Meet the Crew Behind the Waikato River Explorer

Darren and Vanessa Mills have lived in the Waikato on and off for the last 22 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 past 15 years with experience initially on the Waikato River, then Rotorua and then with one of the large Ferry operators in Auckland prior to launching Waikato River Explorer. 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.”

Our Senior Skipper Brook Reardon moved his family from Auckland in 2014 after having served 17-years in the Royal NZ Navy and our Onboard Service Crew is led by Kayla McLean a graduate of the NZ School of Tourism.

See you on the mighty Waikato River!