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    Hector's Dolphin in the Queen Charlotte Sound
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    E-Ko News
    Author: E-Ko Tours
    March 31, 2018

Whale Watching Tour

Humpback Breach in Cook strait

2018 WHALE WATCHING TOUR: May 1 - August 20.

May to August is a fantastic time to go looking for whales in the Cook Strait as it is the annual migration of the Baleen Species of Whale. 


- Only available in limited Numbers. 30 passengers per tour. 

- Limited availability during winter, ONLY during the annual whale migration 

- New Zealand's first whale migration tour.

- Age Range: 16 - 95  Adult 

- Age Range: 12- 15  Child  : # School Holiday Special - 6th July -27th July Only.

- Tour includes our NZ only 'no seasickness guarantee


Whales commonly found on this tour:  

- Humpback Whales 

- Southern Right Whales

- Fin Whales 

- Blue Whales 

- Orca 


Depart from Picton to Perano Whale Station for an Immersive Experience.


We cruise to the historic Perano Whaling Station through the calm, beautiful and majestic Queen Charlotte Sound to the Tory Channel, seeing a variety of marine wildlife on the way.


The Perano Whaling Station is the only restored whaling station in New Zealand. You will be able to see and touch actual machinery used during New Zealand’s whaling era.


You will experience a specially commissioned audio-visual presentation that tells the stories of the whaling era in the whalers' old recreation building.


See how whalers and their families lived and worked back in those days at this beautiful but isolated location.


How they changed from hunters to conservationists and became part of the Department of Conservation whale migration survey for 10 years. 


You will have time to wander the station to touch and feel the artefacts, go to the station working floor and actually touch the winches and machinery.


Measure out a whale and hear the stories and read the Department of Conservation information on display at their facility.


You will get a genuine feel for what it was to be a whaler two centuries ago.


In addition, you will see a display on current whale research; learn about the increasing migrating whale population and the Cook Strait Whale Survey.


During the 2015 season, an incredible 140 Whales were recorded in 30 days.


Every year more Baleen Whales migrate and you can be one of the very few people able to observe this.


Tour Bonus: Yealands Wine and Sealords Mussels available on Tours (tasting) 

We are working with Other Sustainable Local Iconic Businesses to provide the best that Marlborough can offer, which on this tour is a free wine and mussel tasting.  Yum!

World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) Partner

We are the first SMART Department Of Convservation Operator to also become a WCA Partner to help promote ocean conservation on a global scale. 


Head into Cook Strait to Look for Whales.

Get your own set of binoculars and Whale ID cards and help to find a whale while onboard the fully covered and stable vessel. We stay inshore within 2km of the coastline as this is where the whales travel.


Experience what it is like to see migrating Baleen Whales as they travel on the surface in this whale hotspot.


This area historically is where whaling began in 1829 as it was prolific and is the best place in New Zealand to see migrating whales over the winter months.


This area had 10 operational Whale Stations as it was hugely prolific in Whales.


Now the whales are returning to their traditional migration route, directly passing the old restored Perano Whale Station at Tory Channel entrance.


This is your opportunity to experience New Zealand history and our new focus on Ocean Conservation. 


From Hunters to Conservationists - This is an Incredible Kiwi Story.


Please Note:  Going out into Cook Strait is subject to acceptable weather conditions assessed on the day from the Whale Station. If NO whales sighted then a $50 refund given. * does not apply to discounted fares  * child refund $30 


Departures :          0800 - 1200  or (afternoon booking for Groups over 8 or on request )  1230 - 1730 

Days          :           Sundays and Wednesdays. Other days possible for group booking over 10 passengers  (please contact us)

Starting     :           1st May  and finishing 20th August 

Price          :           $145 per Adult passenger   

Price          :           $125 per Child passenger  ( 6th July - 27th July Only )   


Booking    :            info@e-ko.nz     Phone :  00 64 3 573 8040


A fantastic opportunity for a limited number of people to fully immerse themselves in a whale experience during an annual migration.  See and feel the history, see the conservation in action and go out to sea in a boat looking for the migrating giants travelling on the surface close to shore.

Customer Reviews 

Trip Advisor - 5 Star *****

19 Jun 2017: Reviewed by ClarePinder1
What a great trip out to see migrating whales in Cook Strait. When we got into Cook Strait I wondered how we were going to be able to see any whales as the area is so vast.
But Paul had it covered with whale spotters up the hill and they saw two large whales quite quickly.
They surfaced about 8 times close to the boat. What an awesome experience. We also went to the old whaling station which was great background information.
Put this on your list. But they only migrate in winter so book in quick.

Facebook - 5 Star *****

Coral Smith reviewed E-Ko Tours — 5 star

Absolutely brilliant, we were blessed enough to see 2 humpback whales.

The Perano whale station Is a must if you are into our local history.????


Facebook - 5 Star *****

Cathy Leov reviewed E-Ko Tours — 5 star
June 19 · 

We had a fantastic time yesterday - we saw whales! (and dolphins and fur seals and all sorts of seabirds)



Commonly seen on this tour

Bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins

(Tursiops truncatus)

Bottlenose dolphins are found throughout the world's oceans (except for extreme polar latitudes) and are frequent visitors to the Marlborough Sounds all year long. These dolphins move into the Sounds in large social groups, consisting of groups ranging from 2 - 60 individuals!

New Zealand Fur Seal

New Zealand Fur Seal

(Arctocephalus forsteri)

Population: about 200,000, half of which are in Australia.
Found on: rocky shores throughout mainland New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, and the Subantarctic islands, as well as parts of Australia.


Fur seals and sea lions are distinguished from other seals by their external ear flaps and hind flippers which rotate forward, allowing them to move quickly on land.

Departure Information

  • Duration

    4-5 hours
  • Briefing Time

    Viewing Only - 30 Minutes before tour departure


No 1 Wellington Street Picton
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  • Whale Watching Tour in Picton
  • Whale Station Experience
  • Whale Tour in Cook Strait
More Info

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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.