All aboard for retro river and harbour cruises!

steamer boat

Queenstown has the Earnslaw; the Bay of Islands has its legendary Cream Trip. But there are more retro boat cruises than you might think in this watery land we live in. Join us as we go aboard three of them – then book your own ticket!

steamer boat

Gisborne’s M. V. Takitumu

This darling of a boat was built in Auckland 1921 (which makes it almost 100 years old!). Used by the Gisborne Harbour Board as a tug and pilot vessel, she has had 4 engine refits in her time and now cruises the Poverty Bay Harbour with a 1970 model which is ably cared for by her adoring volunteer crew and supporters. These dedicated members of The Gisborne M. V. Takitimu Charitable Trust are proud to show off the boat’s many original fixtures and fittings and to take you for a very special cruise. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Poverty Bay, and if the weather behaves itself, you’ll even tootle right up to Young Nics Head – so bring your camera! M. V. Takitimu sails at 2 pm every Sunday, beginning around the start of November and offering cruises right through until April. Because everything on the high seas is weather dependent, phone 0274749360 to check ahead. And if you’re wondering what the ‘M. V’. stands for, it’s simple – ‘Motor Vessel’!

Wanganui’s Waimarie Paddle Steamer

It’s not difficult to understand why this gracious lady has been nicknamed ‘Queen of the River’. The only coal-fired paddle steamer in the country, she was hauled from the bottom of the river in the early 1990s, restored with over 67,000 hours of volunteer labour, and is now a highlight for visitors wanting to explore the Wanganui River in comfort. Check the handy online bookings calendar, then join the vessel at Wanganui’s Waimarie Centre. Purchase a ticket for the 2-hour cruise (departing selected dates Sunday-Friday at 11 am) or the 1-hour cruise (departing selected Saturdays at 2 pm). We recommend that you board half an hour before departure to give yourself time to take in all the old world details of the boat itself, before devoting yourself to the scenery and commentary as you head out onto the river. Food and drink is available onboard. When you return to shore, explore the river’s boating history in more detail by visiting the Waimarie Museum in its historic premises.

Paeroa’s sweet paddle boat Tamati

Paddle boats don’t get any cuter than this little doll. Just 32 feet long (that’s nautical speak for just over 9.7m), she was built in 1902 and has spent her life as a private and tourist boat, even plying the waters of Lake Ianthe. Follow her history and you’ll see that she looks a little different to her original self, having had her cabin raised on two occasions. Tamati is a much-loved addition to Paeroa’s Historical Maritime Park and can be boarded year-round (except for some periods in winter when she is hauled out for maintenance). The minimum number of guests required for a cruise is six, and the jaunt must be pre-arranged to coincide with tides, so put together a group, and head out on the Waihou and Ohinemuri rivers for a day of fun.