Message in a bottle returns to Wanaka family

Pictured: Thomas and Amelia with dog Billy, their letters and Margaret’s reply.  Photo: Sarah Mitchell

When seven-year-old Thomas Mitchell and nine-year-old Amelia Mitchell sent a message in a bottle out to sea in 2014, they hoped that somebody would find it and send a reply.

Three years later, Holy Family School student Thomas, now 10, and Mount Aspiring College student Amelia, now 13, have had their reply in the post, all the way from North Queensland, Australia.

Thomas and Amelia’s mother Sarah Mitchell said the family thought it would be a “really neat” idea to put the message in the sea at their crib in Pounawea, the Catlins, in the hope that someone would find it.

“We lived in Alexandra at the time and didn’t think anything of it. We’d all completely forgotten about it until the lady we sold our house to told us there was some post at the house for the kids from Australia. I couldn’t think for the life of me what it could be, but it turned out to be this lovely letter from a lady in Mackay,” Sarah said.

“The kids got their atlas out and started looking and saw that the bottle had travelled over 3,500km. They were so excited. The distance it has travelled over the three years has amazed me.”

The family plan to write back to their new pen pal Margaret, who was born in New Zealand and has family in Queenstown.

Margaret said in her letter that she thought the children were wonderful for making such a great adventure out of a message in a bottle.

“It was so kind of her to write back and we want to thank her very much for her lovely letter. If she’s ever visiting her family in Queenstown, the kids would even like to meet her some day,” Sarah said.

Pictured: Thomas and Amelia with dog Billy, their letters and Margaret’s reply.  Photo: Sarah Mitchell

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