There are several areas on the trail where it is convenient to mail a food drop, rather than struggling to resupply out of a tiny dairy or hitchhiking extremely long distances on low traffic roads. Below are common places to mail food drops.
When mailing a food drop, always write your name and rough expected arrival date in an obvious place on the box. It is generally preferable to call the place you wish to send your package ahead of time and let them know to expect it in the mail.
This food drop is usually not needed, as most hikers make it from Cape Reinga to Ahipare in one go. It is possible to hitch from Hukatere to a small 4Square in Houhora. However if you want to start with a less heavy backpack from Cape Reinga, this might be for you.
- Hukatere Lodge is 70km south from Cape Reinga
c/o HUKATERE LODGE
PO BOX 19
Host phone is 021884145. The parcel needs about 3-4 days to arrive.
This is a less common food drop, as there is a Four Square in Havelock. However, it is relatively small and expensive, and usually has to supply 9+ days of food for the Pelorus River/Richmond Alpine Range section. Some prefer to mail cheaper/more varied food from Wellington or Picton. Note that the postage cost probably cancels out any real savings on food.
- Blue Moon Backpackers accepts packages from people planning to stay there:
c/o Bluemoon Lodge
48 Main Rd Havelock
St. Arnaud is probably the most common town to mail a food drop to. It is very remote, and catching a ride back after resupplying in Nelson or Blenheim is very difficult.
- The Travers-Sabine Lodge accepts packages from people planning to stay there:
c/o Travers-Sabine Lodge
P.O. Box 15
St. Arnaud, 7053
- The Alpine Lodge also accepts packages for guests. Contact them directly for the address.
Boyle Village is a relatively popular food drop destination. The "village" is not much more than a wide spot in the road. Many people choose to hitchhike to Hanmer Springs, and resupply there.
- The Boyle River Outdoor Education Center is located directly on the trail, and will accept packages for guests.
Arthur's Pass is another fairly common food drop destination. This is a more active tourist town, so hitching to/from AP is somewhat easier than, say, St. Arnaud.
The Mountain House accepts packages for guests, or non-guests for 5$:
c/o The Mountain House
P.O. Box 12
Arthur's Pass, 7654
Resupplying in Lake Coleridge is not really possible. The alternative to a food box here is to hitch out to Methven. Lake Coleridge is just north of the Raikaia River Hazard Zone. Most people attempt to hitch around the river, and choose to make their way to Methven to resupply in person.
- The Lake Coleridge Lodge accepts packages for guests. Note that this is an expensive option - accommodation at the Lodge starts at $65/night for a tent site, and there is a "rural delivery" surcharge on the postage.
c/o Lake Coleridge Lodge
114 Hummocks Road
CMB 18, Lake Coleridge Village