One of South Island’s oldest tourist attractions, the full-day Pelorous Sound Mail Run dates back to 1912. Rural dwellers would row out to the post offices on a regular basis to collect their post, groceries, and farming supplies.
In 1925, it was decided that a home delivery service should commence, and the idea of allowing fee-paying tourists to join the run was born. Havelock and its nearby Sounds was already an area steeped in Maori and European history. The Maori sailed their waka through here over 1000 years ago, and in the 1770s Captain James Cook followed the scores of explorers who had sailed the region before him. Whalers, farmers and fisherman saw the Sounds as a natural goldmine and flocked to the area, building houses wherever they could access these riches.
The mail boat now runs several times a week, but each route runs only once weekly. Depending on departure day, passengers may see dolphins, seals, blue penguins, gannets, or endangered birds such as Takahe and pink-footed King Shags.
The postman still delivers farming supplies, medical items and general mail to the inhabitants of Pelorous Sound – offloading items on a small beach, or meeting rowing-dinghy owners at a pre-determined point in the Sound to pass goods from one vessel to the other – but now things are slightly more comfortable for those onboard, with an indoor area for those bad-weather days, and the opportunity to visit mussel farms and other sites of interest en route.
What our travellers enjoy about the Pelorous Sound Mail Run…
- Using the boat as transport to fascinating accommodations featured in secluded bays
- Meeting the children who rely on the boat to bring their school work as part of the remote correspondence programme
- Visiting one of the oldest farms in the Sounds, learning the rich history of early settlers, and getting involved with the livestock!
- Taking a dip in the refreshing waters of a private bay (time and weather permitting)