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About the Waikato River Explorer team

Darren and Vanessa Mills have lived in the Waikato for over 11 years and are passionate about the region and promoting the areas’ attractions including the beautiful Waikato River.

Darren has been a commercial Ferry Master for the last decade operating both vessels and charter businesses in Auckland, Rotorua and on the Waikato River. His previous career was a 20-year stint in radio taking him from Auckland to Dunedin, Taupo, Taranaki, Te Kuiti and finally Hamilton. Vanessa has an extensive background in business administration, event planning and management having gained her Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Waikato University.

In 2012, Darren, Vanessa and several other business people decided to restart cruise operations on our beautiful river. 

“We are really excited about the Waikato River Explorer and creating an iconic visitor activity for the city of Hamilton” says Darren and Vanessa. “This will be an activity for people like us, who want to enjoy this wonderful natural attraction that flows through our region. We are committed to providing a sustainable tourism and charter business for the Waikato River.”

Home base for the Waikato River Explorer is Mystery Creek Events Centre. Built in 1979, the Waikato River Explorer is 14.35 metres long and powered by a 240 HP Volvo diesel engine. The boat has capacity for up to 50 seated diners and around 65 for stand up cocktail style functions. It is captained by experienced commercial skippers and staffed by experienced crew.

Experience the beauty of the Waikato river from the Waikato River Explorer. Click here to book your scenic cruise or enquire about your Waikato event today.

Enjoy your Waikato River cruise on the Waikato River ExplorerHamilton Gardens - one of the pick up points for your Waikato River cruise
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