 60 days of arrival, there will be a charge of 50%.

Within 45 days of arrival, there will be a charge of 75%.

Within 30 days of arrival, there will be a charge of 100%.

We strongly advise guests to take out travel insurance to protect themselves against unexpected changes to their travel plans.

Accounts settled using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card will attract a transaction fee of 2% of the value of the transaction.

Covid 19

If you’re unable to make a trip due to official government travel restrictions implemented because of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, all payments will be credited to a future stay at Owen River Lodge.

This credit will be valid for 24 months.

Included in your stay

meals, activities, lodging, tax



Airport transfers, fishing licences (available @ lodge), spirits, non house wine


We have a dedicated massage room which overlooks the river

Guided Fly Fishing

Its what we do !


  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.


Outdoor Activities

mountain biking

Water based Activities

hot tub


relaxation massage, deep tissue massage


  • Owen River Lodge is a beautiful boutique lodge situated in the Nelson Region of the north-west corner of New Zealand's South Island. It is surrounded by sheltering mountain ranges, breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife and the pleasant climate makes it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind.
  • The fly fishing options are almost endless, with 29 rivers within a 90 minute drive, you can’t go wrong! You can also experience the thrill of 'heli-fishing' and gain access to stretches of water that would take you two to three days to reach by foot.
  • Incredible food and hospitality, guests enjoy eating together, learning about the area and getting to know one another.
  • Owen River Lodge is absolutely committed to looking after their environment, people and community. Their sustainability policies are impressive to say the least. Caring about the environment and other people’s happiness, getting all the details right and helping to make anglers’ dreams come true is at the heart of everything they do.


  • If you're looking for a family vacation or fly fishing for kids, please note that they are unable to accommodate children under 12, with the exception of nursing infants.

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Fly Fishing tuition at its best

My brother and I wanted to learn how to fly fish for trout so booked at the Owen River Lodge for their guided tuition option. This was fly fishing at its best. The location and venue is second to none and the hosts - Felix and Kylie were wonderful and welcoming. The accommodation is "top of the range"and very spacious with everything that you could hope for all included in the price. The food is "fine dining"and the drinks options cover a huge range. The chefs and waiter staff and the fishing guides are 1st class, all combining to make our stay fabulous - We did it in style !! - Thankyou so much Felix and Kylie - we hope to visit you again.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Owen River Lodge on TripAdvisor