Luxury Houseboat on the Waikato River a First for New Zealand

by Ian Simpson
(Auckland, New Zealand)

Luxury Houseboats in New Zealand

Luxury Houseboats in New Zealand

Luxury Houseboat a first for New Zealand. With planning well advanced and the support of the local Iwi to revive the waterways of the Waikato River and to promote tourism in the Franklin district, Ian and Judy Simpson from Discovery Houseboats are building the first luxury river boat in New Zealand.


The luxurious 21 metre long and 8.5 metre wide floating hotel will be similar to the elite Australian Murray River houseboats. Accommodation facilities will include four Queen sized double bedrooms each with their own ensuites and two rear lounges that can be converted into bedrooms providing 12 people to sleep in luxurious comfort. The top deck includes a heated 10 person spa pool, BBQ, sun lounges, wet bar, fridge and table and chair setting. The vessel will provide the latest in supreme comfort, class and style for both international and NZ tourists.

The $1 million project is based on a well proven Australian design and building has started in Mercer. Build time is estimated at 14 weeks with the Australian boat builder and NZ surveyor overseeing the complete build, beginning with the assembly of the components of the boat which have been constructed and shipped over from Australia.

Franklin-based companies Haven Homes and Carlielle Kitchens will then be responsible for the interior design and fit out of the boat. It is great to be involved with a project that is unique and positive for the Franklin community and a first for New Zealand. It is a great way to showcase Franklins talents to the international tourist markets said Gary Millington, Managing Director of Haven NZ.

Other Franklin and New Zealand companies will provide support services including the hire equipment, security, plumbing, electrical work, outboard motors and marine accessories. The project see the culmination of a dream for Discovery Houseboat owners Ian and Judy Simpson who are enthusiastic about Franklin and have developed a strong passion for the history of the river and the desire to return it to it's former glory when as many as 60 commercial boats such as the Rawhiti 11 and Freetrader used the river.

The people of Franklin have been fantastic and very supportive of this venture. It has been an extensive, long process with many different parties involved but I would like to especially thank the local Iwi for their assistance, says Ian. A documentary is being produced on the construction of this unique venture for New Zealand and will also cover the history of Mercer, Tuakau Landing and the section of the Waikato River that the boat will use. The boat will be launched at Mercer with the intention to be based at historical site of Tuakau Landing.

Public Open days will be offered as the boat nears completion. The boat will offer a variety of options, self drive, day drive and full service.

Thanks, Ian Simpson




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Reply - Answer


Thanks a million for such a comprehensive posting on houseboats in Australia. I wish I could jump on a plane and come to visit... :)


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their related houseboat experiences and tips.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Luxury Houseboat on the Waikato River a First for New Zealand

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Commercial conversion
by: Anonymous

My partner and I are moving back to NZ after a few years living on the canals in London, and we can't imagine living back on land so were looking at the prospect of doing an ex-commercial boat conversion.

However used commercials are bloody expensive in NZ. Is this because the quota's are assigned to the boat not the captain? Care to shed some light on this.

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Luxury Houseboats ltd. Moana NZ
by: Kris Jackson

I currently operate a 18.5m/60ft luxury houseboat on Lake Brunner on New Zealands west coast. Tranquilty sleeps 12, full stainless kitchen, large sun room/lounge, 4 bedrooms, master room with en-suite, upstairs sundeck and spa.

Available for self drive over night charter. Houseboat operates under full MSA survey, and has current SSM, Safe Ship Management certification.

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When is the luxury houseboat rental available to rent?
by: Anonymous

When is it available to rent?

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Love Houseboats
by: Anonymous

Have just arrived home from Mildura and 7 nights on a houseboat on the Murray River. What an experience. Now I won't have to go so far for my next dose of houseboat pleasures. We (3 couples) went on one of the Sunraysia Resort Houseboats and had a marvelous time.

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Please keep in touch with us
by: Anonymous

Please keep in touch with us for consideration for inclusion in our guidebooks to the North and the South Islands of New Zealand.

Diana and Jeremy Pope

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A great article for New Zealand houseboats
by: Editor & Webmaster

Looking forward to updates about the schedule and completion of this excellent project.

What better than Luxury Houseboats in New Zealand, especially the Waikato River.

Good luck with the project, IAN...

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Luxury Houseboat on Lake Wanaka
by: Graham Tompkins

There has been a Luxury Houseboat on Lake Wanaka in the South Island for the past ten years

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This is not the 1st on the Waikato river.
by: Anonymous

My Dad, back in 1987 built a 63' - 21m Houseboat and it is still in use on the Waikato River. These houseboats look great and I hope to be able to see them in action one day.I was born and raised on the river and it feels like home when I go back.

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