General Hunting

Our packages are all inclusive and typically 5-days/6-nights – with 5 full days of hunting! We pick can pick you up directly from the Queenstown airport, or if you like to arrive earlier we can assist with hotel bookings in Queenstown.

Includes: luxury lodge accommodations, roundtrip Queenstown transfer, daily guide rates, private chef crafted cuisine, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, field preparation of trophies, on-site hostess, Wi-Fi throughout the lodge, daily room servicing & laundry and of course trophy fees as booked and listed on invoice.

Additional trophies, upgrades and curated experiences may easily be added during your stay.

100% on antlered game, 100% shot opportunity on rifle Tahr and Chamois with success rates virtually identical.

Archery Tahr and Chamois is very difficult and take more days, success rates vary by hunter skill and luck.

Airfare, taxidermy, crating/shipping trophies, trophy upgrades, additional trophies, gratuities, NZ travel visa, curated non-hunting experiences, spa, items of personal nature, firearm import fee and of course additional tours/lodging pre or post hunt.

Click to view our New Zealand hunting season chart.

Our main hunting season is from late February-August with most deer species rutting late March-end April.

Velvet red stags make for a great November/December/January hunt and warm Southern Hemisphere Christmas vacation.
Tahr and chamois winter coats start late April-September.

Main waterfowl season is May-July.

We highly recommend you be in the best shape possible for your age and physical limitations to have best hunting experience. Don’t be concerned if you have any physical or health issues, our guides are well trained and considerate. 

They will modify your hunt to suit your ability. We have worked with all fitness levels including wheelchair hunters; plus, our luxury lodge is handicap accessible. 

All the same, if you can spare the time, some extra activities like walking, biking or gym work out will pay off.

Rifle shot range is 100–300 on average.

Long distance shooters can stretch out much further if they prefer.

Archery ranges out to 60-yards for antlered game.

Yes, we host a number of archery hunters every season and our clients enjoy great success rates on all of our species.

Our predominate method is spot and stalk with shot opportunities ranging out to 60-yards.

There are no snakes, predators or venomous creatures on our New Zealand hunting trips.

No, our packages are all-inclusive plus New Zealand does not operate on a licensing or tag system.

Antlered game we access our big steep country using UTV’s (Kawasaki Mule). From key vantage points we scout letting our eyes do the walking. Once target is found we spot and stalk hunt.

Tahr and chamois we use helicopters to access remote alpine habitat. You’ll experience a purely New Zealand hunting culture and adrenaline rush in breathtaking terrain.

For the hard-core foot only mountain hunter, contact us for specific Tahr and chamois information.

We are hunting gear junkies and have tried lots of gear, our short, detailed gear list will be supplied upon booking.

If you plan on even the possibility of hunting Tahr and/or Chamois additional warm weather gear will be needed.

Daily laundry is included in daily rates.

Yes, Good quality waterproof coat is essential gear as it can snow and rain any time of year. We will supply a complete gear list upon booking.

This varies by your home country and hunting traditions.

American’s traditionally have excellent camo that works well afield.

Wear what you feel most comfortable in, we will hunt hard and play the wind.

Archery hunters stalking in close, quiet camo is an excellent idea.

Some of our favorite camo patterns include Pnuma, Kuiu, Forloh

Footwear can be a highly personal choice; we’ve had great experiences with Crispi, Meindl, Scarpa, Lowa, Lathrop & Sons.
Whichever you chose, make sure they are well broken in.

Travel hint: Very clean boots clear NZ customs quicker as immigrations officers work to protect our environment from possible threats.

No, our guides all carry Swarovski spotting scopes, and rangefinders.

You of course may bring your own if you prefer.

Binoculars will be on the gear list, we recommend 10x binoculars.

We are located in New Zealand’s #1 tourist region. There are literally unlimited options based on what you like, and our onsite hostess will be happy to organize. Our luxury lodge is also very comfortable to simply kick back and relax, we include free Wi-Fi.
Since New Zealand is not on a tag or permit system, many hunters choose to hunt additional species.

Yes, very popular.

Check out some of the videos on our YouTube channel: Venator Cardrona Safaris.

We will need prior notification to book videographer talent.

Additional rates apply based on what you want.

Photo editing and video production will be completed and delivered post hunt.

We will do everything possible to locate and recover game. However, in the unlikely event an animal is wounded and not recovered the full trophy fee is due. Hunters may continue to hunt on trophy fee basis.

Game is typically skinned and quartered in the field. Meat, capes and antlers/horns are then transported to our off-site cooler.

And of course, game is skinned based on your instructions for taxidermy.

Our private chef will prepare gourmet game cuisine throughout your stay. The remaining venison will be used by various sources.

Taking meat home from New Zealand can be difficult and very expensive. It is possible.

Rest assured no meat goes to waste and our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay.

We hunt two large exclusive preserves, totaling in excess of 15,000 acres of excellent diverse habitat, that’s 23+ square miles (60+ square kilometers) of private hunting. Our hunting preserves consist of undulating back country, covered in native vegetation. There’s excellent cover and plenty of draws and gullies.

Tahr and Chamois are hunted on both private & public land.

We’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required.

Being that we are located in the tourism mecca of New Zealand we can find people that speak all languages if needed. We also have agents and Venator employees in numerous locations around the world.

Species Specific

Red Stag / Red Deer

Hunting is very solid February straight through to August.

Best time can vary greatly depending on hunter’s desire, non-hunting activities, and simply when they can break away for hunt.

Early season pre-roar is fantastic hunting with thickest cover bow hunters like. Roar season heats up late March to late April and reserved for when we hunt our biggest stags.

May onward is best time to add in Tahr and Chamois in winter coats without sacrificing red stag hunting experience.

Velvet red stags make for a great November/December/January hunt and warm Southern Hemisphere Christmas vacation. Coincides with the ultimate dry fly-fishing experience.

They are the same species. Term stag or deer really comes down to where you’re from and cultural terminology.

We have experienced hunting guides who are experts in field-judging game.

If trophy is larger than guide judges, that’s on us.

If the guide judges a trophy and it is larger than class you booked and you decide to shoot, that’s on you.

Hunters can upgrade in the field if they find a trophy, they want which is larger than booked.

Very flavorful, our exclusive private chef will prepare a variety of cuisine from Red Stag, Elk/Wapiti, Tahr, Fallow Deer and Chamois.

Yes, red deer have a pair of ivory teeth similar to elk used to vocalize their mating call.

No, Hunting is strong with equal success the entire season!

Safari Club International book of records lists an 826 2/8” stag as the world record. It was hunted here with us. Click link to watch this video on YouTube

Red stag roar is the sound made during the rutting season, this bellow is most commonly compared to a lion’s roar.

Elk / Wapiti

The elk bugle coincides with the red stag roar, end March – late April

In 1909 Rocky Mountain elk were introduced courtesy of President Roosevelt.

Safari Club International book of records

Wapiti Typical category lists a 472 2/8” bull as world record. It was hunted here with us.

Wapiti Non-typical category lists a 591 5/8” bull as world record.

Rocky Mountain Elk is the largest big-game species in New Zealand with mature bulls sporting antlers 300 – 500+ SCI.

Fallow Deer

Fallow deer rut later than red stag in New Zealand. Typically, mid-April through mid-May.

Fallow deer were introduced in New Zealand from Europe.

Fallow deer come in a variety of colors with the most common being light brown with white spots, chocolate brown, white and occasionally black.

Yes, unique to fallow deer the Adam’s Apple or larynx is prominent.

Himalayan Tahr

Yes, we’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required

We typically conduct helicopter assisted hunts, but also a portion of our clients wish to do foot hunts.

It allows quick access to rugged remote Tahr country.

We are located in prime country and can lift off directly from our luxury lodge for the hunt.

Tahr can be hunted in a variety of ways: by foot, spike camp or helicopter assisted.

Foot hunts are very physically demanding.

Yes, specialty hunt. Contact us to discuss.

 

Yes, very popular add on trophy.

It’s best to decide at beginning of hunt as weather patterns will dictate best day(s) to hunt Tahr in the Southern Alps

Winter hair is best May through August

Yes, female Tahr have small horn and make fantastic additions to taxidermy dioramas and trophy rooms. Female Tahr lack the long hair of the bull Tahr.

European Chamois

Winter hair is best May through August, and we will hunt mature dark chamois

New Zealand Chamois have a reputation for being an elusive trophy and helicopters make access to their alpine home more time efficient.

We suggest the use of a helicopter to access our higher hunting areas in the Southern Alps.

Foot hunts are very physically demanding.

Both chamois sexes have short black horns.

Male chamois bucks are typically much heavier and pronounced hook.

Female chamois typically less mass, longer and may have less of a hook.

Yes, Exciting adrenaline adventure and the landscape you’ll hunt them in is simply spectacular.

No, we’re located in prime country, no lodge changes, long transfers or overnights required.

Other Species

Yes we have possum but not in large numbers. Wallabies are a 2.5-3 hour drive from our lodge.

  • Paradise ducks
  • Black Swans
  • Mallard ducks
  • Grey ducks
  • Shoveler ducks 
  • and Canada goose

Yes, depending upon country of import regulations. Birds may require taxidermy to be completed in New Zealand

Yes, a New Zealand classic. Ideal big-game trophy to extend your hunting, youth hunters or those on their first hunt.

Yes, great affordable big-game trophy addition to your New Zealand big-game adventure.

Non-Hunting Activities

We are located in Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand’s #1 tourist area

Click here to learn more.

There is a host of unique activities right on our doorstep, you will be spoilt for choice during your stay. Click here to learn more.

Yes, Shopping in the nearby quaint resort town of Wanaka is less than 10-minutes away. Wanaka is situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka and makes for a wonderful day out.

Yes, our onsite hostess will organize spa, massage and facials to suit your individual requirements in nearby Wanaka

Pure New Zealand activities include:

  • jet boat
  • race car-motorsport park
  • bungy jump
  • distillery tours
  • wine tastings
  • historic cheese mill tours
  • spas
  • trekking
  • flight seeing
  • sunrise balloon
  • mountain top lunch
  • hot pools
  • golfing
  • Mount Cook scenic flights
  • Milford Sound
  • cycling trails
  • Lake Wanaka
  • skilling
  • snowboarding
  • shopping
  • famous Fergburger
  • Arrowtown art galleries 
  • and cultural tours to name a few.

Our dedicated onsite hostess will curate all your experiences to make the most of your time in the adventure capital of New Zealand.

No, typically we set up activities when you arrive and take into account weather when booking dates.

Lodge Accommodation

Less than a 10-minute drive from Wanaka town centre lies Cardrona Terraces, an exquisite 700sqm (7,535 sqft) luxury sportsmans lodge.

Designed with the travelling sportsman in mind you will find a dedicated hunters room, with gun display, changing lockers, and drying room. Every room is ensuited with either private balcony, or access on to the courtyard, multiple bars and relaxation areas and heated pool.

Positioned on 42 acres (17 hectares) of land, Cardona Terraces benefits from ultimate privacy within tranquil surrounds.

Watch our Video Tour of our Luxury Hunting Lodge.

Amenities include heated swimming pool, Wi-Fi, patio/deck/terrace, outdoor seating, bar, lounge, coffee machine, elevator, SkyTV, outdoor cooking, Indoor and outdoor fires, library, laundry facilities, firearm storage, wheelchair access and stunning mountain views!

Use of all property facilities, welcome drink upon arrival, onsite chef, onsite hostess, full breakfast, lunch (either at lodge or packed picnic), nightly pre dinner drinks and canapes, nightly four course gourmet dinner with paired wines, extensive selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, daily room servicing, Wi-Fi throughout the lodge.

Yes. Free Wi-Fi is included throughout the lodge at no cost.

Yes, we are family friendly.
However, is you require child day care this needs to be organized pre-trip. Additional rates will apply from childcare provider.

Yes, our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay. It’s all delicious!

Yes, Alongside the world’s top brands, we serve the finest New Zealand beverages including locally sourced whiskey, spirits and wine.

Sleeping up to 12 guests, the six king size bedrooms all split into twin beds, providing full flexibility based on your group requirements. Each bedroom also comes with a full en-suite bathroom.

Upon booking we will send you a form to fill out which includes food likes/dislikes.

Our onsite hostess will assist the non-hunters. Let us curate your dream, with a host of unique activities right on our doorstep, you will be spoilt for choice during your stay.

Depending upon activity selected, hostess will organize transportation accordingly.

Firearms

It is very easy unlike many other countries to bring a firearm as well as ammunition into New Zealand.

You will need to fill out the permit and submit to New Zealand police prior to your arrival.

Should you wish to bring your personal firearm to New Zealand we will assist you.

We have a selection of high-end firearms for you to use free of charge.

Firearm brands include:

  • Blaser
  • Browning
  • Tika
  • Sako
  • Winchester
  • Sauer
  • Best of the West (BOTW)

And topped with fine optics from Leupold, Swarovski and Leica.

We recommend calibres between .270 to .300WinMag

If you plan to tour before or after your hunt it is best to plan on using one of the lodges rifles, this makes your touring a lot more hassle free.

NZ$25 payable to police upon clearing firearm upon arrival.

Travel tip: Get your 25NZ at your international departure airport, this will save a step, time and line upon arrival in New Zealand.

https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/firearms-and-safety/licences-permits-and-endorsements/visitor-firearms-licence-and

If you plan on touring (not hunting) Australia on same trip, you can’t take a firearm.

Travel

When flying west you will lose a day as you fly across International Date Line.

i.e.: Departing USA on a Friday, you’ll land in New Zealand on a Sunday.

On your return trip flying east, you will now gain a day as you fly across International Date Line.

i.e.: Departing New Zealand on a Friday, you’ll land in USA on Friday.

We meet and greet in Queenstown. We can either pick you up straight from the airport, or assist you with hotel arrangements in Queenstown if you wish to arrive 1-2 days before your hunt starts. Scenic ground transfer through scenic mountain pass is just under an hour’s drive to your home away from home.

We are able to pick you up directly from the airport. Some clients like to arrive in Queenstown or Auckland 1-2 days before the start of their hunt to relax and adjust to the time zone. This is entirely up to the individual.

Currently the NZ government has not made us aware as to whether you will need to vaccinated or not when the border does open. This is subject to change.

New Zealand requires at least one unstamped passport page, and at least three months of validity remaining beyond the traveler’s planned date of departure.

New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) will be required for US & Canadian travelers arriving in New Zealand on or after October 1, 2019. The NZeTA must be granted in advance of arrival. Visitors may apply online at the website below, or for a reduced fee using the app (available for android and apple devices). In addition you may also have to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).

The NZeTA cost is NZD$9 on the app or NZD$12 on the website. IVL costs are $35 per person additional, and charged along with the eTA.
New Zealand Immigration website

We are on 240v, with a 2-3 pin plug. Most modern electronics now will handle both 110 and 240v, just look at the plug and it should say. 

ll you will need is to use your electronics here is a plug converter which you can get at online or at airports.

Travel tip: purchase one converter and pack a power strip from home to charge all your electronics.

With the weather notoriously unpredictable it’s said that New Zealand can have four seasons in one day. As it can snow and rain any time of year it’s important you bring quality waterproof clothing that’s warm and well fitting.

  • February and March: Summer with temperatures between 40-80° F (5-25°C)
  • April and May: Autumn with temperatures between 32-65° F (0-20°C)
  • June and July: Winter with temperatures between 20-60° F (-5-15°C)

Yes, we recommend Ripcord Rescue Travel Protection’s comprehensive travel protection plan

Most visitors it seems spend additional time touring beautiful New Zealand. This is easy to do, however our lodge is filled with the next group of hunters. We are happy to make recommendations and arrangements based on your interests.

We can recommend qualified travel agencies to assist our guests.

If you book flights on your own, please let us review prior to booking. The international date line can easily goof up plans.

After The Hunt

No, Export documents and final trophy care won’t be complete till post hunt.

It takes approximately 90-days for your trophies to arrive at your nearest designated port of entry. When you hunt with us, you’ll need to bring your taxidermist information with you so we can process your paperwork for export of your trophies after your hunt.

We deliver your trophies to our third-party supplier who completes trophy prep, crating, documents and coordinates directly with you for payments and delivery information.

Taking meat home from New Zealand can be difficult and very expensive. It is possible.

Rest assured no meat goes to waste and our private chef prepares game meat for you to try during your stay.

Taxidermy is and art form and not everyone likes the same. With this being said here are a few we like.

  • NZ Taxidermy, LTD – New Zealand
  • The Wildlife Gallery – USA
  • TaxTrophy – Spain

Gratuities are much appreciated by the staff.

The usual Gratuities run around 10% of the total hunt value with it being split 2/3 to the guide and 1/3 to the lodge staff. This is an indication of what is typical only and gratuities are totally at the discretion of the hunter and/or guest.

Yes, New Zealand’s GST (Goods and Service Tax) rate is 15%.

GST is included in our published prices.

Fishing

The main trout fly fishing season opens on the 1st October and runs through until the end of April.

Here is the best time to try and catch them:

  • Black marlin – comparatively rare, best sea fishing in New Zealand off the East Coast north of East Cape from January to April.
  • Broadbill – a rare but prized catch, widespread in midwater and usually offshore, best fishing from November to March.
  • Hammerhead shark – regularly enters New Zealand’s northern waters in summer. Other sharks such as bronze whalers and tiger can also be caught.
  • Mako shark – ranges from north to the bottom of the South Island but most abundant in the North Island, particularly the far north. With a streamlined body, it is a powerful fighter and spectacular leaper, best sea fishing in New Zealand in summer.
  • Pacific blue marlin – more rare in New Zealand, best sea fishing in New Zealand off the East Coast north of East Cape from February to April.
  • Striped marlin – New Zealand has reputedly the largest marlin in the world and many world records to prove it. Best fishing off the East Coast north of East Cape from December to June.
  • Thresher shark – a prized game fish most common from East Cape northwards but can range as far south as Cook Strait.
  • Yellowfin tuna – powerful fighter mainly on the East Coast north of East Cape. Whakatane is a noted yellowfin tuna base, best fishing from December to April.
  • Yellowtail – known in New Zealand as kingfish, ranges from North Island to northern South Island and sometimes further south. A powerful fighter reaching top weight of over 50 kilograms (120 pounds). Can be taken by land-based game fishing. Fishing all year round in the north, but mainly November to May in the Marlborough Sounds.

In established sport fishing bases, such as the Bay of Islands, Mayor Island, Whakatane, Tutukaka, near Whangarei and Tauranga, charters are readily available, supplying equipment, tackle, bait and refreshments.

Both day and overnight trips can be arranged, charters range from NZ$700 to $1000 a day. Charter trips have also been introduced out of Milford Sound in Fiordland, the Marlborough Sounds (Havelock) and Kaikoura regions of the South Island. North Island charters are also available from Napier, Gisborne and New Plymouth.

New Zealand, an anglers paradise, was put on the big-game fishing map after a visit by legendary American writer Zane Grey in the 1920’s. New Zealand saltwater fishing catches vary by location, from tuna and shark around Fiordland, to snapper and kingfish in the Marlborough Sounds.

The far north, around the Bay of Islands has great New Zealand saltwater fishing, ranging from marlin, kingfish and sporting kahawai, with terakihi available around most of the New Zealand coastline. Kahawai, an express speedster and leaper, when hooked will take with abandon a fly cast from a boat or river mouth. Other fish species such as skipjack, tuna and trevally can give spectacular sport too.

Varies widely throughout the season based on many factors, weather pattern, season, client skill, etc.

Depending upon the type of fishing you’re going to do, depends upon gear guide has available. Fly-fishing we recommend you pack your own rod/reel.

Yes, we can tailor fishing based on tackle requests.

Yes, Peak fly fishing is November – April.

Dry fly peak is December with cicada hatch

Hunt the trophies you’ve been dreaming of