Pelorus Mail Boat

If you want to experience a very unique slice of rural living on the South Island in New Zealand you should consider taking a trip on the Pelorus Mail Boat.

During our recent trip to New Zealand my wife and I joined a couple of dozen other tourists on the Friday Mail Run, which travels the greatest distance of three Mail Runs the boat makes each week.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-160

The boat leaves from the dock in Havelock which is located at the Head of the Pelorus Sound.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD @ 10.6mm, efov 28.6mm, 1/80, f/5.6, ISO-160

The Pelorus Mail Boat is quite comfortable with interior seating, an open observation deck, and a partially protected rear deck.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD @ 10.6mm, efov 28.6mm, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO-160

Our tour was a full day from 9:30AM through to about 5:30PM. Light refreshments are served, but unless you’re in a fasting mode you’ll need to bring a lunch with you.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 48mm, efov 130mm, 1/160, f/6.3, ISO-160

You’ll see plenty of interesting scenery while the Pelorus Mail Boat does its deliveries of mail and groceries to area residents along the various waterways.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO-400

The crew is very knowledgeable about the local history as well as the sea mammals and marine birds that live in the area.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 162mm, efov 437mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO-360

We really appreciated the fact that the tour progressed at a leisurely pace which was very relaxing. The crew was more than accommodating when any wildlife was spotted and altered their course so we could see the various animals as close up as possible.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO-2000

I was able to capture images of fur seals, penguins, Australasian gannets, fluttering shearwaters, a few species of shags like the spotted shag below, and the rare King Shag. We also saw dolphins but I was busy photographing the birds and didn’t get any photographs of the dolphins.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 173mm, efov 467mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO-900

The Pelorus Mail Boat has a number of tours available with the Mail Runs going on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Each mail day has a different route. The adult price of the Mail Run was $128 NZ which we found represented good value given the duration and quality of the cruise, and the friendly and knowledgeable crew. If you plan on visiting the South Island of New Zealand and want to experience a unique slice of rural life, the Pelorus Mail Boat is something to seriously consider.

I’ll be covering the Pelorus Mail Boat in more detail in my upcoming New Zealand photography e-book.

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3 thoughts on “Pelorus Mail Boat”

  1. unique is right – what a delightful trip that must have been! I love the color of the water in the last photo. That bird has a neat looking pot-a-dot texture on his feathers. Wonderful rocky shoreline in photo number five!

    1. Hi Joni,
      Yes…lots of interesting things to see and photograph. The crew was great – very knowledgeable and accommodating. We did this tour on the final day we spent on the South Island and it was a wonderful way to end that portion of our journey.

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