Luxury Adventures are doing a series of interviews with some of our key suppliers looking at the different aspects of their lives and how these influence the experiences they offer. Spray Point Station is a private homestead/cottage offering an authentic New Zealand experience that we highly recommend. Spray Point is located very much off the beaten track, set on the banks of the Spray River in the rugged and beautiful Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand.
What types of animals are our customers likely to see and shoot in your location and generally in the South Island? The animals customers are most likely to see and shoot around Spray Point Station are red and fallow deer, wild boar and feral goats. We also arrange hunts for tahr, chamois and wallaby further South, along with night time spotlighting for rabbits, hares and possums.
Do you offer trophy heads or are your animals mainly for meat? We offer typical NZ free range heads during the roar in March-April which are generally 8-12 points. We do not stock our place with game park animals. During the rest of the year we can offer trophy goats and animals suitable for meat hunters.
Most of the hunting in New Zealand is very much fair chase is that the case on your property? Totally fair chase hunting, we have a large population of animals on big country but as most hunters will be aware, you need to earn your animal and there are no guarantees.
What on average is the cost of hunting per day at Spray Point Station? Cost of hunting at Spray Point depends on what level of service clients want and the animals they choose to hunt, however hunting costs normally start around NZ$1,000 per day for accommodation, meals, guiding and a management meat animal and increase depending on what game is targetted.
Can customers bring their own firearms into the country or can you supply a rifle matched to the choice of game? It is possible for clients to bring their own firearms into the country if they obtain a tourist firearm permit beforehand. Alternatively we can supply a range of firearms and ammunition for convenience.
What do you consider an ideal calibre for hunting at Spray point? What do you use? I use a .222 for hunting here due to it’s flat shooting over long distances. We have 243’s and a 25-06 for clients to use. Anything between 243 and 30-06 is fine. Shooting distances can range from 50m to 350m if you are confident.
We’re quite fortunate in New Zealand not to have regulated seasons for hunting game (excluding upland game birds). You’re allowed to hunt all year round – based on this when do you consider it the best time to hunt at your property and the south Island in general? I personally prefer autumn when things are cooling down a bit and the stags are roaring. We have lovely autumn colours as a backdrop and settled weather. Spring is also a good time for finding a meat animal as yearlings are moving around a lot on good feed.
The rut approximately starts around late March or April dependent on where you are and what the animal is – Its generally considered the most exciting time to go hunting but can also be the most dangerous time due to other hunters. I assume hunting on your property means you are the only ones in your block? Our property covers 3 separate valleys and 33 square kms and hunters have the exclusive use of this area. South Island hunting is generally less dangerous than the North Island due to more open country and better visibility. There are also a lot less hunters. For further information about firearms and firearms safety in New Zealand please see the New Zealand Arms Code which was compiled by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council and the New Zealand Police.
Can you explain what a days hunting on your property entails? We have a 300m rifle range so guests can site their rifles on arrival. We tend to initially take guests out hunting feral goats on mountain tops to get into the swing of things and reduce nerves, then an early start before daylight the next day climbing up looking for deer through semi-open scrub covered steep terrain. After a successful hunt we help guests butcher their catch and run an outdoor hot tub for them to relax and relive their adventure. A game menu is available for dinner.
Spray Point is a large and diverse property offering a lot more than just hunting. Can you tell me what other outdoor opportunities lie in store for our guests?
- Guests at our Cob Quarters absolutely love relaxing in hot outdoor baths perched on a clifftop edge of the Waihopai River under a pitch black starlit sky. Both Cob Quarters and Boundary Creek Cabin have hot outdoor riverbank showers with amazing settings and views. Stocked with a range of toiletries, bubblebath and candles, these are a real winner for honeymoons, anniversaries and special birthdays. We now also offer a mobile massage service at a very reasonable rate.
- All meals, including picnic lunches can be delivered to the Cob Quarters.
- In summer families especially, enjoy swimming in the crystal clear rivers – we blow up tractor tubes, drop everyone in the river, then collect them a couple of kms downstream. In autumn, guests enjoy picking wild field mushrooms after rain or later on wild blackberries.
- For those keen on horses, a selection of mares and foals can be found at Spray Point and Jimminy Cricket, the children’s Timorese pony with a wild hairdo is happy to offer complimentary rides. For parent’s wanting some time out we offer child minding, keeping your little ones entertained with our farmyard animals and playing with our own children.
- There is a selection of 4×4 trips around the station available with options to drop off and walk or mountain bike home for those wanting an easier day. Trampers have several options and for those wanting to travel in style, a local helicopter company will take you and a Michelin trained chef to our picnic table on the top of Mt Stronvar for lunch. We also partner with local trout fishing guides and a 6th generation Marlborough Sounds local for an incredible sea fishing and diving expedition which brings home a catch including blue cod, mussels, crayfish and sometimes grouper.
- Some guests enjoy finding out about the farming side of our operation, while stockwork in our woolshed co-exists with Roland’s extensive personal trap collection. We also have a 1000ha QEII covenant which is the third largest private conservation area in the top of the South Island and guided nature tours explaining the unique biodiversity of the region can be arranged.
- Marlborough’s wineries and restuarants are an easy day trip away and the interesting drive up the Waihopai Valley shows changing landuse from farming to viticulture and forestry. Points to note along the way, include a memorial site for the Delta army camp where thousands of troops were stationed during WWII, a US satellite spy base and NZ’s oldest functioning power dam built in the 1930’s.
- Both sides of the Mapp family have lived in Marlborough for many generations and local knowledge combined with a genuine love of nature and enthusiasm for sharing this offers guests a unique experience when staying at “Off the Mapp”.
Do you base the hunts from the main property or do you stay over night in bush? We base hunts from either the Boundary Creek Cabin or Cob Quarters accommodations. For those wishing to have an even more remote experience we can arrange a helicopter drop off to a mountain campsite surrounded by native beech forest in the centre of the property.
Concerning international guests, what paperwork will they need other than their firearms licence issued from their own? Overseas hunters need to have a Visitors Firearms Permit which you can complete here. Permits to export trophies are arranged via the taxidermist we use and recommend.
What level of fitness do you need to hunt at Spray Point Station – is there a lot of walking and how would you describe the terrain? Terrain involves big climbs and rugged landscapes. Hunters are rewarded for their effort with spectacular alpine views across the top of the South Island and a uniquely authentic NZ hunting experience they will remember for a lifetime. Plenty of animals are seen every day, however stalking in close enough for a clear shot is challenging and can take several days to earn a trophy. Helicopter options are also available for easier access into remote country so we are able to cater hunts to all levels of fitness at Off the Mapp.
Tony Townley is a luxury lifestyle specialist and owner of Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.