Frequently Asked Questions

Important information about your Charter

To ensure you do have a wonderful and safe time, we brief you on the full operation of the boat, emergency procedures and safe handling. We make sure you feel comfortable and safe before setting off on your own. All safety equipment required by Marine Regulations is carried on board and full instruction is given in its use.

The Hirer of the houseboat will be given instructions on:

  • Correct and safe handling and navigation of the boat.
  • Correct and safe operation of machinery, fuel gas and pumping systems.
  • Stowage and use of lifesaving appliances.
  • Location and use of fire appliances.
  • The boats operating limits, Whangaroa Harbour only, and any other conditions on the use of the boat.
  • Full briefing of use of VHF Marine Radio, navigation and charts.


Anticipate your needs and that you are on holiday! Your possessions should be brought on board in sports bags etc., not suitcases. Soft soled shoes or bare feet are normal for boating.

Things you should consider when packing: Include all the things you would for a classic Kiwi holiday! Sun protection, torch, cell phone, insect repellant,  a good book. It is recommended that you bring a chilly bin for cold drinks etc. and to freeze as many other items beforehand.

Fishing equipment: Experienced fishermen usually bring their own equipment.  Boat comes equipped with a dinghy.


Your houseboat comes equipped with:

  • a gas BBQ
  • gas fridge 
  • twin burner stove.
  • extra chilly bin
  • kitchen and cooking items are all supplied, including dishwashing liquid, tea towels and cleaning equipment

Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays supplies:

  • blankets
  • duvets
  • sheets
  • pillowcases and pillows 
  • 2 towels (We have found a few extra towels are useful to bring, especially for a family group)
  • Toilet tissue


Where do I find Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays?
Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays is located at historic Totara North on the north western side of Whangaroa Harbour, 13 km north of Kaeo. Take the turn off from State Highway 10 (Twin Coast Discovery Highway) at the Kahoe Bridge and follow to the end of Totara North Road to wharf and boat ramp.  From here you are transferred in our water taxi to the houseboat.

Where do I park my car?
Your car can be left for the duration at the owner's property free of charge. Space is limited, please no more than 2 vehicles.

How many people can I have on the boat?
The maximum number of people allowed to sleep on board Maple Leaf is 8. However, we don't suggest any more than 6 adults. One child's bunk is in the double cabin.

Can I bring my pet?
Pets, firearms and fireworks are not allowed on Maple Leaf.

How do I go about paying?
A 25% deposit is required to confirm your booking. Means of payment for the deposit includes, cheque or bank transfer. The outstanding balance is to be paid at the completion of the charter. This can be paid in cash or credit card.

Are banking facilities available once I arrive?
No, however we accept cash, or credit card. Cheques are only accepted 10 working days before departure. 

What if I have to cancel?
If you cancel more than 1 month before your booking we will charge a $100 administration fee and refund the balance of your deposit.  If you cancel less than one month before the departure date you will forfeit your deposit.

I have not handled a boat before - will I need a licence?
No, you do not need a licence to drive the Maple Leaf. We suggest you have marine experience of some form, and you must be at least 25 years of age. The key question you need to answer is, "Do I, as skipper, have the experience to keep my family/party safe on a houseboat?"  If no, then maybe this experience is not for you.

To read more about rules on the water, visit Maritime New Zealand's website.

What if I need assistance out on the water?
Mostly we communicate from the owner to the customers by Text. Although you are unlikely to require assistance, The Maple Leaf is fitted with a VHF marine radio, so you can contact Whangaroa Coast Guard on Channel 64. It is also advisable to take your mobile phone as an additional means of contact. The main way we keep in contact is by Texting.

What if I damage the boat?
The Maple Leaf is insured providing you have met our conditions of charter and follow our instructions. Wilful or negligent damage is not covered, and you are responsible for damage caused by you or members of your group to other peoples' property. Check out the legal stuff here.

What do I pack?
All that you would take on a classic Kiwi holiday! The Maple Leaf comes fully equipped with BBQ, gas cooker, cutlery, crockery, glassware, saucepans, frying pans and other kitchen utensils. Sheets, pillows and duvets are also provided. Remember there are no laundry facilities on board so bring ample clothing.

Is there electricity on the boat?
The Maple Leaf is fitted with 12 volt D.C supply from a solar panel which suppplies lighting.  As well, a low watt inverter supplies 240 volt current for laptops and mobile phones. 130Watt maximum.

What about  the bathroom?
The houseboat is fitted with a hot shower and hand basin, heated by gas califont, and an eco-friendly Lectrasan marine toilet. Instructions are given on the simple management of this system.

Is there any music or TV on board?
There are no TV's or DVD players on board. The Maple Leaf is equipped with an AM/FM radio. The radio has an Aux input.

Is there cell phone coverage?
It is patchy. In the centre of the harbour is Ok but in the bays with the big cliffs coverage may be limited.  Phones may not work everywhere, but will work somewhere. Texting is the most reliable form of communication on the harbour.

What if we arrive (or leave) in 2 Groups?
The houseboat is available from 10am. If you cannot make this time please advise us of your expected arrival time. Sometimes the charter party may arrive or leave in groups at different times. We can accomodate this (as long as its not at night). We will arrange to meet the second group at the wharf at the specified time then take them to the Houseboat in our Harbour Taxi. There is a charge of $30 for this transfer.  We cannot put people on the boat after dark as Maple Leaf cannot be driven at night and must be secure on anchor or a mooring one hour before darkness. (Maritime NZ terms). You can find out about our water taxi service from here 

Are there any restaurants we can visit on the Whangaroa Harbour?
Yes. The town of Whangaroa offers the Marlin Hotel, the Whangaroa Big Gamefish Club and for basic supplies The Boyd Gallery store. At Totara North is the Gumstore Bar and Grill. For access to all, you will have to anchor your houseboat and visit the restaurants in your dinghy.

What if we need supplies such as food, drink or fish bait?
These can all be purchased from the Boyd Gallery store in Whangaroa. This convenience store has most basic supplies such as bread, milk, newspapers etc.

How far can I take the boat?
The Maple Leaf  is surveyed as a bare boat charter, within the limits of Whangaroa Harbour. There are spots which are shallow which are marked on the map that should be avoided. You will be given instructions on navigation in our safety briefing of the boat.

Can I travel at night?
No. The Maple Leaf is only permitted to travel in daylight hours and must not move between dusk and dawn.

Do I need a fishing licence?
In New Zealand you do not need a license for saltwater fishing. Fishing regulations apply for the sizes and numbers of fish caught. These regulations are outlined on board the Maple Leaf.

What about water and fuel?
Water tanks on board hold 400 litres of fresh water and will last for 3-5 days. You can fill up at the water buoy in the eastern arm. This is operated by the Whangaroa coastguard. In addition, the Maple Leaf will have fuel and spare tanks on board. Fuel is charged at $20 per motoring hour. You are only charged for the time the motors are running. Most people motor for an average of 3-4 hours a weekend.  There is a meter on the boat that registers motoring hours so you can check how you are going at any time.

What about keeping food cool?
The houseboat is fitted with a gas LPG operated fridge. In addition there is a large insulated icebox. Block and crushed ice may be purchased in Kaeo or from the Boyd Gallery store in Whangaroa.

What do I do with my rubbish? 
We have a take on/ take off policy. Everything the charter group takes on board, they must also remove at the end of the charter. This includes rubbish and organic food waste. Our policy is to reduce, recycle, reuse. Experience shows the amount of rubbish created can be greatly reduced by giving some thought as to what to bring, for example, cans are easier to recycle than bottles. We supply rubbish bags. There is a recycling station at Totara North that accepts recyclables free of charge. 

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