Enjoy our intimate 4 hour wildlife and Dolphin cruise in the majestic Marlborough Sounds with the award winning local wildlife experts, departing at 13:30 daily.
Embark on a fully guided wildlife and dolphin cruise like no other. Travel through Marlborough's Queen Charlotte Sound to unique Wildlife Sanctuary Islands, encountering a huge variety of rare, wonderful and interesting species along the way.
Our passionate expert guides will be with you all the way - our team are passionate about the local environment and love to share it's unique aspects with our small groups
Motuara Island is predator free and is home to some rare species such as the yellow-crowned parakeet and saddleback.
Cruise the clear, calm waters of the Marlborough Sounds on a scenic journey to Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary, and relax in the knowledge that that you'll be with the only NZ operator that guarantees you will not get sea sick.
Our comfortable vessels and expert team take you on a conservation focused, wildlife adventure for your soul.
Expert commentary and fantastic viewing areas allow you to enjoy playful Hector's, Bottlenose, or Dusky Dolphins (90% encounter rate!).
We also see NZ fur seals and numerous seabirds before landing on Motuara Island for a 1-hour nature lover's walk to remember.
You'll also enjoy a free sample of Yealands award winning local wine and Sealord's local mussels. Yes - Wine and Seafood on the way home! Enjoy :-)
Explore the island on your own or go with our knowledgeable guide who will point out and describe the resident blue penguins, rare saddleback, melodic bellbirds, cheeky robins, native pigeons and yellow-crowned parakeets (kakariki).
If it's a clear day, you may also be able to spot the North Island in the distance.
The birds on this predator-free island are fearless, plentiful and very vocal. The view from the Cook Strait lookout is absolutely spectacular!
It's not unusual for you to be able to get very close to these amazing creatures - there'll be plenty of photo opportunities.
Motuara Island was significant for Maori. At the southern tip of Motuara Island is smaller Hippa Island which was the site of a pre-European M?ori p?.
The adjacent Ship Cove was where Maori first met pakeha on a sustained basis - our guides will show you exactly where.
Motuara Island was the location where, in 1770, Captain Cook proclaimed British sovereignty over the South Island. (via Doc)
After returning to the boat, sit back and relax with a hot drink and cookies (Wine and Mussels also) before making our way back to Picton and stopping to check out any extra species we discover.
We are located conveniently on Picton's main W\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.
Board our purpose built vessels at our floating wharf for your small group experience before embarking the ultimate cruise through the scenic and sheltered waters of the southern Queen Charlotte Sound.
Trip Advisior - 5 STAR *****
Great team of people - who all worked hard to make sure we enjoyed a fab day out.
The boat is really comfortable and well set up, the commentary by Tristram was really well delivered and interesting, further enhancing our experience.
We were lucky enough to see many rare bird species both at sea and on Motuara Island, plus NZ Fur Seals and both Hectors and Dusky Dolphins which was just amazing.
Paul, the captain, went out of his way to find the Hectors Dolphins - which capped our day off beautifully!
If you are looking for a quality wildlife experience these are your guys!
Awesome tour! Nice boat, great skipper and guide.
Both know a lot about the area and about the wildlife.
Enthusiastic and fun! Spotted dolphins within the first 20 minutes and was a great experience! ? Thanks so much guys, would definitely recommend you to all people visiting NZ!
Little Blue Penguins
Variable Oyster Catcher
Artic and Pomerine Skua
White Fronted Tern
Little Black Shag
New Zealand Fur Seals
New Zealand Wood Pigeon
South Island Robin
Yellow Fronted Kakariki
South Island Saddleback
Daily departures at 13:30 (13:15 check-in).
The King Shag is one of the world's rarest sea birds with a global population of only ~830. They are endemic to the Marlborough Sounds and are the largest of the Cormorant species that inhabit the region.
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.
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.
The Tour Departs from Picton Waterfront which has a carpark within 200 meters of the E-ko Shop
What to Bring ;