Riverboat Centre

It’s not just a cruise on our Paddle Steamer Waimarie that will take you down memory lane – our Riverboat Centre houses an intricate display of river related photography and artefacts from the last century.

A visit to our Riverboat Centre will uncover the colourful history of the riverboat era and the operations of the famous Hatrick & Co. – the company who owned the Paddle Steamer Waimarie and many other work boats operating along the Whanganui River in the first half of the 20th century.

A range of merchandise and souvenirs can be purchased from the booking office to extend your Waimarie® experience.

Historical building

The Riverboat Centre is located within a turn of the century building that originally operated as a rowing facility.

It is among one of the first architecturally designed rowing centres in New Zealand, and you can still see the original W.R.C wooden letters, short for Wanganui Rowing Club, above the front door at the entrance to the building.

The building was restored by community volunteers and turned into a wonderful workshop for the restoration of the Paddle Steamer Waimarie in the late 90’s.

Residence of our pigeons

The Riverboat Centre is also the residence of Waimarie’s two homing pigeons, Alexander and Baxter.

Alexander and Baxter join passengers on every Cruising at 11. They are carried up the Whanganui River and passengers are invited to hand write a personal message which crew insert into canisters which are attached to the pigeons’ legs before releasing them from the Paddle Steamer Waimarie.

Being the well trained pigeons they are – they fly back to their loft at the Riverboat Centre where after the cruise the authors can see their messages have arrived safely.

The Pigeon Post gives our passengers a unique experience and insight into how homing pigeons were used for long distance communication on the river back when the riverboats operated. 

Entrance to our Museum is free but we welcome donations which can be dropped into any one of our three donation boxes.


Please note that the Riverboat Museum will be closed from the 24 May 2021 to 21 June 2021.

During the sailing season the Riverboat Museum is open 9.30am to 1.30pm every sailing day except Tuesdays and at other times by arrangement.

During the off season (Mother’s Day to Labour Weekend) the museum is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – 10.00am to 2pm and at other times by arrangement.

Riverboat Centre

Cruising at 11

Paddle Steamer Waimarie