How much does trout fishing cost in New Zealand? (and how to save money)

It is difficult to give an estimate for the total cost of a trout fishing vacation to New Zealand because there are simply so many variables.

If you travel frugally, a week’s trout fishing in New Zealand could cost under $2000 (excluding airfares), on the other hand. If you employ the services of guides and take frequent helicopter flights and stay in luxury accommodation there will not be much change out of $10,000

New Zealand Trout fishing license cost

To go trout fishing in most of New Zealand requires a trout license from Fish and Game, the price in 2021 is as follows. There are cheaper options for Juniors and Children.

  • Whole Season adult resident: $137
  • Whole Season adult non-resident: $185
  • One Day Resident: $22
  • One Day non-resident: $35

For the full list of prices check the Fish and Game website

A whole season license is also required to get a Back country Endorsement which is required to fish quite a few iconic waters. The endorsement is free to apply for after attaining the license. designated back

The Taupo District of NZ operates under a different license issued by the Department of Conservation.

  • Whole Season Adult: $99
  • Whole Season non-resident: $129
  • 24 hour resident: $20
  • 24 hour non-resident: $20

What is the cheapest time of year to trout fish in New Zealand

Summer in New Zealand is the peak of the tourist season, this also corresponds to higher prices.

Broadly speaking, prices are generally lower from October through to mid-December. Christmas, New Year, and January are busy with domestic travelers. While January, Febuary, and well into March can see a lot of international visitors.

It is not until the end of March into April that prices start to flatten somewhat. If I was a traveler on a budget, I will aim to fish sometime in October, November, or April. It is hard to give exact figures, but car rentals and accommodation can easily be a third cheaper.

Trout fishing direct expenses, such as guide fees, helicopters, and license costs do not change much throughout the season.

Out of these months, April has the most stable weather. The nights can be cold, but the days are normally dry and warm. The trout, while wary from a season of fishing pressure are generally in the mood to feed and are usually willing to take a well presented fly.

Spring fishing in New Zealand is mixed. The weather is less stable with rain and extreme wind not uncommon. RIvers are often flowing high. If you can catch a break in the weather, trout fishing is actually very good. It is my favorite time of year to fish many of the more iconic backcountry rivers that can become crowded over the summer months.

Spring is also a great time to target trout in the estuaries and lower rivers. Trout, sometimes large feed upon migrating whitebait in rivers near the coast.

How much does it cost to hire a trout fishing guide?

The rate for a whole day guiding service generally ranges between $650-$900. This generally includes all guiding services and land transportation from your accommodation to nearby trout rivers.

Half day trips and multiple day trip options are also available.

How much does Helicopter hire cost when trout fishing?

The cost of a helicopter ride really depends on the length of the flight, type of helicopter and launch location. A rough estimate is $2000 per hour of flight time in a 3 person Huges 500.

So budget in the neighborhood of $900-$2500 for helicopter hire for a day’s fishing.


Accommodation ranges from free camping in the wilderness of a National Park to hundreds of dollars per night in a luxury lodge. With everything in-between.

Expect to pay in the range of $100-150 a night for a standard motel or hotel room.

If you prefer to stay in a level of luxury, or dedicated trout fishing lodges you can expect prices north of $400 per night. It really does vary greatly.

Cheaper accommodation can be found in backpacking hotels and in campground cabins. Some people prefer to hire a campervan rather than stay in accommodation, I will cover the cost of this in a later section.


If you are not using the services of a guide, then private transport is all but essential when fly fishing in New Zealand.

A small car outside the peak summer months can usually be found for around $20-30 a day. This can raise quite dramatically over the summer.

A 4wd more suitable for reaching backcountry fishing locations can cost more in the range of $100 per day. Keep in mind, the terms of use normally restrict to on road use only which can limit the accessibility to some more remote rivers.

Rugged 4wd with camping equipment included can be had for around $200 per day. Such a setup will make it possible to explore many of the more remote fisheries.

Campervan hire

One of the more popular ways to travel New Zealand is in a campervan. This can offer increased flexibility and maybe even a cost saving compared with staying in hotels.

Out of season prices can be quite cheap, but they always surge with traveler demands. Expect to pay around $50 a small van, while a small 2-berth campervan maxes out as high as $250 a day at peak. It is not uncommon for the same size vans to cost under $80 during the off-season.

A large more luxurious camper could be in the range of $400 a day during the busy season.

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