Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise - Picton

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Tour Information

Key Details

  • Mobile Voucher Accepted
  • Instant Confirmation
  • Lowest Price Guaranteed
  • Duration: 4 Hrs
  • Language:
  • Departure Time :
    01:30 PM
  • Departure Details :
    1 London Quay, Picton 7220, New Zealand
  • Return Details :
    Returns to original departure point
  • Cancellation Policy :
    This activity is non-refundable Tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.


The Mail has been delivered by boat for over 150 years in the Queen Charlotte Sounds, we are the only official licensed New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service by water in the Queen Charlotte Sound making this a truly unique tour!

Come along on the Mail Boat Cruise and share the excitement of Mail Day as the skipper delivers the Rural post bags, groceries and freight to the residents that call the Queen Charlotte Sound waterways home.

If time allows the Mail Boat Cruise will take a short stop at one of the brilliant locations within the Queen Charlotte waterways, you route will shown upon check in.

Available to purchase for $6 in the office before you depart are Beachcomber Cruises keep cups, we no longer use single use cups on board our vessels due the huge environmental impact. Upon purchase of a Beachcomber Cruises keep cup guests can enjoy tea and coffee onboard for the duration of the tour.

Know More about this tour

Head to the waterfront in Picton to meet the mailboat for your 4-hour tour on Queen Charlotte Sound. Every trip starts along the routes detailed below by day of the week, then wraps up with a 15-minute stop at Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April).

The visit to Ship Cove gives you a chance to disembark at the inlet where Captain Cook anchored his ship, The Endeavor, in 1770. Explore the beach and see a memorial to Captain Cook, several large Maori statues carved from wood, and informative displays about the island. Birds such as oyster catchers, weka, and paradise ducks can be spotted here as well.

On Mondays and Thursdays, start 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.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, the 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.

The Wednesday and Saturday 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.

No matter which day of the week you travel, you'll get a glimpse of daily life in the small outposts that dot the Marlborough Sounds, as well as memorable views of the stunning scenery.

During the Winter Months we do not stop at Ship Cove.

Please advise us if you have an evening connection or are visiting from a cruise ship

Please note: This is a sample itinerary that can change based on what time of the year you visit.


Live commentary on board

Restroom on board



Hotel pickup and drop-off

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks to consume on board

Closed-toe walking shoes suitable for walking are recommended

Not accessible for motorized wheelchairs

Please Note: The stop at Ship Cove only occurs during Summer months of 1st Oct to 30th April

Not wheelchair accessible

Stroller accessible

Service animals allowed

Infant seats available

We are not able to pick up / drop off at the Cruise Ship Terminal - you must make your way to our booking office

Most travelers can participate

Please note that this tour departs sharply on schedule at 1:30pm

This experience requires good weather. If its canceled due to poor weather, youll be offered a different date or a full refund

This tour/activity will have a maximum of 70 travelers

Face masks required for travelers in public areas

Face masks required for guides in public areas

Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff

Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas

Gear/equipment sanitized between use

Guides required to regularly wash hands

Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required for travelers

COVID-19 vaccination required for guides

Beachcomber Cruises follows the current guidelines given by Tourism New Zealand and the New Zealand Government. Please call our office if you have any questions around the current requirements.

Traveler Reviews

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  • 28-Oct-2022

    A lovely 5 hour trip on the Marlborough Sounds with Beachcomber Cruses dropping the mail off at isolated houses. The scenery is magic and we stopped to see several Dolphins putting on a show. The skipper also gave us an excellent commentary.

  • 25-Oct-2022

    Very nice journey, as the captain guided us towards remote places. The view is superb and we saw seals and dusky dolphins.

  • 24-Oct-2022

    What a great trip! A relaxed way to see Queen Charlotte Sound. Excellent and friendly staff. Would highly reccommend this

  • 02-Oct-2022

    Dolphins! Also very interesting to see mail being delivered. Beautiful scenery. Good captain with interesting tales. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  • 01-Oct-2022

    Calling in at each mail drop off point was fascinating. The trip reveals the vastness of the Sounds and the isolation. The skipper's stories of the history and personalities added richess to the experience. Strongly recommended.

  • 27-Sep-2022

    Great commentary by Ryan, very knowledgeable. Enjoyed the history and mussel farm. Only 9 passengers

  • 26-Sep-2022

    Highly recommend. From first contact by phone call to face to face every staff was extremely helpful . We needed assurance that wheelchair access was available. Skipper Ryan picked 5 of us up from floating jetty in Picton for easy access. Ryan’s commentary was one of the best I’m sure Beachcomber will miss him once he moves on to another venture. Perfect weather in the Sounds views spectacular wildlife awesome. Donna was so helpful getting wheelchair on and off so a huge thank you and also to your team and Ryan thank you again once again. A top cruise

  • 14-Sep-2022

    Absolutely loved it! So much fun. Driver was funny and the views were spectacular. Amazing fun for those that need to explore.

  • 08-Sep-2022

    This is a great trip. We did the trip on a Friday, it is the Tory Channel route and it was a very informative and interesting journey. Our driver had loads of interesting tips about the area and the places we were visiting. The scenery is amazing. We travelled out to the farm at the entrance to Tory Channel and we met some lovely people along the way. This trip is well worth the money. Would highly recommend.

  • 19-Aug-2022

    Even though it was a bleak, wet day it was an amazing experience. And wonderfully presented by Phil who was extremely knowledgeable. The icing on the cake - the dolphins. Thank you Beachcomber Cruises.

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