Wildlife Island Sanctuary and Dolphin Cruise (Motuara Island)
A nature cruise and historical experience with fantastic scenery, wonderful wildlife and degree qualified guides. A perfect way to experience the Marlborough Sounds. Daily departures at 13:30 (13:15 check-in). Now also enjoy Yealands wine and Sealords mussels as a complimentary extra.
Whales migrate north through the Cook Strait from May to August annually. Humpback Whales, Right Whales, Fin Whales and Blue Whales can be seen at this time.
They come close to Tory Channel entrance which has the only restored Whaling Station in NZ.
Join us on New Zealand's best dolphin experience in the clear calm waters of the scenic Marlborough Sounds. Our degree qualified guides ensure you (and the dolphins) have the best and safest experience possible. Oh and we guarantee you will have NO sea sickness on our trips.
Wildlife and Wine Cruise (Kaipupu Point Sanctuary)
This unique experience offers an intimate wildlife experience with local experts
Wildlife and Wine
Marlborough's Perfect Cruise
Combined with Award Winning Yealands Wine and Sealord Mussels,
This Cruise is simply a Marlborough MUST DO
A nature cruise and historical experience to be enjoyed by all. Fantastic scenery, wonderful wildlife and degree qualified guides. A perfect way to experience the Marlborough Sounds.
You'll also enjoy a free sample of Yealands award-winning local wine and Sealord's local mussels. Yes - Wine and Sea
Cruise to the historic Perano Whaling Station through the calm and majestic Queen Charlotte Sound experiencing a variety of marine wildlife on the way. This 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.
Here at E-Ko Tours, we have a long history of working with education providers to offer you and your students a safe, fun and unique learning experience. You can provide your own educational material and teachers or have our degree qualified marine biologists tailor a trip to your needs!
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.
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!!!!!
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.
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.
Swimming - 45 Minutes before tour departureViewing Only - 30 Minutes before tour departure
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.
Detailed information - Dolphin Swim or View Experience
Wetsuits, masks and snorkels are provided. You will need to bring a swimsuit, towel, camera and sunscreen. A hot deck shower is available immediately after swimming to warm you up. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits are provided free-of-charge after swimming/viewing.
Space is limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
Each dolphin swimming tour lasts approximately 2 - 4 hours. Tour times depend on where we find the dolphins.
Viewing dolphins in their underwater world is truly a magical experience and one not soon (if ever!) to be forgotten. It should be noted that open water dolphin swimming operations are not like that of an aquarium type atmosphere. Dolphins are generally very interested in swimmers, however, these are wild animals that are in total control of the situation and we are simply guests in their world. If the dolphins are not in the mood to interact with people, they may simply move on and swimmers should be aware there is the chance that they will not interact with them in the water. If that is the case, we will bring the swimmers back onboard for some awesome viewing from the boat. Please understand that it is the dolphins' choice whether to interact with the swimmers and refunds can not be given if the dolphins are "not interested" for whatever reason.
Like all swim with dolphin operators in New Zealand, this is an open water experience - not an aquarium setup. The Marlborough Sounds are extremely sheltered from the wind and we rarely experience any sea swell that makes swimmers sick in other areas of New Zealand. However, if sea and wind conditions are deemed too severe, all dolphin swimming tours will be cancelled for matters of passenger safety. Your safety is paramount to us and we will not put swimmers in the water if the conditions are unsafe for you to disembark or climb back aboard the vessel. If dolphins are viewed, but weather is not good enough to put swimmers in the water then your fare will reduced as outlined in the terms and conditions.
We are a Department of Conservation (DOC) permitted swim with dolphins operators. It is our years of experience operating around both dolphins and whales that provides our guests with important and relevant information during each dolphin swimming or viewing experience.
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