The World’s Weirdest Post Offices
We live in the age of digital postcards, where you can customize your own photos and send them to anyone living anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
What fun is that? There is no sense of true adventure if you don’t have to go through the time-honoured tradition of picking out a postcard, handwriting a message on it and dropping it in a post office box, only to have it arrive weeks, or months later.
For die-hard postcard fans out there, hope is not lost. Postcards haven’t gone the way of the Dodo bird yet; in fact their nostalgic touch seems to be gaining in popularity in a world where the only mail you get is either junk flyers or bills.
Some people like the novelty of sending a postcard from towns with odd names like Hell, Strange, F*ck and Christmas. But that’s a bit too average for us. We want something with a bit of adventure to it, right?
Send a postcard from any of these five special spots and you’ll surely score some travel bragging rights!
Port Lockroy, Antarctica
Discovered by the French 108 years ago, the natural harbour area of Port Lockroy is now home to a small museum and a post office. That’s right, even in Antarctica, there is a post office! Ships haul out bags of postcards from their passengers to have them mailed from this little rocky point in the Antarctic Peninsula.
It doesn’t get much cooler than that does it? Just don’t expect a quick delivery; it can take months for postcards to be delivered.
Yasur Volcano, Vanuatu
The world’s most accessible volcano is in the Vanuatu archipelago—Yasur Volcano, on Tanna Island. It’s also the sight of one of two oddly fascinating postcard offices in Vanuatu.
The post office is nothing more than a pole stuck in the ground with a colourful wooden box on top. But it is located on the side of a lava flow, next to a highly active volcano. Depending on just how violent the volcano is, the post box is moved nearer or further to the lava-spewing caldera.
Would you be willing to dodge flying balls of lava just to send a postcard?
Is it pretty? No. It isn’t even a real post office, in that nothing here actually gets stamped or mailed from the Galapagos.
But it is, perhaps, the most fascinating of all post boxes in the world. At Post Office Bay, travellers drop off their postcards and then sift through hundreds of other postcards left by previous travellers. If you find any addressed to people near your hometown, tradition says you take them with you and deliver them in person.
It’s a very cool concept, and has ties to the old days when sailors would use such boxes to relay messages.
Some people even leave postcards to their unborn children, or themselves, asking them to be left there until the person returns to retrieve it themselves.
The World’s Smallest Post Office in Ochopee, Florida
When a town is home to less than a dozen people, you can expect their post office to be pretty small, too.
The post office at Ochopee, near the Everglades, is nothing more than a shack. It’s just big enough for one person and a few essentials like a phone and computer. There is barely enough room to have a visitor enter the shack to buy a postcard!
And it’s remote: the nearest bathroom is more than a kilometre away.
The World’s First Underwater Post Office, Vanuatu
If the volcano post office was a bit too hot for you, then head to Hideaway Island, which claims to be home to the world’s first underwater post office.
How do you send an underwater postcard? Most people simply hand their postcard to the staff at the above-water desk. But you can also buy a waterproof postcard and stamps to send it yourself. For an hour each day the underwater post office is actually staffed.
The post office is easily reached from the beach. After swimming out about 50 metres, there are buoys in the water that mark the location of the underwater post office. With a deep breath, you dive down three metres to reach the underwater post office and hand your postcard to the scuba-equipped staff member.
The underwater post office was slightly damaged during a recent cyclone, but there is still a small underwater mailbox you can swim to. As it is such a big tourist attraction for Vanuatu, expect the full post office to be operational again very soon.