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    Hector's Dolphin in the Queen Charlotte Sound
    Latest Article

    Photo of the Week March 31st

    E-Ko News
    Author: E-Ko Tours
    March 31, 2018

Dolphin Swim or View Experience

Swimming with Dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds

Enjoy the best dolphin experience in the majestic Marlborough Sounds with the award winning local wildlife experts.


We take you where the wildlife is!


Join us on New Zealand's best dolphin experience in the calm waters of the scenic Marlborough Sounds.


Our degree qualified guides are there to make sure you (and the dolphins) have the best and safest experience possible.


We'll be searching for Dusky, Bottlenose, Common, Orca and the rare Hector's dolphins that frequent this unique area. 


Whether it's watching a group quietly cruising along or marvelling at their high leaps, back-flips and somersaults during social bouts, dolphins are a magnificent sight! 


Our special Department of Conservation permits allow us to seek out and interact with all species of marine mammals that live in the Sounds.


We'll take you there and provide respectful interactions with these amazing creatures. 


During the cruise, we're also likely to see NZ Fur Seals and a variety of seabirds (like Gannets, Shearwaters and Penguins).

Once spotted, we’ll cruise with the dolphins and get the swimmers ready if conditions allow.  As a permitted operator, we abide by the rules and regulations established for dolphin swimming and viewing activities. 


If conditions are good, then we’ll place you in the water where you will experience a true adventure for your soul - an experience you'll never forget.


Once you come out the water your guides will be waiting with drinks and cookies which you can enjoy while we cruise back to Picton.


Unlike other dolphin swimming operations around New Zealand where several boats are around the same group of dolphins, we are Picton's only Dolphin Swimming operator - that means we're the only boat with swimmers in the water with a group of dolphins.


All equipment is provided for you. Just bring your swim wear, a towel, your camera and a sense of adventure.


We primarily operate in an area of little to no sea swell - meaning seasickness is never an issue for our guests.  In fact we guarantee no sea sickness on all our tours - and are the only Dolphin swim/view operator confident enough to do this. 


Pricing for Swimming with Dolphins


    • -Swim Prices - Adult $165, Child $135 (includes equipment rental valued at $16)


    • -View Prices - Adult $99, Child $55


    • -Swim briefing starts 08:15 and departure at 09:00


    • -View briefing starts 08:30 and departure at 09:00 



We are located conveniently on Picton's main Waterfront with car parking close by and only a 1-minute walk from the main street. Just look for the Dusky Dolphin outside our shop!


Come inside to see our stunning display of life size models of the wildlife species you will encounter on your experience. Wildlife information can be downloaded FREE to your phone. 


Board our purpose built vessels at our floating wharf for your small group experience before embarking on your cruise through the scenic and sheltered waters of the southern Queen Charlotte Sound.


Even though this tour is in the calm sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds it is still an open ocean experience and in order to swim with the dolphins you should be confident in the open ocean.


If you have any concerns please call us and talk to one of our expert guides who will help assess your suitability to participate in this tour.


You will be required to sign a declaration stating you are medically fit andhHealthy and also a liability disclaimer if you are participating in the swimming experience. 


Costomer Reviews :

Trip Advisior - 5 Star *****
6 May 2017 Reviewed by Sarcha-Joseph H
We took my 80 year old nana dolphin watching for her birthday and had the most amazing day!!!
We were treated to three pods of hector dolphins and then a large group of bottle nose.
Both Paul and Tristan on board the Boat where fantastic at pointing out all the wild life along the way and explaining all the local history also. We were very lucky to have a small group on board that day so plenty of room to sit and move around as we pleased.
The tour operates in very sheltered parts so it was such a calm trip barely noticed you were on a boat all day. Definitely a must do!!!!!


FaceBook - 5 Star *****

Chanella Hall reviewed E-Ko Tours — 5 star

I can't put it into words how my experience was like, it was beyond amazing that they were a hands length away and even closer alot of the time. It will be something I will never forget.


We are saving again to come back as soon as possible, hopefully this year or the start off next year. And thank you to our instructer and captain (im sorry im bad with names) you guys were awesome!!


I didn't want to leave. Anyway we will see you again soon. Thanks again :)


FaceBook - 5 Star *****

Sean Glover reviewed E-Ko Tours — 5 star

There should be a rating of double star 10 then maybe you'll get an idea of just how good these guys are.


Swimming with wild dolphins in near lake conditions with fun and knowledgeable guides .... Can't get any better. Truly.


Commonly seen on this tour

Dusky Dolphin

Dusky Dolphin

(Lagenorhynchus obscurus)

The Dusky dolphin is found in coastal waters in the southern hemisphere. Their size varies greatly from the different population areas with the largest found in Peru at around 210cm long and the smallest in New Zealand at around 170cm.

Hector's Dolphin

Hector's Dolphin

(Cephalorhynchus hectori)

The Hector's dolphin is one of the world's smallest cetaceans at approximately 1.4m in length. It is only found in New Zealand and is our only endemic cetacean. It can be found in the north and south islands and has an estimated population of around 13, 000 individuals.

Departure Information

  • Duration

    2-4 hours
  • Briefing Time

    Swimming - 45 Minutes before tour departure Viewing Only - 30 Minutes before tour departure


Wellington Street Picton
View Map View Map


  • 5 possible dolphins species
  • Dolphins that are wild and FREE!
  • Fantastic photo opportunities
More Info

Tour Gallery

Conservation Initiatives

Here at E-Ko Tours we are proud to follow the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978 and the Marine Mammal Protection Regulations 1992. These ensure the marine mammals of New Zealand are protected and that their conservation is a top priority. Our interactions with the marine mammals of the Marlborough Sounds adhere to all regulations and our conservation focused tours are designed to educate and raise awareness about conservation in the Marlborough Sounds.