The Waimarie Riverboat in Wanganui City, New Zealand, is a popular tourist attraction. The steam paddleboat travels the Whanganui River[ from Wanganui to Upokongaro and back. The distance is approximately 13 kilometers and takes about two hours total. On weekends and holidays the trip takes an hour longer since cruisers are invited to disembark in Upokongaro and take a stroll around the town.
About the Waimarie Riverboat in Wanganui City
The riverboat, also called the PS Waimarie, was built in London in 1899. The Wanganui Setters River Steamship Company operated the boat, then called the Aotea, for its first three years. Then, it sold the boat to Alexander Hatrick in 1902. Hatrick renamed it the Waimarie, which means peaceful waters.
The boat served 50 years as a transport ship, carrying both mail, cargo and passengers up and down the Wanganui River. In 1949, its service ended, and in 1952 the boat sank while docked. The vessel wasn't salvaged until 1993, when it was taken to the Whanganui Riverboat Centre for repairs and restoration. On January 1, 2000, it was recommissioned and put back in service as a tour steamer.
About the Cruise
The cruise is designed to be low-key, allowing guests to kick back and enjoy the scenic New Zealand countryside. Guests can check out the engine room and even volunteer to help operate the ship. They can also enjoy hors d'oeuvres, tea, coffee and assorted alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages while on board.
The ship can accommodate up to 150 passengers and six crew members at one time. Children under five receive free admission, and children between ages of five and 15 can travel at a discounted price. You can also get a discounted family price for a group of two adults and one to four children. Children that qualify for free admission must have a ticket, and all tickets must be issued 20 minutes before the cruise is scheduled to leave.
The Waimarie Riverboat in Wanganui City operates between the end of October and the end of April, essentially encompassing the spring and summer months in New Zealand. Most cruises leave at 2 p.m., but morning cruises are occasionally offered.
Booking Your Cruise
You can schedule your cruise online at the Whangui Riverboat Centre website. Fill in your name and contact information on the online form, as well as the date you would like to travel and your party size, and a representative will get in touch with you. You can also stop by the Centre to purchase tickets in person.
If you have a group of 30 or more people, you can arrange a specialty cruise by calling +64-6-347-1863 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It's best to plan several weeks ahead of time. Options include a lunch cruise, a dinner cruise and a barbecue cruise. You can also arrange for musical entertainment.
Before or after your cruise, be sure to check out the Riverboat Museum. It has pictures of the steamer before and after it was salvaged, as well as riverboat artifacts and more. A guide is also on hand to answer any questions you may have. In addition, you can purchase souvenirs of your journey at the museum's gift shop.