Tours and Tickets
Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise
4.5

Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise

By Beachcomber Cruises
Recommended by 91% of travellers
91% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
from
$112.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 70 per group
Duration: 4h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
More


  • Live commentary on board
  • Restroom on board
What's not included
  • Food
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off


Start:
  • 1 London Quay, Picton 7220, New Zealand
    Please meet us at the Beachcomber Cruises Office on the waterfront - the Corner of Wellington Street and London Quay, we are a black building with Blue Signage.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Stroller accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Infant seats available
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 6607MAILBOAT

    • 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
    • Most travellers can participate
    • We are not able to pick up / drop off at the Cruise Ship Terminal - you must make your way to our booking office
    • Please note that this tour departs sharply on schedule at 1:30pm
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 70 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    How much is Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise?
    Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise price starts from $116.94. Discover and book Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise on Tripadvisor
    What is the Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise cancellation policy?
    Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise?
    Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise is hosted by Beachcomber Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Beachcomber Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise on Tripadvisor
    How much time do I need for Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise?
    On average, this experience will take approximately 4h. Discover and book Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 6607MAILBOAT

    Reserve your spot

    Similar experiences

    Itinerary
    • You'll start at
      1 London Quay
      1 London Quay, Picton 7220, New Zealand
      Please meet us at the Beachcomber Cruises Office on the waterfront - the Corner of Wellington Street and London Quay, we are a black building with Blue Signage.
      See address & details
    • Pass by
      Queen Charlotte Sound
    • You'll return to the starting point
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Beachcomber Cruises
      959
      Picton, New Zealand
      Joined in June 2011
    • wrightd2311
      0 contributions
      Two great trips
      We went out with Beachcomber twice and had two great trips. We went out on the Mailboat and had a great time popping in to lots of interesting little coves to deliver mail and groceries. The skipper Jason was very informative and fun, really passionate about the ecosystems of the sounds, both above and below the water. On the second day they took us to Mistletoe Bay for our walk to Anawika. The timings were great and everything worked as planned. A really great team all round. We would highly recommend these trips.
      Written 23 February 2024
    • H5807KPchrisg
      0 contributions
      It was great until .......
      We took Beachcomber Cruises to/from two different landings on Endeavor Inlet on Queen Charlotte Sound and hiked between the landings. We arrived in plenty of time to catch the return, and we were told that we would arrive back in Picton by about 5PM. About 25 minutes after leaving our pickup point, they turned around and went back to pick up several more passengers. We reached Picton at almost 6PM. When we complained to Beachcomber, they failed to acknowledge any fault. From other passengers, we learned that Beachcomber had agreed to alert the late passengers prior to their arrival and failed to do so. Almost 50 passengers had to sit on the boat's uncomfortable seats for an extra 55 minutes and miss their dinner plans.
      Written 21 February 2024
    • 55fergusg
      0 contributions
      Excellent trip
      Excellent tip, knowledgeable pilot, wonderful views and stops Worth every cent Highly recommend this if you are thinking of going Great staff
      Written 21 February 2024
    • Julie_from_MI
      0 contributions
      Great day on Marlborough Sound.
      The boat ride was beautiful. On the island, I felt rushed to climb to the viewpoint and get back down on time. We enjoy seeing birds but are not experienced birders. We could hear more than we could see.
      Written 16 February 2024
    • Carol S
      0 contributions
      Highly recommended
      We loved the mail boat trip. The commentary from the driver was fascinating and heartfelt. Highly recommended to adults. Children may not find it occupied then enough.
      Written 9 February 2024
    • davidE2069R
      0 contributions
      Great time
      Very informative guide / boat captain. We appreciated the information he provided. Brought us to and picked us up from a Great hike on queen charlotte trak
      Written 4 February 2024
    • EmmaW2038
      0 contributions
      Arapawa Paua Pearl Farm
      We booked a private tour with Beachcomber Cruises to the Arapawa pearl farm. Our skipper JC was informative and provided some awesome information travelling in comfort out to and from Arapawa from Picton. Scenery was just Amazing! The Pearl farm is well worth a visit with some lovely items for sale. Wonderful half day out of Picton and highly recommended!!
      Written 31 January 2024
    • MountainsExec
      0 contributions
      Trip to Pearl Farm
      We did a trip out to the Arapawa pearl farm with Beachcomber Cruises - both the trip and the location highly recommended. Comfortable trip thru amazing scenery with a friendly and knowledgable crew. The Pearl farm is well worth a visit with some lovely items for sale On the way back we saw seals and more amazing scenery. Wonderful half day out of Picton and highly recommended
      Written 28 January 2024
    • SJaneW10
      0 contributions
      Walk from Ships Cove
      I had a really special day , courtesy of this company. First , one of the ladies in the office , I'm sorry I don't know her name , guided me to what she thought would be the best walk for me. This was the Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, and recommended that I take the early boat so that I could maximise my time on the island. She was right on both counts. I turned up the next morning and a different lady told me all about the history behind Ship Cove. The first pilot was very informative as well and although I have done a few boat tours in different areas, he was interesting and told me facts I didn't know. He was personable and professional and I felt on safe hands. On the way back the boat was quite full but Jason , the pilot was really chilled and entertained us the whole way with his passion and knowledge, going out of his way to show us some rare dolphins. Without exception every person I dealt with were an asset to this company. Thank you
      Written 9 January 2024
    • Natalie P
      0 contributions
      A great days walk
      Awesome walk, beautiful views. Jason the mail boat driver was excellent, full of local knowledge, loved hearing what the area is doing for conservation, a great added extra to the trip
      Written 4 January 2024
    • abuiqfa
      0 contributions
      Unforgettable views of the Marlborough Sounds
      Jason and the rest of the staff were fabulous with our wheel-chair bound mother. Jason’s commentary all through the cruise, his knowledge and passion clearly showed through.
      Written 1 January 2024
    • E7764OKmichaels
      0 contributions
      A great way to see the Queen Charlotte Sound
      A really interesting and informative cruise. Our Captain Kevin related many interesting things as we cruised the Queen Charlotte Sound on the tour from purchased on our cruise ship. We loved the scenery and the service from all the crew was great and friendly. Thanks for a wonderful experience!
      Written 30 December 2023
    • 462dianet
      0 contributions
      Highly recommend!
      This was a great trip from Picton to Ships Cove in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Jason, our skipper, gave an excellent commentary during our one hour ride to our destination. The boat was clean, on time, instructions were clear and everyone we were involved with at beachcomber was polite and helpful Our return journey was just as good Thanks Beachcomber!
      Written 17 December 2023
    • FarAway29049593930
      0 contributions
      Cruise the mail-run
      Professional, friendly and informative, we recently took the mail-run cruise, so much fun you can bring along your snacks and drinks and kick back and enjoy local knowledge from your skipper we were lucky enough to have Jason who was incredibly knowledgeable about the area and made the trip even more interesting and welcoming. Highly recommend taking the time to do this cruise while in Picton.
      Written 14 December 2023
    • Nikki S
      0 contributions
      Queen Charlotte Track with Wilderness Guides
      8 of us from Australia completed the Queen Charlotte Track with Wilderness Guides in Picton. We chose the upgraded 5 day trip with a rest day, which we used to kayak for a day. Wilderness Guides were well organised and good communicators when booking for a trip for 8 people and they were responsive to our needs. The walk was scenic including lovely tasteful accommodation along the way in picturesque settings.
      Written 12 December 2023
    See all 959 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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    4.5
    124 reviews
    Excellent
    103
    Very good
    11
    Average
    7
    Poor
    2
    Terrible
    1

    John A
    Aireys Inlet, Australia9 contributions
    Mar 2020
    Concept of the cruise is great and our skipper did everything required and expected but the cruise was let down by being grossly overpriced and poorly managed. Have had far better organised activities in NZ for half the price - for what you get $70 would be fair. Pathetic excuse for a cup of coffee or tea when briefly stopping to visit Ship Cove - no biscuits or anything to eat. Poor audio on the vessel for the skippers commentary (couldn't hear him). Found it a bit offensive that the company promotes itself as a small family run business as opposed to large corporate operation. Going by the number of vessels under the same company banner (Beachcomber), the facilities at the wharf - it is far from my perception of a "small, family run business".
    Written 24 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Rustic1997
    London, UK28 contributions
    Mar 2023
    We booked this cruise from a very helpful member of staff in the Beechcomber office on the quayside late Tuesday evening for yesterday afternoon’s cruise. We went to East bay and Endeavour Inlet ( it is a different route each day). We had expected the scenery to be spectacular which it was, but the bonus was the skipper ( Jason)’s informative commentary. He was knowledgable, relaxed and amusing. We moved from the upper deck to hear it better inside the boat. Most people automatically opt for the top of the boat which is possibly better for views but you do need very warm clothing. The boat travels very fast so hand onto your hats! Great job Beachcomber!
    Written 16 March 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Rustic1997 Thank you for your review, we are really pleased to hear that you enjoyed your trip on the Mail Boat with us. Its always a fun afternoon out on the water! You are absolutle1y right, a warm jacket and good hat is essential.
    Written 21 March 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    HummingAlong
    Almancil, Portugal18 contributions
    Mar 2021
    Mixed feelings about this tour. It is as advertised: the Sound is beautiful and spending a half day out on it (if it happens to be a nice day) is very enjoyable. The mail was delivered to locals and the boat skipper told us about each one. It was a little voyeuristic to see everyone stand up and take pictures of these people and their homes and docks. Our trip was much shorter than advertised. Fine print does mention route changes are possible. But our trip was only one third the distance it should have been. We were let off the boat (to kill time) at probably the ugliest spot on the entire Sound - a former whaling station. Just an eyesore. Not a suitable substitution from the cruising we did not do. Another negative is the hard sell we got to purchase reusable cups for coffee and hot drinks on the boat. We did. The coffee was make-it-yourself instant, not what we were picturing. But worse: it was free to everyone. The cup purchase was a ripoff and really but the icing on our negative feelings about the cruise.
    Written 12 March 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Thank you for your review, we are sorry to hear that you did not fully enjoy your cruise experience with us. We endeavor to make every trip an enjoyable one regardless of weather or route, and we feel both our on board and reservations staff do there best to ensure every customers experience meets and exceeds expectations. Majority of the time we receive excellent reviews on the Mail Boat Cruise, usually the opportunity to see the small bays and coves and watch as the mail is exchanged in this unique way with our residents is entertaining for our passengers on board, as It not only gives you the best sightseeing opportunity but also the chance to have an insight into how life is lived in remote areas. The Tuesday and Friday Mail Boat delivers the Mail in the Tory Channel of the Queen Charlotte Sounds, if needed we do venture into the Endeavour Inlet to collect people who have been walking the Queen Charlotte Track, On the day of your cruise we didn’t need to travel into this area, so rather than returning to Picton the skipper thought it would be interesting to take our guests to the Historic Perano Whaling station instead to give guests the opportunity to go onshore. I do apologies that you did not enjoy this part of the tour, the skipper did have good intentions at mind as the whaling station is a crucial part of the New Zealand whaling history that was prominent in the Tory Channel and a visit to the station is a quite unique and rare opportunity and from previous encounters our guests have really enjoyed this visit. In response to your comments about our Keep Cups – in efforts to reduce the environmental impact of single use items we have implemented the use of re-usable cups available on board for customers to purchase at a small cost. There is absolutely no pressure to purchase a cup as guest are welcome to bring there own food and drinks as a packed lunch, the cups are available for those who wish to purchase and keep as a souvenir, in purchasing of these cups we provide tea and coffee on board for guests to enjoy during the cruise. We are sorry to hear that the tour was not up to your expectations, as stated our staff makes the upmost effort to ensure the enjoyability of every passenger but we apologise that it was not totally enjoyable for yourself. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time here in Picton and hope to have you cruise with us again one day Kind Regards
    Written 14 March 2021
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    macshonz
    Taranaki Region, New Zealand46 contributions
    A thoroughly enjoyable experience, Ryan's mail run commentary gave a great insight to life in the Sounds for the families that have no road access. Getting alongside a pod of dolphins was the icing on the cake. A wee mishap at one pier delayed the trip slightly but was handled well and professionally. Highly recommended.
    Written 5 April 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    weta90
    Christchurch, New Zealand5 contributions
    Nov 2020
    A fascinating cruise up the Sounds with an informative commentary by our captain/driver Ryan. We were lucky to see orca hunting stingrays in a bay, and also dolphins on the way back. Would recommend spending some time up top (make sure you are warmly clothed) as you get a better view and experience of the boat. Personally I would have liked a little longer at Ship Cove but we were aware that the mail boat had a schedule to keep. Next time perhaps!
    Written 13 November 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Packlady2015
    Georgetown, TX266 contributions
    We had high expectations as this was a top rated Picton excursion and we were only in town two days. We were first in line and nestled in our seats up top. The first thing we learned was that hats will blow away up there if not held onto. (Wish that had been in the write-up so we would have been better prepared,)
    The trip details weren’t as clear as they could be so expectations were not in alignment. Captain Jason was a personable man with a fun sense of humor. However, we could not hear him on the upper deck. We made only two mail deliveries. We did see dolphins, but only for a few seconds. And the group got off the boat for about 20 minutes at Ship Cove where Captain Cook’s commemorative monument is. That was nice. The disappointment came on the way back when we turned from mail boat to water taxi, picking up walkers shuttling them from place to place. We would have preferred a lodge stop along the way for coffee in the same span of time it took us to pickup and deliver all of these walkers. The four of us ended up on the boat’s main floor, trying to see out water-splattered windows for the entire way back. (We noticed some Picton passengers hardly left their seats in the 4 1/2 hour sailing.) Not sure why this excursion was rated so high. Maybe more details for passengers to better understand what to expect (that the 4 hr trip is really mostly running errands). To end on a positive note, Jason’s commentary was engaging and full of interesting information. The reservations team was also terrific.
    Written 20 March 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Packlady2015 Thank you for your review, we are glad to hear that for the most part you enjoyed your trip out on the Mail Boat. The nature of a Mail Boat is that we do pick up and drop off things along the way giving guests a chance to see the most of the sounds as possible, heading in and out of all the smaller bays and coves along the way. Thank you for your kind comments about our team, our skippers and reservation team work really hard to ensure that every guest has a really memorable and personal experience so we are glad to hear that we delivered on that part. Many Thanks!
    Written 21 March 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    geerde
    Melbourne, Australia2 contributions
    Disappointed.
    The girl checking our tickets said to sit up the top to get a clear view. We couldn’t hear the commentary & the wind was very strong.
    The sound was equally poor inside & hard to hear over the engines. When we mentioned to the driver, he said he was surprised & didn’t do anything about it.
    The boat driver did not give a clear commentary. He would just say “out there” not detailed eg to the right at 3 o’clock.
    There was a passenger who spoke to the driver for most of the trip so the commentary wasn’t great as we had the feeling it was interrupting their conversation.
    Lovely country but spoilt by poor sound & poor commentary.
    Written 13 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Susan S
    Richmond, VA17 contributions
    Mar 2022
    An excellent way to view the Queen Charlotte Sounds with engaging commentary from a local resident Postie. The mail recipients were also friendly. The boat was safe and comfortable, with viewing options inside and outside, top and bottom levels, and one could move around throughout the tour and hear the commentary clearly everywhere. Hot instant coffee and tea were available, too. The cashier, Donna, was informative and gracious to us as walk-on's; we did not book online with a reservation, yet she honored the 10% discount "FRIENDLY 10" code. Four stars only because we did NOT stop at Ship's Cove as we had expected, and the boat was due to return at 5:30 to 6:00 PM--yet, we were docked and back on the pier at 4:45 PM; we felt a bit shortchanged. The weather was beautiful, but we had no opportunity to get off at any stop and walk around.
    Written 21 March 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Susan S Thank you for your review, we are really happy to hear that you enjoyed your time on the Queen Charlotte Sounds with us and glad that you could enjoy the discounted ticket. Im sorry to hear that we arrived back to Picton earlier than was expected, this can happen in some cases where we have less mail bags to deliver and less passengers to pick up and drop off along the way.
    Written 3 May 2022
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    David P
    Blenheim, New Zealand44 contributions
    Took the boat trip leaving 9am went to Cooks Cove for half hour to see Captain Cooks monument. And then to Furneaux for lunch. Took about 1.5 hours. Picked up at 4pm for mail trip home stopping punga cove and couple of other bays. Also stoped to watch the Hetcor Dolphins at play.
    Grat trip and captain gave coffee on board, burned to bring your own cup or could buy a reusable one on board for 5 dollars.
    Great trip would recommend to every one.
    Written 3 March 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Allison C
    Newtown5 contributions
    Four of us joined our knowledgeable and fun Captain, Jason and about 60 others on a boat trip to deliver mail. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much mail scheduled for the day and the sound was super windy.
    A tightly fitted hat with a chin strap or a hooded coat highly recommended if you sit on the upstairs outdoor deck. Which is highly recommended. However be prepared for wind and cold. You can also get wet from ocean spray if you sit on the sides.
    The seats in the covered main cabin were comfy but you couldn’t see out the windows because they were spotted with water. It was also stuffy and crowded.
    We saw a few dolphin, birds, a few fish, a few seals, and some beautiful scenery on the way out to a stopping point near the Tasman Sea where Captain Cook landed. We stretched our legs a bit and then jumped back on the boat. This first half of our trip was super fun.
    The 2nd half was extremely disappointing. We stopped several times to pick up people and transport them from one little remote resort to another. We also picked up hikers and transported them. This took us to the same spots as when we rode out. It also added 30 minutes to a very long, windy, cold boat ride.
    Written 20 March 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi Allison C Thank you for your email, we are sorry to hear that the Mail Run did not meet your expectations. Part of the tour does include the visits to the resorts to pick up people who have been out walking for the day, we do find that most people enjoy these stops as you get to see some of the more bays and coves and adds some extra interesting stops. We hope to see you in Picton again at some other time,
    Written 21 March 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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    Queen Charlotte Sound Mail Boat Cruise provided by Beachcomber Cruises