Our Story

Inspired by a youth spent learning the ropes of fishing, and a desire to share local adventure with our guests, Chris Jolly Outdoors was founded in 1980 by its namesake, Chris Jolly, with his wife Sue.

Our family and team has always had a love of the great outdoors in Taupō, New Zealand and sharing that with people like you has been a dream realised for Chris and Sue. Chris Jolly Outdoors has expanded into an array of offerings, from scenic cruises on Lake Taupō, private charters & corporate events, fishing trips, and hiking & biking trips with some of the region’s most experienced and passionate guides.

Chris & Sue owned and operated Chris Jolly Outdoors until 2017, when their son Simon and his wife Katie purchased the business, so rest assured, it’s all still in the family! The business has since become an Orvis Endorsed partner for our fly fishing trips, and recieved recognition as a Gold Qualmark operator, and frequently showcased as a highly rated Trip Advisor Travellers Choice.

On 30 August 2019, Chris Jolly Outdoors entered into a partnership with Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board (TMTB) to jointly own and operate the business. This investment supported the TMTB’s strategic aspirations to be more actively involved in Lake Taupō, and the region’s tourism. Simon and Katie Jolly were both thrilled to be able to bring the family business into the Ngāti Tūwharetoa whanau and support TMTB’s goals.

Get out of the city, head up, or down (or fly across depending) and let Chris Jolly Outdoors help you chill out, whichever way suits you best.

The best fly fishing spots in Tongariro are just a raft trip away with Chris Jolly Outdoors!
Chris Jolly Charter Boat Lake Taupo

Our Partners

We hold hands with the best in the country. Trusted businesses who value quality and your customer experience at the top of their priority. Our union with Tuwharetoa Trust Board (TMGH) represents our company’s focus on creating a legacy for tourism in the region. If you feel you are aligned with our values, please get in touch. Let’s create an amazing experience together.

Tmtb Logo Black

Ngāti Tūwharetoa

The Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board was established and first members of the Trust Board were appointed on the 15th November 1926. The Trust Board is committed to maintaining and enhancing the health and wellbeing of Taupō Waters and enabling Ngāti Tūwharetoa to achieve our social, cultural, environmental and economic aspirations.

We are kaitiaki of our moana and awa. For generations Ngāti Tūwharetoa have held and maintained mana whenua within the Taupō catchment. The intrinsic relationship alongside our ownership rights, weaves the whāriki by which the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board are kaitiaki over Taupō Moana and Awa.

Cjo Partners Orvis Endorsed


Orvis is the trusted source of discovery and adventure in the natural world. They are a fly-fishing and wingshooting brand, inspired by nature, driven by curiosity, and fulfilled by adventure.

Cjo Partners Huka Lodge

Huka Lodge

Offering elegance and refinement, Huka Lodge takes pride in being one of the top luxury lodges in New Zealand. Its luxury accommodation in Taupō endears itself to discerning luxury travellers in New Zealand.

Cjo Partners Love Taupo

Love Taupō

Love Taupō / Destination Great Lake Taupō (DGLT) is the Regional Tourism Organisation for the Taupō district. DGLT market the Taupō region to domestic and international markets.

Lake Taupo Charter Chris Jolly Outdoors Cruise Cat

Why Choose a Chris Jolly Experience?

Chris Jolly Outdoors is a family-run business who are lucky enough to have the stunning Lake Taupō as its ‘office’, we are stoked that this is our day job, and it shows on our faces every single day. Choose us, and our enthusiasm for this big blue gentle beast will rub off on you within the first three seconds of being out on that water. We have Orvis Certified guides whose passion is unrivalled, and whose aim in life is to get you as invested in NZ’s great outdoors as they are. We have a superior range of activities across land and lake and can accommodate anyone from your youngest to your great-grandma Doris. Choose us and we will choose you right back every single time because you are the reason we get to keep this day job of ours, let us show you our gratitude, c’mon get on board.

Feel like an adventure? Contact us to start your bespoke journey.

Get in touch >

Maori Rock Carvings from boat lake taupo

Our Amazing Team

Chris Jolly Outdoors is built on an amazing team of people, who wake up every day, excited that their ‘office’ is NZ’s Great Lake Taupō. The charter boats are top-notch, just like the team who runs them, therefore by choosing Chris Jolly Outdoors, you are choosing to have a damn good day.

Taupō is pretty lucky that its backyard is filled with native bush, clear waters (helpfully filled with tasty trout for the taking) and wide-open spaces ready for you to enjoy.

The crew are very accommodating and the service is excellent. I enjoyed the whole trip with my family.

 – Raymon Q

Chris Jolly hunting in bush binoculars

Chris Jolly

The Founder

As a young child fly fishing the shores and small stream mouths, I began to develop an affinity with my surroundings that has lasted a lifetime. My parents were not fishermen or outdoor sports people but loved the area for other reasons, and I had to go through the rather painful process of teaching myself to fish but I was never happier than when marching along the beach to Mission Point or nearby with a rod in hand and full of expectation.

How fortunate was I some twenty years later to find myself and my family living nearby the Lake, spending many memorable evenings after work anchored at the mouth of the Tauranga Taupō river amongst local Maori fishermen, many of whom would be friends for life.

The fun and reward in coming up with new and exciting products are limited only by imagination, guiding guests with a sense of adventure to experience the authentic kiwi outdoors. Let us create your outdoor experience of a lifetime.



Director Simon Jolly With Trout

Simon Jolly

General Manager

My history has always been about adventure.  I spent my youth with either a rod or rifle, skis or scuba in hand, which developed my love and need for the outdoors.  I started working on boats from the tender age of 12, (trying to impress the adults with my bartending skills) and growing up in Taupo was something special.

As soon as I was old enough I sat my skippers ticket and I’m sure many clients were amused ( if not bemused) by an 18-year-old driving the party boat and singing karaoke, doing everything possible to ensure the clients had an amazing time with us on the Lake.

Having spent 20+ years as a deer hunting guide, thousands of hours chasing game fish and diving around the Pacific, or being in one of the many spectacular rivers fly fishing, my passion has always been about being out in the open. Being able to share my love of the outdoors with everyone and the people I love is just so special.

Why explore with Chris Jolly Outdoors?

After forty years in the industry, Chris Jolly Outdoors is like coming home

Fishing off the Levante with Chris Jolly Outdoors

Reliable & Experienced

  • We’re a family business, with a tight knit crew
  • Our crew are fishing, hiking, boating, biking and bush experts
  • Armed with extensive knowledge, we love to teach you about the Taupō region
  • Experienced tour guides lead Māori Rock Carving Cruises
  • Gold Qualmark rated for tourism excellence
  • Our fly fishing guides are Orvis Endorsed for the best experience in the rivers
  • Specialists in corporate, entertainment and bespoke itineraries
  • Partners with Ngāti Tūwharetoa with a focus on growing Māori Tourism
Tongariro River Trail Martyn Davies

What We Offer

  • Smooth scenic cruises multiple times a day to the incredible Ngātoroirangi Māori Rock Carvings
  • Five private charter boats for small or large functions with full catering and bar, fishing equipment and your personal crew
  • Exclusive access to land and private water for guided hiking, hunting, biking and fly fishing
  • Guides with a tonne of experience and local best kept secrets
  • Corporate events and team building
  • Floating classroom trips to teach our tamariki about Lake Taupō
  • Venue hire on the water – whatever it is, from Nana Beryl’s 80th to your Christmas party, we can make it happen!

“Staff are super friendly with heaps of knowledge and the actual trip itself is breathtaking right from the start!

– Jen H

Our Values


Manaakitanga  –  Unparalleled hospitality

Our customers are key.

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. We respect and care for each and every client, making sure that we act with the highest level of professionalism and integrity in all of our interactions. We always deliver our experiences with smiles, enthusiasm, knowledge, fun and passion.

Nothing is a problem at Chris Jolly Outdoors and we will go above and beyond to exceed expectations every time.

Whakawhanaungatanga  –  We are family

We are all in this together.

We were founded on family values and strive to continue to nurture a sense of family/whanau in all aspects of our business – providing everyone with a sense of belonging.

We embrace our visitors as family/whanau and invite them to connect with us and our natural environment in a meaningful way that extends well beyond their very first experience.

Your wins are our wins and we celebrate together.

Aroha  –  We love what we do

We live and breathe our natural environment.

We have a natural taste for the Kiwi outdoors and pride ourselves on our unequalled knowledge, expertise and safety rating in providing experiences of a lifetime in our surrounding environment.

Our passion and love for the outdoors enable us to deliver truly authentic experiences that connect people with place.

Aumangea  –  We are resilient and innovative

We are proactive and not reactive.

We have a “never give up” mentality and adapt to any obstacles that come our way.

We are agile, always seeking new ways to continuously improve our performance.

Tiaki  –  Legacy

We are kaitiaki of our moana and awa.

We are the guardians of our environment and community, it is our duty to protect our home for generations to come.

We care for our people and place. Providing pathways for our customers and children/tamariki to connect with the outdoors and share in our collective knowledge on how to preserve our natural treasures/taonga.

We strive to positively contribute to our local economy and community – honouring the legacy on which we are founded, whilst inspiring a new generation of guardians/kaitiaki.

Owhaoko trail man hand hiking


So that our environment, wildlife and community thrive, Chris Jolly Outdoors partners with local iwi, the Department of Conservation and other eco-conscious organizations to continually improve our footprint on the earth we cherish.

Take only memories, leave only footprints and the experience will be preserved for future generations.  Chris Jolly Outdoors is working daily to make Lake Taupō a ‘forever destination’, that your children and children’s children will be able to visit for years to come.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Protecting the environment

Because we care about the beautiful place we live and work in, we have brought in these measures:

  • We do not use plastic straws, cutlery or PCU plastics on our cruises
  • We are working towards eliminating single serve plastics
  • Our lunches are bio-wrapped
  • No smoking policy on our public Māori Rock Carvings cruises
  • We recycle as much as possible
  • We use enviro-friendly cleaning products
  • We use the right channels to dispose of greywater
  • Rubbish is taken out of the environment on guided trips
  • We are working towards becoming paperless
  • Our carbon footprint programme gives guests an opportunity to give back
  • Our guides educate all guests on how to care for our environment

Lake Taupo Stream in New Zealand connecting to a river bed full of trout popular for fly fishing

The Central Plateau New Zealand

Protecting our community

The people that make up the thriving community of Taupō are very important to us.

  • We regularly donate to local schools and charities to help with fundraising
  • Our education programme offers heavily discounted tickets to all schools & ECE providers to get out on the Lake, inspiring the future generations to look after Lake Taupō
  • We provide education about the region with authentic Māori cultural and environmental information
  • We partner with Te Puni Kōkiri to offer cadetships for rangatahi as a springboard into Māori tourism careers
  • We offer local college students gateway opportunities to experience the tourism industry
  • We partner with Service IQ to offer free education upskilling to all of our staff
Cruise And Plant Project Chris Jolly Updated

Every cruise raises funds to plant trees in our community.

Explore the Cruise & Plant initiative

Sound like a bit of you? Contact us today.


Let’s plan your trip

What We Offer

  • Private charter boats with catering/bar/fishing equipment and crew
  • Access to private land, water and know-how of local’s secret spaces
  • Functions, corporate events & team building

Reliable & Experienced

  • Over forty years in the central North Island tourism industry
  • We’re a family business, with local Taupō knowledge
  • Our staff are experienced adventure experts

Adventure Qualified

  • 5 Star Rated Gold Qualmark
  • Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guides
  • Trip Advisor’s Travellers Choice 2023
  • Partnered with Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Your Taupō Activity Partner

From beautiful lake views, to fishing crystal pools, to scenic hikes in the central North Island wilderness; Chris Jolly Outdoors are the go-to guides to tick off that bucket list.

In Taupō, the adventure possibilities are truly endless. We guarantee one thing – we’ll create a memorable experience for you that you’ll treasure forever.

Enquire Now

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