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“A trip into another time”
Review of Pelorus Mail Boat

Pelorus Mail Boat
Ranked #2 of 9 things to do in Havelock
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: An all day cruise through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds delivering mail and groceries to remote and secluded properties. The Pelorus Sound is the largest of the Sounds and the Mail Boat is a lifeline to the people living in this boat access wonderland.You will hear a great selection of stories about life in the sounds, its history, and how the mail has been delivered like this since 1918.You will also get to experience the marine and bird life in the area including 5 types of Dolphins, Australasian Gannets, rare Shags, Seals and many more.A full Mussel Farm tour is also included and there is usually an opportunity to see the Mussel Boats operating during harvesting or seeding.
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A trip into another time”
Reviewed 14 March 2014

This trip was the highlight of our time in New Zealand: a warm day on calm water, travelling into small inlets to deliver mail and supplies to homes not serviced by road.

Jimmy and Penny were great hosts to a disparate group of passengers, pointing out interesting locations and explaining how things work.

We sat on the bow for most of day. It was cool there in the morning but there was much more to see, hear and smell out there. Many others perched on the stern, on the upper deck or inside the cabin.

The local people seem to take well to being photographed by tourists at their docks when they receive their parcels. The tourist income helps keep the mail boats costs down so it's of benefit to them. Some of our fellow passengers were locals returning after shopping trips into town.

Our Tuesday voyage included a lunch stop at a lodge where we could buy food and/or eat what we brought with us at picnic tables.

The scenery was gorgeous. There was fog in the morning as we left Havelock. It lifted as we got further into the sound and the sun got higher. Unfortunately we didn't see much wildlife: no whales or dolphins. It would have been a bonus.

We stopped to watch mussel harvesters at work on a barge, which I found interesting. A larger scale operation than I've seen in Prince Edward Island.

A few days before we had driven from Picton to Havelock on Queen Charlotte Drive. The views were spectacular, but watching the scenery was taking our lives into our hands. The road was narrow with blind corners and hairpin turns. Even getting into and out of overlook parking sites was hazardous. We came upon one accident and nearly had one ourselves. The mail boat gave us access to even more stunning scenery and we could leave the driving to Penny and Jimmy.

Visited February 2014
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Thank 876543
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
St Helens, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Discover the Sounds”
Reviewed 11 March 2014

When visiting New Zealand, the thing I wanted to do most was a trip on the Mail Boat, and am I glad that we did.
Jim and his side kick Penny were great hosts for what turned out to be a fabulous day..starting at 9.30am, we picked the all day sailing compared to Tuesday and Thursdays smaller ones...and arrived home at 6pm.....tea, coffee and biscuits are provided but take your own lunch.......
We dropped lady passenger home after being to Havelock and picking up groceries, complete with faithful dog as well..Michelle got off the boat, carried two bags of groceries home - walking for half and hour, got her dingy - rowed back to pick up the rest of her purchases and then rowed home again...not a young lady by any means, they breed 'em tough in the Sounds....she does this once a month...we saw Mussel farming, blue penguins, beautiful fur seals, and two very determined pigs waiting on the wharf for their morning tea biscuits, after running down the hill as soon as they saw the Mail boat appear.....only thing we missed out on was the dolphins, they must have been hiding that day......
dropping off mail to the residents in the sounds is sometimes the only contact these people have with other people, and they look forward to Jim coming along once a week...the mail gets delivered three days a week, but only once to the same people.....children rely on the Mail Boat Service for their School work.....we dropped off a hitchhiker with her bike ....all in all a great experience for 44 people on board that day, and they come from all over, Scotland, America, Canada, and Australia...
So if you're in the area of Havelock in the South Island make sure you drop in and say high - you won't regret it......

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Suncoast527
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent, UK
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Wonderful day”
Reviewed 7 March 2014

We were picked up by Penny at 7 am from Blenheim. A very early start to a truly spectacular day. Penny was the best chauffeur, host, commentator and asst skipper. Lovely trip not to be missed. A delight on the eye and fabulous insight into how people live, work and survive in the outer reaches of the Sounds at one with nature. Wildlife, scenery, stunning weather just form part of the day. Not to be missed people!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank mossyKent_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Awesome day out...a must do”
Reviewed 4 March 2014

What a fabulous day doing the Pelorous Mail Run with Jim and Penny. Their commentary, interaction with the passengers and knowledge of the area added so much to the trip. We were lucky to get a beautiful fine day but I wouldn't hesitate to go out even if it was wet or cold as there are both indoor and outdoor areas to view the fantastic scenery and locals coming down to their jettys for their mail and supplies. Would definitely consider doing one of the other routes that the boat does whether it was winter or summer. Tea, coffee and biscuits are supplied but you take your lunch with you ( make sure you have a few coins in your pocket to purchase the home made cakes and bikkies to support the local kids!). It's nice to know that by doing one of these runs it helps to keep the mail run going for these isolated places and you get to see a really special part of New Zealand. Relaxing, interesting and fun day out. Hope more kiwis take this trip to experience a bit more of our own back yard!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank qwanaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide, Australia
2 reviews
“Simply the best”
Reviewed 3 March 2014

The day started early withy Penny collecting us from Picton. The drive allowed as to develop a bond with Penny who introduced us to what we would experience. It all came true. Miss this trip on the Sound and your soul will be short changed forever. Become aware of the joys and hardships of those who have decided to make it their home. Captain Jim and 1st Officer Penny explain the details of the cruise and you never want it to end. The drive back to Picton is a gentle release from the experience. It is truly great experience to allow us to share this world.

For those with a mobility disability this cruise has good potential to suit you. Speak to Jim and Penny.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Graham B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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