Day 80 on the Road
Mail Boat Cruise in the Marlborough Sounds
Check out what it’s like to do a Marlborough Sounds Mail Boat Cruise in our “New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year” daily travel vlog.
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Today is our first day in the South Island and I really want to start on a high so I’ve booked us into a Mail Cruise.
This morning we’re waking up in the lovely Tombstone Backpackers where they make freshly baked scones every single morning for their guests absolutely free so we’re having breakfast then borrowing the car to go down to the harbour for our activity of the day.
We are going to explore Marlborough Sounds How? on the Mail boat! We’re going to deliver some mail. What? Why? Because there’s so many remote places in the middle of the Marlborough Sounds they need to still get their mail so we’re gonna go give it to them.
The seals are waving away going seal you later high five.
The Mail [boat] Cruise is probably one of the most iconic activities to do in Picton it covers most of the Marlborough Sounds while delivering mail to some of its inhabitants and letting tourists like us see those places for ourselves. the mail are delivered in bags that bare the name of the cove or bay that they need to go to and Bruce simply exchanges the bags full of mail for empty bags that the inhabitants just give him back. There are five scheduled stops on our cruise today but the cruise is different depending on who needs their mail delivered but we’re seeing some really remote places. Some places where a guy has to trail his mail up the mountain in a train.
the Marlborough Sounds are looking absolutely stunning today despite the weather looking a little atmospheric shall we say? Totally different to what we saw yesterday when we took the ferry down the Marlborough Sounds. It’s absolutely cloud covered and raining but it just gives it that eerie sort of look to the mountains.
And the awesome thing today is that there is only us on the boat. There is absolutely no one else in this cruise. This is the beauty of doing a tour in winter. Usually you’re in really small groups or you have it all to yourself.
Some of the inhabitants are much happier than others to see Bruce coming. Because he’s coming baring gifts. And you can see the excitement in their eyes. We arrive in a bay that has about four or five dogs waiting for Bruce super excited because he’s coming with some little treats for them. Because some of those places are so isolated Bruce tells us that his job is also to provide a social link to the inhabitants. He’s taking the time to have a bit of a five 10 minute chat with each of them giving them news about what happens back in the town and also what happens in the world because a lot of them don’t have phones internet or any other connection with the world.
We’re getting in on the action to feeding the adorable dogs which I personally just want to take one back on the boat with us and travel around New Zealand with but unfortunately Bruce won’t let us.
As we’re cruising through the Marlborough Sounds we are having some complimentary tea and coffee which as an English person I am always happy to hear. And while we’re sipping on some hot beverages Bruce is telling us more about the history of the Marlborough Sounds as well as the type of wildlife that we’re likely to see on the [mail boat] cruise. Including dolphins maybe we’ll see a few seabirds, maybe even a whale? But who knows what we’ll see.
Bruce keeps going from one cove to the other providing mail and news to its inhabitants it’s absolutely awesome to see him do his job in such an amazing place. To be quite honest the eerie and mystical weather that we’re having right now to most people it looks absolutely atrocious but to me it just makes the sounds look so much better. Bruce also takes the time to tell me how difficult it is to navigate the boat in the sound especially in summer when there’s so much traffic including the massive ferries that link the North and the South Island.
Being the big kid that Robin is he asks Bruce if he can take the helm and become the captain of the Beachcomber Cruise. So far, he’s just been doing the windscreen wipers, pressing a few buttons and trying to avoid islands which I’m pretty happy about.
captain Robin is nailing the cruise so far, we are not even lost.
And we’re still on the lookout for the dolphin pods that actually stay around the Marlborough Sounds all year round. It’s just a matter of finding where they are.
I still have hope in finding dolphins around the sounds. Despite the weather making the visibility quite bad. And we keep on our making our way to the furthest point that we’re going to visit today which is Punga Cove. This is our last stop for today we are delivering a little bit of mail taking a little bit of time to say hi to the owners and check out the area. before making our way back toward Picton.
There’s one more unscheduled stop on our mail boat cruise so we say hello to one more doggy before making our way back to Picton. The last leg of our journey is even more beautiful than the previous one as we are just rushing through the sounds making it for an amazing timelapse.
Laura just took a *** and it’s a bit burning my eyes right here. that’s the harsh reality of travelling together. We get to know each other until a chemical level hazard. I lost my train of thought. I mean I think I lost my brain it just liquefied. It took like one breathe and it just went… Alright I’m going to try to.. It smells so bad.