“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Fun Professionalism Integrity
Creating experiences Gratitude Innovation
Chris Jolly Outdoors, Escape… Explore… Experience…
Chris Jolly Outdoors is Lake Taupo’s premier outdoor experience operator and have been operating on and around Lake Taupo for almost 40 years. Started in 1980 by Chris and Sue Jolly, the company has expanded from a simple fishing operation with two staff, to a major outfitter in the North Island.
Owned by Simon and Katie Jolly since 2017, with a focus on making the Taupo District the ultimate destination for the outdoors; Chris Jolly Outdoors employ 25 staff in summer and over 25 contractors. It is now the largest outdoor operation in the region, offering every experience you can imagine in the outdoors.
Highlights of the company include:
- We are a family run business that focusses on creating the best experience for you in the outdoors
- Gold Qualmark rated and constantly ranked as one of the top activities on Trip Advisor
- Professional and qualified staff in all areas of our business
- We pride ourselves on creating unique experiences, and can work to your budget
- Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and conservation) is our main value – we don’t do straws, recycle and use environmentally friendly products in all of our operations
- Exclusive provider for Huka Lodge and other high end lodges
- Relationships with over 100 major international wholesalers
- The only provider in the North Island to have an international Orvis endorsement
- The only tourist activity on the Lake promoting cultural tours
- Exclusive access to 10,000 acres of native bush for hunting tours and outdoor activities
- Full commercial kitchen and brewery (creating own brand beer and cider)
- Development of survival hikes for corporate entertainment and private tours
• Four charter boats catering for 1-140 pax
• Fly fishing
• Survival hikes
• Heli hiking
• Heli fishing
• Packages which include the above tailored for clients
Along with some very loyal and long standing staff, the Chris Jolly Outdoors team are dedicated to Creating Experiences of a Lifetime and love sharing the outdoors and helping our clients make the most of beautiful Lake Taupo!
An avid fisherman, Simon has been with the company for more than 20 years. He has many strings to his bow as an operations manager, hunting guide, skipper and anything and everything in between. When he’s not sleeping, he’s enjoying the great outdoors – motocross riding, kayaking, running or fishing.
Meet our Mrs Boss Lady herself, Katie Jolly!
Katie joined the family business in 2017 alongside Simon. A busy Mum of two young children with her main background in naturopathy and nutrition, Katie is passionate about living a healthy and balanced lifestyle which can be seen and felt within the company’s staff culture.
Katie’s goal is to create a cultural and educational arm of the company where the Lake, its Whakapapa and surrounding experiences can be accessed by all ages. Katie has made such an impact in the way we are as a team here a CJO.
Founder & Chief Hunter
The man, the legend…..please meet Chris Jolly.
With hard work and dedication Chris founded CJO in 1980. With a love of fishing and hunting, Chris is the ultimate outdoorsman with a lot of his time now spent on the hunting side of the business. He wanted to show people the enjoyment they can have on the water, in the bush and out on the mountain tops.
Chris and Sue Jolly moved to Taupo from their farming business in the Manawatu to Taupo in 1978 to start a fishing – sports shop business. This led to friendships in the charter boat and heli hunting industries and before long, their first launch Facilita was purchased and Chris Jolly Outdoors started its journey. The last 35 years have been an action packed ride leading now to 5 boats on Lake Taupo, guided fly fishing, hiking, hunting and their latest product guided biking and water shuttle.
Over the years they have entertained royalty – English and Dutch, diplomats, VIP’s, movie celebrities and put together packages to suit the most discerning clientele. CJO have been the preferred outdoors supplier to Huka Lodge for more than 30 years.
Sue Jolly co-founded the business alongside her husband Chris and has built the business up to what it is today before handing over the reigns to Simon and Katie. Sue is now enjoying mountain biking, a little bit of gardening and time with her grand children.
Admin & HQ
Booking & Events Manager
Introducing our beautiful, kind and amazing, Anna! Another Jolly family member – our booking manager extraordinaire.
Anna has been with Chris Jolly Outdoors for over 25 years. In the past Anna has been in charge of all the catering as well as being an excellent crew member on our boats. She is a star, juggling all bookings from hunting enquiries to private charters. She makes it look easy, which is the opposite to what it really is.
Outside CJO, Anna is a keen Bridge player, enjoys Pilates and Mountain Biking. She is a much loved and respected member of our team. We are so lucky to have her! When you visit our main office, make sure you say hello.
Chief Cuisine Creator
Crew member and master muffin maker, Ali’s not only a dab-hand with a downrigger, she does ALL the catering for every CJO trip! Head down to the office and you’ll see her cooking up a storm and singing her heart out.
Introducing Katherine, our constantly hungry foodie with a big appetite for travel and the great outdoors! Katherine is a born and bred Singaporean and has called Taupo home for the last 6 years. She works closely with Anna in the Bookings department together with the rest of our crew members and ensures that all trips for our guests run smoothly.
In her spare time, you can find Katherine with her apron on in the kitchen testing new recipes and cooking up a storm whilst juggling time with her 2 kids who are little food critics in the making. She loves running, hiking, loves reading, researching on health and wellness, loves knitting for her loved ones and also runs an Asian Cook School in Taupo.
Originally from Germany, Isabel moved to Taupo 10 years ago and now calls Taupo home. She helps out in the office on weekends making sure everyone gets booked in on their respective activities. Her favourite activity is exploring New Zealand in her vintage pop top caravan.
Sales & Marketing
Business Development Manager
We are so stoked to have Peter Hitchman join the Chris Jolly Outdoors team. Peter will be focusing on expanding the business in other areas especially the walk offerings during the winter.
Peter comes from a survival and outdoors background having owned and operated Guided Walks New Zealand (which won Best Tour Operator in New Zealand in 2014) for 9 years before selling the company to move to Taupo.
Peter specialises in nature interpretation, with an insight to survival using edible and medicinal plants and utilising anything you may find. He was involved in a lot of survival-based film productions in New Zealand such as being the survival advisor in reality TV show RV Rampage and advising outdoors specialist Bear Grylls during his Get Out Alive shoot in New Zealand.
Peter believes that life is all about fun and loves taking people on a journey of discovery where they gain an insight on how to use the environment that they are in to survive. His favourite saying is “If you are not living life on the edge, then you’re taking up too much room.”
Websites and Digital Techy Stuff
She is fun, cute, loveable, and obsessed with food! Our beautiful, Joleen Lunjew.
Joleen is behind the computer making sure all our digital marketing promotions are reaching the right people. She keeps our website up to date and gets our e-newsletters sent out. Anything digital, she’s our girl!
Jo is also a qualified yoga instructor, making sure the team stays calm and stretched each week.
She is one fun chick, that gets along so well with everyone that she meets. We love Jo and the positive energy she brings to our work environment. Thank you for being such a beautiful human and being a ray of sunshine all the time!
Social Media & Design
She’s cute, but sassy, fun and outgoing. We would love you to meet our…. Paigey!
Name: Paige Nairn
Paige Nairn is our multi talented social media marketing guru here at CJO. She started originally crewing on the boats, so the girl can also fish, party it up with the Contiki crew and mingle with our high end clients!
Her enthusiasm for Taupo and her boundless creativity has seen a shift in the way we do things here at Chris Jolly Outdoors. The movies, photography, all things design, Instagram posts and Facebook stories are all the creations of beautiful Paige.
We value her vitality, and passion for multi media which glows in all of the work she produces for our company.
Paige is an extremely valued member of the CJO team, if we could adopt her as our own we would! Safe to say we just wouldn’t be as cool without her.
Boat Operations Manager
Pete Boyle is a Chris Jolly icon in his own right. He’s been with the team a long time, and if you don’t know something about fishing, he is the man to talk with! A much loved part of our CJO family, Pirate Pete drives all of our boats with ease. He can mingle with the finest clients and then party up with the Contiki crew. His knowledge of the hospitality industry is superb, and we are so lucky to have him as part of the Chris Jolly Outdoors team. Pete Boyle is a one in a million skipper who ensures your experience on the Lake is awesome!
Skipper & Fly Fishing Guide
One of the most kindest people you will ever meet… Paul is not only a fly fishing guide but also one of our main skippers here at CJO.
Paul’s a handy man and loves helping out when something is in need of fixing. Paul enjoys the great outdoors and knows all the best spots for fishing, hiking, camping and more.
We are so lucky to have a team member like Paul as he lives and breathes fishing, you can see and hear the love he has towards it when he tells his stories of all his past experiences.
Next time you are out on the rivers or on one of our charters, please say hello and don’t be shy to ask Paul any questions.
Skipper & Fly Fishing Guide
He was the man that brought the song baby shark to our attention weeks before it went viral. He is a man of many skills, the one, the only…….Shaun Waldram!
Skipper and fly fishing guide Shaun has been a keen fisherman all his life, starting at the age of 6 with his father in England. As an experienced fishing guide Shaun has a wealth of knowledge in the area and is able to take clients to some of the best fishing the region has to offer; by 4×4 vehicle on the local and back-country rivers, or by helicopter to the most remote spots. If your desire is to cruise the lake for a few fish or just take in the scenery, he can show you all the best spots on offer.
Also an amazing singer/guitar player, Shaun is out to showcase all of his talents. We are so lucky to have this outgoing, full of life man, as part of our team.
Make sure you say a massive hello and ask any question you may have toward fishing.
Guides & Crew
Hiking Guide & Crew
Hiking & Biking Guide
He’s a well known man in the triathlon/sports scene. We would like to introduce you to …… Mr Graham O’Grady!
Graham guides our clients through some amazing biking and hiking trails around the region. Health and fitness is his life, having raced professionally for over 15 years and coached internationally for more than a decade. Not only is Graham a guide but he crews and does boat maintenance as well.
Graham is always friendly and running around finding new tasks to take on board. He is hard working and an all round great person. We are so blessed to have him apart of the CJO family! I dare you to challenge him to a running race next time you see him down at the harbour!
Hiking & Biking Guide, Crew
He can fish, hunt, hike and bike…..his name is Erik!
Originally from The Netherlands, Erik has made Taupo his second home. He spent a lot of time in the hills hunting and hiking and has been a volunteer for Land SAR for many years. He is a keen fly fisherman and has a taste for adventure sports to keep life interesting. Erik likes spending time in the air as well as on the water.
While having been a kayak guide previously, mountain biking and hiking are his main disciplines now. When he is not working, he entertains the locals with his minimal paddle boarding skills and on rainy days can be found tinkering with his Hi-Fi equipment and music collection.
Next time you see Erik do say HELLO and ask about anything really as Erik is sure to know the answer.
Sarah started with the CJO team last summer and loves working on the boats. She holds qualifications in catering and hospitality, and her knowledge of Taupo is an asset amongst the crew. With a young family, Sarah is also active in Taupo community in local sport.
With a heart of gold, and a smile that brightens up any room. Cymry is our little trooper who joined the CJO team back on 2017. Cymry came to us after wanting to go further into the tourism industry and to learn more people skills. Cymry now loves meeting new clients, helping to create an atmosphere and seeing the clients walk off the boat with a bigger smile than her own.
She is a filleting queen and can fillet 9 trout in less then 30mins! Cymry is currently traveling around the world but we are so super excited to have her back in November (we are all very jealous of this picture).
Next time you see Cymry on one of our boats, make sure you say HELLO!
Patrick has joined the Jolly family as our international guide working between here and the USA. He’s an amazing guide and an awesome part of the CJO team. If Patrick is not guiding he’s fishing, and always keen to share his hobbies (especially fishing)…
“I like long walks on the beach. Reading leather bound books. Underwater basket weaving is my favorite hobby and I like to fish. “
Lauren moved to Taupo from Hamilton around 4 years ago. She grew up with a love for the outdoors and a passion for the lakes, rivers, oceans and bit of hiking. Lauren enjoys SUP boarding, and last season started white water SUP boarding. When not at work, you will generally find her throwing herself down a river.