Day Tours

There's so much to choose from in the region it's difficult to know what to arrange before you arrive - and you wouldn't want to miss out! From our location in the heart of the Motueka River Valley the whole Nelson Tasman region is accessible so let us design a very special day out for you either based on one of the packages below or we can put together something special together to suit guests' differing interests.


Fly Fishing

The Lodge has excellent relationships with several professional local fly fishing guides.  The Lodge also has its own river frontage on the Motueka River. We can design a single day, or multi-day fishing experience for you whatever your level of expertise.

Our perfect location allows guests to experience gentle, clear, flowing rivers with easy access right from the property or if you are up to it, the more challenging treasures that lie hidden high in the back country only accessible by helicopter. With over 30 accessible rivers and streams in close proximity to the Motueka River Lodge, and many others by helicopter, our region offers abundant variety to suit every angler’s dreams – you may even land yourself a 10 pounder trophy trout. 

The Lodge's position allows a wide choice of rivers from different catchment systems to be accessed. Our talented team of fly fishing guides pick the most appropriate fly fishing destination according to the angler’s ability, fitness level, time of year and pertinent local knowledge.

Please note though that the best guides in the region do get booked up in the season so it is advisable to book your fly fishing when you book your accommodation.


Not a fly fisher?...

There's nothing to stop you enjoying your day just as much if you are not a fly fisher! Visit wineries, art galleries or markets - Below are some of our tour choices.

A day in magnificent Golden Bay, above Abel Tasman National Park, in the capable hands of Anton - a unique fishing experience in the company of someone who loves and protects the natural environment. The tour includes a helicopter flight.

Kingfish Fishing - Golden Bay 

Anton Donaldson has discovered a unique saltwater flats fishery at the top of the South Island based in Golden Bay. Anton is an experienced trout fishing guide in the Nelson region and is now offering guided trips to catch Yellowtail Kingfish on fly on the flats of Golden Bay.

From Christmas until Easter the Kingfish invade the shallow water of Golden Bay to baitfish whilst riding the backs of large Stingrays.  These fish can be very aggressive and take a fly in knee deep water and within a mere second can be 150 yards out into your backing. The wading can be physical as these fish are always on the move but if you can get in a position to make a good cast chances are you will be attached to a yellow and green torpedo.

Anton is involved with a tagging program for inshore caught kingfish. All his fish are tagged, measured and recorded with the angler’s name. This is to ascertain an estimated population size and their coastal movements to help better understand these beautiful fish. Anton has also been instrumental in helping to protect a large area of flats on the inside of Farewell Spit in conjunction with the Nature Reserve set up to protect the large number of wading birds that feed there.

There are several ways to experience the best fly fishing New Zealand has to offer from the Motueka River Lodge:
A Heli Half and Half Day
Helicopter to Golden Bay and fish the morning for Kingfish on the flats and in the afternoon take on the wily brown trout at the Kahurangi National Park. Return by heli to the Lodge.

A Full Heli Day
Helicopter from the Lodge and fish either a full day for Kingfish in Golden Bay or a full day in the Kahurangi National park for brown trout...

Better yet do a day of each!

Cycle kilometres of quiet country roads and gentle cycle paths - on an electric bike if you wish - and get a true flavour of the region’s art, wines and views.

Explore from your door

Wheelie Fantastic can put together a private bespoke day tour to suit you. The day can range from a full day of cycling to only a short bike ride. The guided tours can have a vehicle with guests all day so a combination of cycle and drive provides maximum flexibility. Guests could explore one area by bike in the morning and then get driven to a different location to explore a different area by vehicle in the afternoon.

Award winning wineries, craft breweries, studios, galleries, the World of Wearable Art and Collectable Cars, Nelson City and small rural villages are just some of the places that can be explored on a day tour.

Wheelie Fantastic are experienced tour operators who live and work in the area and they create day tours ( both guided or self-guided) with authentic experiences, suited to their guests.

The Abel Tasman National Park - clear blue water, golden sand beaches, birdlife and sealife. A genuine “must see” for visitors to New Zealand.

Wonderful World Daytrip

Begin your day in this wonderful part of the world with a half hour scenic drive along the legendary trout filled Motueka River to the picturesque Stephens Bay. Meet your friendly skipper here at 10am and join us for a small group bespoke boat charter into the iconic Abel Tasman National Park.

Cruise the golden sand coastline in comfort as we take you on a journey to discover the wildlife, diverse ecosystems, secluded coves and beaches that make this New Zealand’s favourite National Park.

Enjoy a glass of wine or beer with a delicious platter style lunch before hiking along the bush clad track to Awaroa in the heart of the park. This is roughly an hour’s hike to a private airfield where you meet with your awaiting helicopter and continue your adventure.

Soar over estuaries and beaches taking in the magnificent views of the bay before continuing with some trout spotting along the beautiful Motueka river on your way home. Finally, alight on the lawn of the lodge in time to enjoy the evening rise.

 (9.15am departure 4.30 pm return) – Lunch, refreshments, towels, and sunscreen all provided.  Charter boat maximum of 11 passengers

We offer two choices of tour with our Abel Tasman partners - both give you a true taste of New Zealand and include helicopter scenic flights.

River, Sea and Sky Escape

Enjoy a day showcasing the best of the region's scenery. Your voyage begins as your driver collects you for the scenic drive along the banks of the Motueka River to deliver you to your awaiting privately chartered boat.

Cruise in comfort along the golden sand and bush lined beaches of the iconic Abel Tasman National Park aboard our 11-metre power catamaran. Our excellent skippers will be your personal guide on a day where you can enjoy this beautiful place in your own way. Whether your passion is wildlife photography, kayaking, or hiking the bush tracks we can ensure you experience the best the park has to offer.

We serve a delicious lunch with fresh local ingredients and local wine and beers before rounding the headland to Awaroa in the heart of the park. From here it is a short walk to the private airfield where your helicopter awaits.

Take off to the skies for a very scenic flight over bush clad hills to Golden Bay, home of the world’s second clearest fresh water springs, Te Waikoropupu Springs. You’ll also enjoy the truly unique view over Harwood's hole, the deepest cave in the Southern Hemisphere as we soar above the Kahurangi National Park.

We fly to locations used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, renowned for their breath-taking scenery in remote seldom visited valleys.  Then return over Moa park – named for a large, now extinct flightless bird to the water falls behind Awaroa and back along the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National park.

Lastly, we continue with some trout spotting along the beautiful Motueka river on your way home and land you on the lawn of the Motueka River Lodge in time to enjoy the evening rise.

(9.15am departure 4.30 pm return) – Lunch, refreshments, towels, and sunscreen all provided.



One of the most fabulous ways to see the region - take a scenic flight over spectacular scenery and touch down for a walk, kayak or a cruise.

Nelson Tasman Air Heli Tours

Such a spectacular region deserves to be seen from the air. Nelson Tasman Air partner with us to provide a range of packages or you can design your own tour with the help of our staff and their local knowledge. The sky is truly the limit with these tours so please contact us to craft your exclusive helicopter tour experience.

TOUR OPTIONS include combinations of scenic flights with kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park or a cruise around the many bays and beaches of the Abel Tasman and the option to walk some of the well maintained path that runs the length of the coastline. 

Scenic Flights over the Motueka River Valley, Abel Tasman National Park and Golden Bay
Fly + Cruise options - experience the Abel Tasman at its most stunning from the air and from the sea
Touch down at Awaroa Resort and enjoy lunch in the heart of the Park
Add a walk along part of the Abel Tasman Coastline path or include a guided kayaking adventure
Lord of the Rings locations - Access the very heart of the wilderness in Kahurangi National Park where some of the scenes from LoTR were filmed
Knowledgeable, fun pilots will share stories and history with you
Helicopter tours start from The Lodge with an 8am pick-up and return flights to either Motueka Airport or The Lodge take off from Awaroa Resort throughout the day. Talk with us to confirm those details.