We arrived the 11th of October just four days prior to our first guests. Fortunately our friends, neighbors and builders had already been working hard at getting the lodge and our home prepared for opening. Glenys and Alan Cooper had been working on landscaping, gardening and cleaning up after builders for weeks. New beds and dressers had been placed in all the guest rooms and they had been cleaned and “re-cleaned” in preparation for arrivals. CDL Builders of Wanaka had “re-cladded” the lodge with cedar siding, reconfigured the decking layout, improved the structural integrity of the front aspect of the building, replaced all doors and windows with “double glazing” and put in a “cool room” walk in fridge. Our green house was already producing fresh salads for the lodge and chickens were just a couple days away. Things were moving fast but most of the heavy lifting had been done. We unpacked boxes, laid new gravel on the driveways, reseeded part of the golf course/paddock, tidied up the berry patch, did another “huck out” of the old now three years unused items. Dion ( Cedar Lodge Base Pilot ) brought up the new fuel trailer and was ready to go with our first day of fishing on the 16th.
It’s been a relatively mild on the South Island after a significant snow fall and great ski season in July and August. October and early November brought pretty nice weather and our first week of fishing followed suit. A touch of wind the first couple of days, then fine weather and a really wet final day of the week. Anglers enjoyed excellent fishing for rainbows and browns on dries and nymphs. One of the days we had an extraordinary Manuka Beetle “hatch” and the fish were going absolutely bonkers on beetles coming off the flowering Manuka bushes. Trout would move 10-15ft up and down the run to chase the small green beetle. Imitating this can be a bit tough and often just getting a similarly sized fly just above the actively feeding fish can do the trick. When you give the fish to much time to consider your offering the they would often refuse it.
Our chef team has been nothing short of amazing! Hard working, professional and creators of outstanding dishes for every meal. It’s been an absolute joy having Kirsten and Crystal as sommelier and chef. Highlights have been braised Lamb Neck and bone in Rib eye in our wood fired pizza oven.