Our Story

A now Taupō institution, Chris Jolly Outdoors was founded in 1980 by its namesake, Chris Jolly and his wife Sue. 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 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 boasts 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.

On 30 August 2019, Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board entered into a partnership with Simon and Katie Jolly to jointly own and operate Chris Jolly Outdoors. The investment by Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board supports the Board’s strategic aspirations to be more actively involved in Lake Taupō. Ultimately, the desire of Tūwharetoa is to have a stronger Māori offering on Lake Taupō whilst providing more employment opportunities. Simon and Katie Jolly were both thrilled to be able to bring the family business into the Ngāti Tūwharetoa whanau. Chris Jolly Outdoors is a Gold Qualmark operator. We are also an Orvis-endorsed partner in New Zealand.

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Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Governance members of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board are elected from and by Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board beneficiaries aged 18 years and over. The Board consists of up to ten Board Members and a Board Secretary. Each member is appointed for a term of three years.

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.

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? Book Now to start your journey

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.

"Share and celebrate the adventure and wonder in nature" - Orvis

Reliable and experienced

After forty years in the industry, Chris Jolly Outdoors is like coming home to someone you can trust:

  • We’re a family just like you (headed by Simon Jolly with a number of the clan in the team)
  • We’re fishing, hiking, boating, biking, bush experts with long term staff who can teach you a lot about the Taupō region.
  • Experienced tour guides lead Māori Rock Carving Cruises.
  • Gold Qualmark rated (5 star rating NZ)
  • Orvis endorsed for fly fishing excellence with crystal water
  • Specialists in corporate, entertainment and bespoke itineraries in Taupō’s Outdoors.
  • Partners with Ngāti Tūwharetoa (TMGH) with a focus on growing Māori Tourism for Taupō

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

Get in touch today to book your next adventure

Tongariro River Trail Martyn Davies

What we offer

  • Four private charter boats for small or large functions with full catering/bar/fishing equipment and your personal crew
  • Exclusive land, private water and a tonne of experience
  • Specialists in the outdoors – fly fishing, hiking, biking, hunting activities and pretty much any activity that you wish to hold in the outdoors (land or water)
  • Corporate events & team building
  • Venue hire on the water – whatever it is, from Nana Beryl’s 80th to your Christmas party, we can make it happen

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.”


Chris Jolly hunting in bush binoculars

Simon Jolly

The 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.


Director Simon Edited Pixlr

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.



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.

Our Partners 2

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.

Our Partners 3

Destination Great Lake 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.

Our Values

Unparalleled hospitality/

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.


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.

We love what we do/Aroha

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.


We are resilient and innovative/Aumangea

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.

We are proactive and not reactive.

Legacy / tiaki

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.

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

Protecting the environment

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

  • No plastic straws
  • No single PCU’s on our boats
  • No smoking policy on our public cruise to the Māori Rock Carvings
  • We recycle
  • We use enviro-friendly cleaning products
  • We use the right channels to dispose of greywater
  • Our lunches are bio-wrapped
  • Our rubbish is taken out of the environment on guided trips
  • We are working towards becoming paperless
  • We are working towards eliminating single serve plastics
  • 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’s to get out on the Lake, inspiring the future generations to look after Lake Taupō.
  • We educate you 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 gateway college students opportunities to experience the tourism industry
  • We partner with Service IQ to offer free education upskilling to all of our staff

Chris Jolly Outdoors is the place to be, get in touch to get on board with your next adventure


The Cruise To Plant Project

Chris Jolly Outdoors is committed to planting trees in an effort to protect and enhance Aotearoa’s natural environment. All passengers on Chris Jolly Outdoors scenic cruises will have a dollar from their ticket price go towards the planting project with The Opepe Farm Trust. This is one of the first planting initiatives for Chris Jolly with the future goals being to offset the boat charter service and to become carbon neutral. The partnership with The Opepe Farm Trust will help to ensure that the right trees are planted for sustainability. The Trust is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations and has the knowledge and expertise to guide the project. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against climate change and help to preserve our natural environment.

Have a closer look at our initiative

Your Taupō Activity Partner

As the trusted activity partner for things to do in Taupō for forty years, Chris Jolly Outdoors will take care of you during your stay here.  From absolute relaxation and fishing crystal pools to exciting hikes in the wilderness; we are the go-to guides to tick off that bucket list.

In Taupō, the possibilities are truly endless. But one thing is sure; we will create a memorable experience for you that you’ll treasure forever.  Put yourself in the picture with us, and book with us today.

More about us

What We Offer

  • Five private charter boats for small or large functions up to 140 pax with full catering/bar/fishing equipment and an exclusive personal crew
  • Access to private land, water and know-how of local’s secret spaces
  • Corporate events & team building.

Reliable and Experienced

  • We’re a family headed by Chris’s son Simon Jolly with a number of the Jolly clan still working within the team
  • We’re a bunch of fishing, hiking, boating, biking, and bush experts with experienced staff who can teach you a lot about the Taupō region.
  • We’ve spent forty years in the industry taking care of people’s holidays.

Our Qualifications

  • Gold Qualmark rated (5 star rating NZ)
  • Our Fly fishing guides are Orvis endorsed, a globally recognised mark of excellence
  • Partners with Ngāti Tūwharetoa (TMGH) with a focus on growing Māori Tourism for Taupō


Contact Us

in New Zealand

phone Icon073780623

from overseas

phone Icon+64 7 378 0623

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