Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Mail Boat Cruise

Let me take you to this little, little town called Picton, which is one of my favorite places on Earth.

It is in the Marlborough region of South Island, New Zealand.

Cook Strait Cruise Wellington Picton

To get there, take one of the inter-island ferries that crosses the Cook Strait from Wellington, North Island to Picton, South Island.
We, including our rented car, took the Interislander ferry while the sun was still rising.
The travel time was 3 hours.. But with the scenery of the Cook Strait, 3 hours was way too short. 

Cook Strait Cruise Wellington Picton

That's one of the views.. no, not me. Behind me! Haha!
The beauty of New Zealand is that.. What you see in the photos, is what you will get in reality. 
Or reality may even be more beautiful.
Their blue waters are just unbelievably blue.. green blue.. blue green.. just amazing!

Mail boat Cruise Picton New Zealand

So what did we do at Picton?
The Mail Boat Cruise! And I really loved it!!

Mail boat Cruise Picton New Zealand

What is the Mail Boat Cruise?

Mailboat Cruise Picton New Zealand

You see the map on the left? That's where Picton is. 
Notice that the shape of the land is like a few jagged combs...
Lots of people live along those bays and coves!

Well, maybe not really a lot.. but let's say around 1 or 2 couples per bay or cove.
And then there are a few resorts there as well.. very very few. And of course, tourists. And hikers.

The mail boat is actually just a "postman" that delivers mails and freight by boat. 

Most of these bays and coves are inaccessible by land, and so the Royal New Zealand Post reaches out to these happy dwellers by water.

Aside from delivering mails and groceries, the mail boat also collects the residents' garbage and mail packages; and pick up or drop off hikers along the nature trails, and tourists at the resorts.  

Fortunately, they have made this daily delivery and collection of goods as a tourist attraction. 
So, the mail captain will no longer be lonely everyday! 
He goes around the most beautiful and remote bays with an entourage of tourists who are relaxing and enjoying the views, and watching life as it happens in paradise.

Mailboat Cruise Picton New Zealand

Mailboat Cruise Picton New Zealand

All the inhabited bays have a pier, and the residents usually have pets. 
Dogs, Pigs and Goats.
These contented people are usually at the pier waiting, with all their stuff ready. 
And then, they exchange goods with the mail captain.

The boat has a different route everyday, and these people know their scheduled mail day.

Mailboat Cruise Picton New Zealand

But that's not all. 

Charlotte Sound Picton

The mail boat also remembers that tourists, are tourists. 

And so, for a few minutes, it would drop the tourists off at the historic Ship Cove to explore the beach a little.

Mailboat Cruise Charlotte Sound

Captain Cook has a memorial here as this is where he used to anchor his ship The Endeavor.
Not that I'm a fan of history.. but well, it's here for people to see.

Captain Cook New Zealand

Captain Cook New Zealand

The cruise departs at 1:30 PM everyday, except on Sundays.
It takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on the number of errands on that day.

Marlborough Sound New Zealand

Marlborough Sound New Zealand

The mail boat cruise is one of my most favorite travel experiences. 
I find it really unique. Or maybe, I'm just too deprived in the city.

I loved witnessing the reality of how the local people chose to live...
As well as appreciating what made them choose to live there.
Most of them at the bays are retirees who preferred the comfort of privacy and seclusion, matched with fresh air, nature walks, beautiful beaches and hills. And they all have boats.

Picton Harbour New Zealand

Arriving back from the cruise.. the beauty of Picton continues.

Picton New Zealand

That bay in the photograph above is the backdrop of the town.
It makes Picton one of the loveliest little towns I have ever seen.

Picton New Zealand

Tombstone Backpackers Picton

And to cap the day, here is another thrill. 
We stayed at the Tombstone Backpackers where we rested in peace!
Don't be too scared.. the rooms are not tombs. 
They are very nice, clean and comfortable rooms for breathing people. The concept was really cool!

Also check out: Beautiful Wanaka :)


Full Trip Itinerary and Budget - New Zealand - North Island to South Island Road Trip Itinerary

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