Pelorus Mail Boat Cruise

Cruise some of the most remote parts of the Marlborough Sounds onboard the Pelorus Mail Boat - learn the history, meet the locals on this full-day cruise – no roads, ferries or cruise ships.

  • Discover hidden bays and coves – that most tourists never see
  • Learn the fascinating history of the characters who live tucked away from the world
  • See local wildlife up close and personal, and learn about rare species that call the Malborough Sounds home

Pelorus Mail Boat departs at 10am from the friendly little township of Havelock (30 minutes from Blenheim, 45 minutes from Picton and an hour from Nelson) and cruises the Pelorus Sound for 5-6.5 hours delivering mail and supplies to inlets and jetties.

Cruise includes a bird colony visit and commentary on the history of the Pelorus Sound and its residents, as well as complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits. Depending on the day, Mail Boat cruises may also include a walk or farm tour, and the chance to take a swim.


Tour Overview

5-6.5 hours


FREE for up to two children (5-14 years) per adult, then $50/child

FREE for children under 5

Cruises depart Mon, Wed & Fri year-round
The Pelorus Express, our launch docked at Pier B, Havelock Marina


Arrive at Pier B, Havelock Marina
Depart Havelock - cruise Pelorus Sound, may include mussel farm tour or bush walk
Stop for lunch - either purchase at Te Rawa Lodge or bring your own
Cruise Pelorus Sound - may include bird colony visit or farm tour
Return to Havelock


We are smoke free
At Marlborough Tour Company, we’re dedicated to ensuring the comfort and safety of our guests, as well as their enjoyment of the stunning natural environment that surrounds us. We are also committed to environmentally sustainable practises. For these reasons, all Marlborough Tour Company vehicles and cruise vessels are smoke free.
Thank you for your cooperation.


Which route/cruise is best?

Believe us when we say – they are all the best! Each day provides a different run, so the locations are slightly different, but you can always be guaranteed to see stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and experience the fantastic commentary from our onboard crew.

How is the Sunday Cruise different to the Mail Boat run?

The only difference is that we don’t deliver mail or supplies – it is simply focused on enjoying the best scenery of the Pelorus Sound. (Which you will see on every route!)

What about the weather?

The Marlborough Sounds is a very sheltered area so it is rare for the Mail Boat not to run.

Marlborough also has some of the highest sunshine hours of anywhere in New Zealand. But, of course, we are still susceptible to the odd wild wet and windy day – so you are welcome to ring us for a skipper’s weather report (much more accurate than the TV or internet for the local area).

If the weather is not to your liking there is no cancellation fee but we do appreciate a call to let us know you are not coming.

While obviously a lot colder – Autumn and Winter weather can be stunning, with glassy calm conditions a regular feature at these times of year. Just bring an extra layer and you’ll enjoy some spectacular light and colours at this time of year. It’s also much quieter on the boat and there are more dolphins too.

Do you actually deliver mail?

Yes. We are a genuine Royal Mail delivery service to the Pelorus Sound community. We also deliver freight, groceries and transfer residents and holiday makers to and from their property.

What wildlife are we likely to see?

We see all sorts of wildlife and every day is different. Some days we can see lots and then other days we don’t. The weather, tide, time of year and luck all play a part on what we see.

Regularly we will come across Little Blue Penguins, White Fronted Terns, Fluttering Shearwaters, 5 species of Shags including King Shags (New Zealand’s rarest), Spotted Shags and Pied Shags. We also see New Zealand Fur Seals, Stingrays and 3 species of Dolphins – Dusky Dolphins, Common Dolphins and Bottle Nose Dolphins, along with very occasional sightings of Orca.

We also see the various and eclectic pets that the residents have on land – from dogs to chickens, Kunekune pigs to ostriches, from goats to llamas.

Can we pay by credit card?

Yes, we take Visa, Mastercard or New Zealand EFTPOS

How do we pay for lunch at The Lodge at Te Rawa?

You are able to pay by cash, eftpos or credit card.

What do we need to bring?

  • Bring your own lunch (we have free tea, coffee and filtered water on board)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunhat (unless you want to purchase one of our exclusive sunhats available on board)
  • Camera, memory card and battery
  • Different layers of clothing – the weather can change
  • Money, if you plan on purchasing lunch
  • Swim wear for our Thursday cruise if you want to have a swim

Are there toilets on board?

Yes, there are two traditional household toilets on board.

Do you have wheelchair access?

Yes, we do have partial wheelchair access. Some mobility is required and prior notice is recommended and a maximum of two per cruise.

Is there vehicle parking available at the marina?

Yes, there is lots of parking at the marina for all sizes of vehicles. The parking is owned by the marina company and they charge $6 per day. There is some free parking available elsewhere in Havelock and it is a short walk to the marina.

What time do we get back?

Return time varies quite a bit depending on the number of deliveries on the day, what the tide is doing and also what we see on the day. We aim to be back between 4pm and 5pm (and a little earlier in the winter) but we run a relaxed schedule and do our utmost to enjoy what we see on the day, so this can vary our return time significantly.

Do you allow kayaks, bikes and dogs on board?

Yes, we can carry kayaks, bikes and dogs. However, we do have limited space at certain times of year so please contact us with your specific requirements on [email protected], or call 03 574 1088.



Head to the Pelorus Mail Boat Book Now page to book a cruise. Or the Contact us page if you have a question or need some assistance to book.