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Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

Highlights
  • 4-hour cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound on the mail boat, from Picton
  • Travel with the only official New Zealand Post rural water delivery service in the region
  • See remote communities in the Marlborough Sounds, which constitute a fifth of New Zealand’s coastline
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Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise
From $71.63
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
  • Q&A
Select Date and Travelers
Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise
From $71.63
Overview
Visit the remote communities of Queen Charlotte Sound aboard a working mail boat. This scenic 4-hour boat cruise departs Picton in the afternoon and makes New Zealand Post rural delivery service along different routes each day of the week. Experience the lifestyle of the Marlborough Sounds firsthand as the boat captain shares regional history and stories of these isolated hamlets. Enjoy complimentary tea and coffee on board and disembark for a 15-minute stop at Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April).
What to Expect
View the magnificent scenery of the Marlborough Sounds and get a glimpse of daily life in the remote outposts via New Zealand Post rural delivery service through Queen Charlotte Sound.

Meet the mail boat in the afternoon at the Picton waterfront, and relax with complimentary tea and coffee on board. The 4-hour boat tour travels into various bays, coves and inlets detailed by the captain, then wraps up with a stop at Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April) where Captain Cook anchored the Endeavor in 1770.

You have 15 minutes here to explore the beach and see a memorial to Captain Cook as well as wood-carved Maori statues. Read informative displays about the island and search for birdlife such as oyster catchers, weka and paradise ducks.

Mail routes change depending on the day of the week; see the Itinerary for a sample of scheduled delivery.
Itinerary
Monday and ThursdayStart by cruising through Queen Charlotte Sound to Kaipapa, a small cove in Kumototo Bay. Continue into Blackwood Bay to drop off mail, then pass a king salmon fish farm en route to Ruakaka Bay where the boat stops at a local residence. Then deliver mail to the Bay of Many Coves Resort and make a few more mail stops at Arapawa Island before pulling into Ship Cove.
Tuesday and FridayThe mail boat heads to Curious Cove and then the Tory Channel, traveling along one side past Te Pangu as far as Whekenui, where the Tory Channel enters Cook Strait. Return along the other side of the channel, making a few mail drops along the way, before heading to Ship Cove. 
Wednesday and Saturday The mail deliveries stop first near the East Bay King Salmon Farm on Arapawa Island. Then sail to the top of East Bay for a couple of mail drops. On Saturdays, the run goes to Cape Jackson, a community that only receives deliveries once per week due to the distance. On your return, stop at Ship Cove.
Please note: This is a sample itinerary that can change based on what time of the year you visit.
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Reviews (41)
1 - 5 of 25 reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago
An enchanting afternoon in the Marlborough Sounds

One of the highlights of our Australia – New Zealand cruise was a 4 h Queen Charlotte Sound cruise from Picton with the mailboat in the awesome Marlborough sounds. We had booked the excursion online with a New Zealand touroperator Beachcomber cruises. I heard some...More

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank ebbandflood
BeachcomberPicton, Front Office Manager at Beachcomber Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Hi ebbandflood, Thank you for taking the time to write a review, We love to hear feedback! We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time out on the Mail Boat cruise through the sounds. The dogs sure do know when the boat...More

Reviewed October 30, 2018
Fantastic Fun Day Out

This trip was a great day out. The Mail Boat was clean & spacey. You can sit indoors or upstairs which is open, but can be breezy. Julian the Skipper was awesome & makes the trip fantastic, he allows you to be as interactive as...More

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Dee S
BeachcomberPicton, Front Office Manager at Beachcomber Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Hey Dee S. Thank you for taking the time to write and let us know about your mail boat cruise. we are happy to hear that you enjoyed your time out with Julian. we hope that you enjoyed your tour of NZ and made it...More

Reviewed October 20, 2018
beautiful day, many thanks

Had a half day tour which we thoroughly enjoyed, particularly Kate, who was so friendly and helpful with everything, thoroughly recommend the trip, beautiful day, many thanks David and ElizabethMore

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Pioneer827509
BeachcomberPicton, Reservations at Beachcomber Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2018

Hi David and Elizabeth , Firstly thank you for taking the time to write such a beautiful review. We really are very lucky to have an amazing time who are willing to go the extra mile for us customers. Meaning customers like you have a...More

Reviewed September 17, 2018
Afternoon Delight!

A beautiful day in Picton which began with the best hot chocolate at LeCafe continued when I arrived at the Beachcomber office where I had reservations for the afternoon mail run. Kate is not only efficient, but charming and made getting “sorted” (as they say...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Marcia M
Reviewed April 27, 2018 via mobile
Rain didn't matter!

Wet weather stayed away until heading back to Picton. Didn't detract from a great trip on the Mail Run. Enjoyed looking around Ships Cove where a fantail followed us as we walked around. Well displayed history information. Interesting commentary from John along the way as...More

2  Thank Julie W
BeachcomberPicton, Reservations at Beachcomber Cruises, responded to this reviewResponded April 28, 2018

Good Afternoon Julie, Thank you for your review. We are glad to hear you recently had a wonderful time on the Mail Run. It really is a great cruise rain or shine ! Safe travels ! Kind Regards,

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