Enjoy the BEST dolphin Experience in the majestic Marlborough Sounds with the award winning local WILDLIFE EXPERTS!
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 Department of Conservation permits allows us to seek out and interact with all species of marine mammals that live in the Sounds. We take you where the wildlife is 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! Once you come out the water your guides will be waiting with warm water, hot drinks and some cookies which you can enjoy while we cruise back to Picton. Unlike other dolphin swimming operations around New Zealand where several boats are on 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. We primarily operate in an area of little to no sea swell - meaning seasickness is not an issue for our guests. All equipment is provided for you. Just bring your swim wear, a towel and your camera.
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.
Important Swim Info
Swim Prices - Adult $165 Child $135
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
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.
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.
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.