North Island, New Zealand
10th Dec 2003
Three days after
our wedding, Sandra and I left for our 10-day honeymoon to New Zealand's
North Island. We landed at Auckland International Airport and made arrangements
to rent a Suzuki 1 litre Escudo 4x4 Jeep. This was incidentally our
first road trip holiday anywhere. Our first night in the land of the
All Blacks was spent at Chris and Melinda's. We are grateful for their
hospitality and help in planning our driving route. We planned to make
a loop around the North Island, visiting the following states: Tauranga,
Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Waitomo and Auckland. Along the way we planned
to take at least 2 fishing trips.
Tauranga - Bay
Our first NZ fishing
trip was in the Bay of Plenty. We made our last minute charter arrangements
at the "i-site" located in the small town centre of Tauranga.
We were fortunate to get room on a relatively inexpensive full-day fishing
charter leaving from a jetty at Pilot Bay, which was situated at the
base of Mount Maunganui.
The mountain of Mount Maunganui, also known to the local Maori people
as Mauao, is shrouded in legend and history. It is the dominant geological
feature of the Tauranga District, with its conical rocky outline rising
232 metres above sea level. It has been of great importance to local
Maori for more than six centuries as a place of occupation and later
as a refuge for defence. Evidence of this is still visible today.
We began our day at 0730H with breakfast at a small coffeehouse at the
base of Mount Maunganui. The weather was chilly and we noticed that
the sea was flat but foggy. At 0830H, we parked our Escudo next to the
jetty and waited impatiently in the cold for the 50ft open deck fishing
boat to pick us up.
All in all there
were about 9 other people on the boat with us. All anglers had to pay
for a day fishing licence. The fishing gear provided was relatively
oversized, but of good quality. The bait provided was fresh octopus
tentacles. Fortunately, we brought a rag wipe up after we handled the
The fishing was
quite fun and productive. Fortunately, the weather warmed up a little
and we could fish without our jackets on. Most of the fish we caught
were Tarakki, a bony white fish with a black spot at the front of its
dorsal fin. Sandra was lucky to catch a Mao Mao, a grey bony fish with
relatively small scales, and a Snapper. We were also greeted by a small
shark that loitered around the boat to snap at fish being hauled in
by the anglers onboard. What I enjoyed seeing was the conservative efforts
practised by the anglers to throw all fish were undersized back into
We had a simple
lunch onboard, which was prepared by the deck hand. At about 1500H,
the fishing guide said that it was time to go back to shore at we made
our way back to Pilot Bay. On the way back, we spent sometime chatting
with the others onboard at gave our catch to someone who was going to
The Lake Taupo
region in New Zealand's volcanic heartland is rich in Maori tradition.
It also has some of the country's finest untouched, uncrowded and unique
landscapes. The lake itself was the result of the most violent volcanic
eruption the world has seen in the past 5000 years - the ash affected
the sunsets as far away as Europe and China.
In Taupo, we stayed at a comfortable bed and breakfast with a view of
the lake. The owners of the lodge, helped book for us a fishing charter
on the lake the following afternoon with a fishing guide that they knew.
We spent the day before the fishing trip resting and enjoying the beautiful
scenery from the cabin.
After we had our
lunch on the trip day, we set off for the 2 hours of fishing on the
lake. Personally, the fishing experience was quite expensive, but the
guide was quite friendly and provided us with quite a bit of information
on fly fishing in New Zealand. The tackle set up for fishing that day
was a down rigger and relatively light tackle with artifical bait lures.
Down rigging was necessary as the fish would normally be at the deeper
parts of the lake in the afternoon. From the fish finder, I noticed
that we were trolling at about 18m of water.
Our first fish
was a rainbow trout. Unfortunately, the fat fish was ½ inch shorter
than what could be kept. About 30 mins later, we hooked up another fish
and from the leaps it too out of the water, it was obvious that this
fish was a keeper. Sandra played the fish in and it weighed about 4
½ pounds. As we had reached the end of our 2 hour trip, we headed
back to the marina.
Excited with our
expensive catch, we took our license and made our way to JJ's café
to get the fish cooked. In Taupo, it is illegal to serve trout in restaurants,
unless the person who caught the fish with a valid fishing license request
for it to be cooked. We were very proud to be the only people in the
restaurant having trout that evening, especially when we noticed many
of the tourists asking the waiter if they could order what we were having.
We thought both
the salt water and fresh water fishing in New Zealand during our honeymoon
was fruitful. We intend to come back some day to fish the Bay of Islands.