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.
The Riverboat Centre is located within a 134-year-old 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 four homing pigeons.
The pigeons join passengers on every Cruising at 11. They are carried by basket up the Whanganui River and passengers are invited to hand-write a personal message which crew insert into (original Alexander Hatrick) canisters 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 and wait for passengers to meet them and the authors to retrieve their message.
Our crew have been lucky enough to witness a marriage proposal in this way.
This gives our passengers a unique insight into how homing (or carrier pigeons) were used for long-distance communication in the bygone years.
Entrance to our Museum is free but we welcome donations which can be dropped into any one of our three donation boxes.
Opening hours are 9.30am to 1.30pm everyday except Tuesdays, and other times by arrangement.