• Location: Picton, New Zealand
  • Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 71.54 View price calendar

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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).


  • 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
  • Visit Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April), a favorite anchorage of Captain Cook and site of early contact between Maoris and Europeans
  • Learn about the history of the region from your experienced captain
  • Disembark at Ship Cove to see the Captain Cook memorial, Maori wood carvings and stroll along the beach

What You Can Expect

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

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.


Customer Reviews

Katharine D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2018

This was a very relaxing trip. Queen Charlotte sound is beautiful and we were blessed with glorious weather and very calm seas, which all contributed to making this one of our most comfortable and leisurely trips. The postal run itself was fascinating, and it was very interesting in some cases to approach a jetty and collect/deliver post where the property itself couldn't be seen from the boat! It was great to have this very 'local' experience. We thoroughly enjoyed it!

Colville E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

A fantastic experience. The skipper, Julian, was knowledgeable and a great deal of fun. When we spotted a dolphin pod he took us over and allowed plenty of time for photos and videos. Some of the dolphins then 'surfed' in our wake. It was great learning about how the residents of Charlotte Sound get their mail and 'guest's delivered. We'd recommend this trip.Wendy and Col Melbourne Australia

russell k

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Well worth the time. Great experience.

Alan S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Excellent tour. Beautiful scenery, birds, dolphins. Comfortable boat. Good commentary. Easy access from cruise ship..


5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Great experience! Wonderful scenery and a good insight into living in remote and beautiful area of New Zealand while delivering mail and essential supplies.. Friendly staff and boat operator. Also good to support a local family business. Stop at Ship cove also not to be missed.

Russell H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Great trip. Enjoy the commentary by the skipper, lots of,tales to tell plus local history. Also good stories about th people we dropped off mail and supplies to. The boat was very stable, even in some of the rough stuff close to Cook Straight. Well worth doing.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Excellent - well worth of doing.

Marie-Therese B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Excellent. The scenery was beautiful and it was very interesting to visit the outlying places that people lived.

sue E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Excellent value for money. The boat trip which lasted a whopping 5 hrs a little longer than expected made you realise just how huge the Sound is. in all that time we only got to see a small part of it. Chance to see places that otherwise you would never see. Folk who live in places where the only means of transport is via boat. Saw Dolphins and seals. Definitely worth going if you have an afternoon to spare.

Bede W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Easy booking in process.Plenty of tea and coffee available. Julian the captain very knowledgeable and friendly. Tour over ran by about an hour but that was included as part of the briefing prior to getting on the boat

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