Our Crew

Meet our friendly jet boat drivers. Each one equal parts captain, guide and local encyclopedia.

Alan Blackburn: NZ Commercial licence Maritime NZ licenced jet boat driver – (river) JBD-14202  

Alan has been involved with boats from an early age. Since buying his first recreational jet boat in the late 1990s , he’s navigated rivers the length of New Zealand.

He has worked two summers driving commercial jet boats in the South Island just out of Wanaka. In 2007, Alan started Taumarunui Jet Tours with a new 12-seater commercial jet boat.

Alan’s lived and worked in rural New Zealand all his life. For the past 30 years that’s included running owning 380-hectare deer and beef farm with his wife Kerry, north of Taumarunui. This keeps him occupied when not skimming up and down the Whanganui River.

Robert Carter: NZ Commercial licence Maritime NZ licenced jet boat driver – (river) JBD-14202

Robert’s lifelong love of the Whanganui River began with being born and raised around here.

In the 1980s Robert and his wife Suzanne owned and operated a local canoeing and jet boating business, building up knowledge and experience on the river as well as meeting the people who call this area home.

A bit of a local expert, he’s lived at Kirikau (35km downstream from Taumarunui) for 30 years. With his family, he runs a 360 hectare sheep and beef farm, when not in his ‘happy place’ – on the Wanganui River! He admits to being ‘a little obsessed’ with the River, its spirit and the stories of its travellers and residents over the ages.

When it comes to travelling by jet boat or canoe, Robert has hundreds of hours under his belt in both recreational and commercial roles.

  • My wife and I went on the River and Rail Run and it was one of the best trips we have done. The rail run was something completely different from anything we're done before. All of the staff were great attending to our every need. Maree in particular was very knowledgeable and great fun too. I would definitely recommend this trip to everyone.

    Louis Lincoln, Spain

  • We booked as a surprise for our respective partners, the river and rail trip. From being greeted like lost friends at the front office by the girls to Alan on the jet-boat and Ray, Rob and Mitchell on the rail-carts and Vaughan on the bus, they have assembled an enthusiastic crew that made the day a pleasure wit their little quips, a great knowledge of the area and the scenery was second to none. A very professional setup that I would recommend to put on everyone's bucket list.

    B T Stiling

  • Fantastic day highly recommend to all! - We did the river and rail run and had a fabulous time learning the history and taking in the wonderful countryside along the way. The guides were excellent and all the staff were very friendly and informative. Had a great lunch set up after the jet boat ride to prepare us for the rail run.

    Willeson, Auckland

  • We've wanted to go on the railcarts for some time and a visit from my brother and sister in law was the perfect excuse. We were greeted my big smiles when we arrived at FWA HQ. Those smiles were on every staff members face as we came across them at different junctures of the trip. The railcart was easy to drive and to trip to Tokirima was fun, scenic and informative. Our guide, Ray, drew on his personal knowledge of the people and area to make our journey very personable - I felt connected. The jetboat ride had the usual jet boat thrills but the Wanganui River is a very different character to the Shotover or Waikato. She's an old lady with lots of history and stories - and rapids of course.

    Tim, Owhango

  • Relaxing, kiwi adventure. Great scenery, old relics and history. Informative friendly guide. Recommend it for family and friend groups. Close encounters with locals and animals and nature.

    Susan Bones