Guided Hiking Adventures with Chris Jolly Outdoors

Step into some of the most exclusive and untouched areas of wilderness in New Zealand. As Gold Qualmark qualified partners, Chris Jolly Outdoors has access to 10,000 acres of pristine nature walks, untouched by the concrete ravages of the modern world. Choose between alpine hiking through volcanic fields and tall ridgelines, dense bush hiking through native flora, or bird watching hikes to experience New Zealand’s birdsong. Our adventure-loving guides love getting lost in the wilderness, listening to the birds move through the trees, and talking tall tales with a glass of red under the stars.

Trip Highlights

The beauty of untouched New Zealand, in your choice of setting.

What’s Provided

Experienced guide with safety equipment, just in case. Optional catering. Depending on the hike, we may supply binoculars and day packs.


  •  We recommend guests select a hike suitable for their fitness levels.

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Experience the New Zealand Wilderness with our Expert Hiking Guides

Person after a guided hiking experience on top of Mount Tauhara New Zealand

Choose your Guided Hiking Tour

  • Bespoke guided hiking through alpine areas, the volcanic Central Plateau, and dense New Zealand bush.
  • Bird watching focused hikes available
  • Tailor the hike to your skill and fitness level
  • Exclusive guided access to spots unavailable to the public

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Our Favourite Hikes

The Ōpepe Hike

3 km return | Approx 90 min | Low fitness

An adventure for the flora and fauna enthusiast through an area steeped in New Zealand Wars history. There is a great variety of native New Zealand birds and stunning native forests to be explored at a gentle leisurely pace.

Marvel at nearly 30m-high rimu amongst the lush podocarp forest. In it’s heyday, Ōpepe was a bustling township with an Armed Constabulary stockage, and was the scene of a skirmish between European militia and Māori fighers led by Te Kooti in June 1869.

Lake Rotopounamu Hike

5 km loop | Approx 2 hrs | Medium fitness

Nestled on  the side of Mt Pihanga towards the southern end of Lake Taupō, the Lake Rotopounamu, meaning ‘greenstone lake’ in Māori, is a special place for both tree lovers and birdwatchers alike.

Formed by a giant landslide 10,000 years ago, the uphill trail flattens out into a walk circling the lake through stunning native bush showcases one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. This hike has numerous picnic and rest spots, and the lake is suitable for swimming in.

Waipakihi Hike

7 km | Approx 5 hr hike, allow 8hrs | High fitness

Take a spectacular 45 minute helicopter tour to a mountain hut via Lake Taupō and the Tongariro National Park. From there we will take you on a guided hike through alpine high country with beautiful vistas of Lake Taupō and the mountains.

The hike then dips into the bush line with beech forests to explore on your way down to the Tongariro River.  Your guide will drive the party back to Taupō, an approximately 40 minute journey via Tūrangi and the eastern shores of Lake Taupō on State Highway 1.

Share and celebrate the adventure and wonder in nature.

Towards Upper Tama Lake

What to Bring

  • We recommend you carry a day-pack each with a sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, raincoat and over-trousers, warm polar fleece or woolen pullover (essential even in summer), warm polar fleece or woolen hat.
  • The best-dressed walkers wear shirts made of modern synthetic fibres or wool that move moisture away from the skin, and won’t get cold when wet.
  • Shorts, thermal long johns, or lightweight walking trousers are best to wear during the day and wool or polypropylene socks are best.
  • Remember, cotton is not your friend on a hike.
  • Sturdy hiking boots are the best footwear to cope with the uneven terrain and are essential if there is any snow lying on the track but on shorter walks a good pair of trail shoes with grip are suitable.
Hiking on New Zealand's Alpine ridge lines guided by Chris Jolly

Guided Alpine Hikes

There are a number of exciting mountainous hikes in the Central Plateau of New Zealand. Taupō’s volcanic region is famous for its lunar landscapes of pumice and azure sulphuric lakes. Frozen lava flows that have long since cooled swirl their patterns down the rugged inclines of the three volcanoes, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.

Choose your level from novice to expert and let our guides lead the way.

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Enjoy the incredible beauty of our backyard and explore all that the Central Plateau offers.

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I book a trip with Chris Jolly Outdoors?

You can book a trip with Chris Jolly Outdoors by either calling us on +64 7 378 0623, emailing us at or filling out the form to make an enquiry. If you want to book a cruise to the Māori Rock carvings, head over to the experience page to book direct.

Do you have transport available?

Yes. Some of our trips include transfers but we can arrange helicopter or road transfers from anywhere in the country.  Our guided fishing adventures have heli transfer options, with our grounds being either a 90 minute drive or a 25 minute flight from Taupo CBD.

Are there any native birds around Taupō?

Tuī, pīwakawaka and korimako are amongst the beautiful birds that serenade lake Taupō’s verdant native bush. If you’re looking for a bird watching trip, let us know when you book!

Does it get cold in Taupō?

Taupō’s temperature can vary between lows of 0°C to highs of 15°C in winter, with icy winds coming straight off the Central Plateau mountains. It is best to pack woolly layers and definitely a wind/waterproof jacket. In summer, temps vary from lows of 10°C to highs of 30°C, so you’ll definitely need to bring water and sunscreen!

Does anything dangerous live in or around Lake Taupō?

No, Taupō, and New Zealand, in general does not have any native or imported predators. There are very small poisonous spiders called the whitetail and katipo, but a quick GP visit and some antibiotics after a bite and you’ll be right as rain.

What clothing is best for hiking in Taupō?

Conditions are changeable in Taupō, so it’s best to be prepared! The locals joke that Taupō can have four seasons in a day!

  • Hiking boots with good ankle support and grip, or other sturdy footwear
  • Sun hat or warm beanie – pack one and wear the other
  • Sunglasses – wear or pack, NZ has harsh sunlight
  • Gloves in polypropylene/wool – wear or pack for winter
  • Socks in polypropylene or wool (a spare pair is always a good idea)

Layer up your clothes:

  • Base layer – top and leggings in polypropylene/wool, quick dry shorts or pants
  • Mid layer – long-sleeved top in wool or polar fleece – wear or pack depending on the weather
  • Exterior layer – Wind and waterproof jacket with hood – wear or pack depending on the weather (waterproof overtrousers optional)
What should I bring when hiking in Taupō?

The Essentials

  • Day pack with a waterproof liner
  • Drink bottle –  2 litres of water per day you will be out.
  • Packed lunch and snacks – if you are coming on a guided hike with us, we can cater your hike
  • Fully charged mobile phone ­
  • Personal medication, eg antihistamines, asthma inhalers
  • Extra base layer and socks
  • Rubbish bag
  • Map of the area you’ll be walking – if you are being guided you will not need this, we will direct you

Emergency equipment:

Our guides carry the following items

  • Basic first aid kit including hand sanitiser, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Head torch/torch and spare batteries in case you take longer than intended
  • Survival blanket to keep you warm in an emergency
  • Whistle in case your split up or need help
  • Extra high energy snack food

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