Cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon…

The Waikato River is once again open for business after a custom-built river cruiser – the Waikato River Explorer – welcomed its first passengers on board this month.

The Waikato River Explorer offers the public scheduled scenic tours of the river every weekend, from Pukete through the city to the Hamilton Gardens.

Managing Director Vanessa Mills and husband and fellow director Darren Mills have been waiting 18 months to see their plans come to life.

Vanessa said they took on the project after they identified the gap in the market.

“We wanted to bring back to the city the opportunity for tourists and people that live in the region to have a trip down the river.

“It offers the public the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective,” Vanessa says.

Vanessa says tourists often ask after the Waipa Delta, the jet boat/paddle steamer that used to run a similar route on the Waikato River  before leaving for Auckland harbour about three years ago.

However, she believes the Waikato River Explorer has more to offer.

“We have the ability to be more flexible and can dock into the Hamilton Gardens…so it means we can [offer] a whole lot more,” she says.

The boat, located at Mystery Creek Events Centre, provides scenic 90-minute cruises on Saturday and Sunday departing at midday and 2.30pm.

“It’s something different, but it’s affordable. People can come and do the trip without breaking the bank,” Vanessa says.

For more information and a full pricing, visit the Waikato River Explorer website.