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Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

Beachcomber Cruises

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Enjoy a scenic afternoon boat cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound on a working mail boat that visits Ship Cove (1st Oct to 30th April) and several remote communities. You’ll share the excitement of mail day as you travel on board the New Zealand Post Rural Delivery Service boat, which takes different routes through Marlborough Sounds to reach isolated hamlets. Hear stories about the people and history of the region from your captain as you experience the rhythm of life along the waterways of the South Island.

What You'll Get

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.

Additional Information

  • 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
  • Live commentary on board
  • Tea and coffee

  • Food
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point
The Waterfront, Picton

Departure Time
1:30 PM

4 hours

Return Details
Returns to original departure point at approximately 5:30pm-6:00pm.
Please notify us at the time of booking if you have a connection or are visiting with a cruise ship.

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

The tour identified in this promotion is made available through Viator. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Beachcomber Cruises in connection with this deal. Please contact Groupon customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to Viator will be directed back to Groupon.

This offer is not eligible for promo codes.

The Fine Print

7-day cancellation rights do not apply; no refunds or exchanges permitted. Voucher valid only for date and time listed; may not be exchanged or redeemed for other dates. Purchaser name and phone number must be provided at checkout; this information will be shared with Viator and the tour operator for purposes of order fulfillment. Groupon promo codes may not be used for this offer. Groupon voucher Terms of Sale do not apply. See the tour operators terms and conditions for this offer here. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised Goods and services.

By purchasing this deal you'll unlock points which can be spent on discounts and rewards. Every 5,000 points can be redeemed for $5 Off your next purchase.