The perfect mix of vast, remote wilderness terrain – forests, hills, mountains, lakes and rivers — and thriving populations of introduced fish and wild game means the West Coast is stacked with great fishing and hunting grounds. A bewildering choice!
So, where are the best places to go? There’s no substitute for local knowledge and the West Coast has plenty of expert guides who can take you to their favourite spots.
Fishing tales are legendary around the West Coast. With 600 kms of wild coastline and a multitude of pristine wilderness lakes and rivers, there is an endless menu of superb locations for salt and freshwater fishing expeditions. Trophy-sized brown and rainbow trout, lake and sea-run salmon lure keen international fly fishers and anglers, while the ocean is a plentiful source of fish, shellfish and crayfish (lobster) from around the rocky shores, and seasonal whitebait.
New Zealand has some of the world’s best wild game hunting and the West Coast has Aotearoa’s most extensive wilderness hunting grounds for red deer, Himalayan Tahr, alpine Chamois, feral pigs and goats. These introduced species proliferate in the forests and on the steep alpine slopes of the inland West Coast. Most guided hunting expeditions start with a helicopter flight into the otherwise inaccessible areas where hunting is permitted. If you just want to spot these magnificent species in the wild, then a scenic helicopter flight is your best chance.
Fishing grounds are usually subject to local fishing regulations and permits are required.
Hunting anywhere in New Zealand requires the permission of the landowner. On public conservation land, this permission is obtained by requesting a hunting permit from the Department of Conservation (DOC).
DOC lists more than 80 areas on the West Coast where hunting is permitted. Access into these remote areas is mostly via helicopter with experienced heli hunting operators.