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Travel and Leisure says: "Donna Thomas has explored many corners of North and South Islands in search of hidden gems. She can help birdwatchers see the endangered yellow-eyed penguin or send avid trekkers on guided hikes to secret waterfalls in Paparoa National Park."


Chris Jolly - Lake Taupo

Chris Jolly has been operating his tourism business based at Lake Taupo in the central North Island, New Zealand for more than twenty five years. Chris Jolly Outdoors has grown to become one of the best known outdoor companies in New Zealand.

The business now encompasses five large charter boats, fly fishing, hunting, guided walks, a catering division, a five seat AS 350 Squirrel turbine helicopter and a Bell 47 helicopter.

They also have a watersports division including waterskiing, wakeboarding, jetskis and self drive All the boats are equipped with a skipper and crew, galley, full bar facilities, fishing gear, music systems, flush toilets, lounge style cabins and safety equipment.

Daily scenic cruises are operated throughout the year these take in the Maori Rock Carvings, historical points of interest in Whakaipo Bay and on a clear day the majestic volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro can be seen at the Southern end of the lake.

Lake Taupo offers excellent fishing all year round and is arguably the best Rainbow Trout fishery in the world. Most fishing on the Lake takes the form of trolling with lures or flies, no bait fishing is permitted. The trout now average about five pounds and a typical excursion on the Lake will see the crew prepare your catch for a delicious luncheon or evening meal. The beautiful clear and unpolluted waters, wonderful scenery and friendly crew will inspire you to remember Lake Taupo as a destination marked for your return.

Chris Jolly's specialist fly fishing guides have the local knowledge and expertise to show the experienced angler how and where to fulfil their dreams, but they also have the patience and desire to see the novice fishermen and women enjoy their Taupo experience.

Chris Jolly helicopters have opened up the rivers of the Kaweka, Kaimanawa and Urewera ranges to the fly fishermen.

Such rivers as the Ngaruroro, Rangitikei, Mohaka, Raukituri and Waiau, to name just a few, produce brown and rainbow trout of trophy size. Helicopters are not always necessary as there are plenty of rivers that are accessible by four wheel drive. Rivers such as the Rangitaiki, Upper Waitahanui, Waipunga and the untapped waters of the King Country will provide all the necessary excitement for the land-based client.

Chris Jolly has a number of hunting options around Lake Taupo for red, sika and fallow deer, wild boar, goats and turkeys.

Most hunts can be arranged on a daily basis with 4WD transport or helicopter and fly ins with hut accommodation are also available. Chris Jolly has a number of walking options from easy walks which only require a low level of fitness. The Waipahihi Botanical Reserve is 3.5 hectares of mostly native NZ bush. Special interest walks within this reserve for azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. The Opepe Bush Walk offers nice native bush including matai, miro and rimu. A longer walk runs from Huka Falls to Aratiatia alongside the Waikato River.

Half day walks, such as the uphill walk climbing to the summit of Mt Tauhara (1088m) through mixed forest are available. This mountain is a complex volcano active last 30,000 yrs ago and the Taupo surrounds are magnificent on a clear day. Another option is Lake Rotopounamu, the ‘Greenstone Lake’ nestled on the side of Mt Pihinga to the south of Taupo, is a special place for tree lovers and birdwatchers. It was formed by a giant landslide 10,000 years ago and the walk around the lake through native bush and interesting beaches is a very enjoyable outing. The Tongariro National Park offers a walk across easy mountainous terrain to view the spectacular Taranaki falls.

Alternatively subalpine plants, tussocky country and mountain beech forest offer an interesting walk to view the terraces of the Silica Rapids and the spectacle of the surrounding mountains. There are Walk-Boat Combo options such as Kinlock to Kawakawa Bay. This walk offers glorious views over the Western bays of Lake Taupo down to the mountains of the National Park and regenerating bush and natives are features of this experience. A longer walk is the Waihaha River walk which is a good walk following the Waiahaha River through a picturesque gorge and beech trees ascending a ridge and then down again to the river. The track follows through podocarp hardwood forest and finishes at the Waihaha hut.

An exciting natural walk to the remote Taupo–Tauranga river waterfall is only suitable for experienced walkers.

There's also the Waihohonu Hut, Tongariro national park, from the desert road a moderately easy walk through tussocky land and beech forest to the historic hut used as a stop-over for stage coaches. From here you walk to view the pristine waters of Ohinepango springs.

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