What time do I need to check-in for my tour?
If you are swimming with dolphins you will need to check-in no less than 45 minutes before your scheduled departure.
All other tours please check-in no less than 15 minutes before your scheduled departure.
Do your trips have minimum numbers?
All trips require a minimum number of full fare adults to cover minimum operating costs. Should we not have enough passengers to run, we hold the right to cancel our tour within 30 minutes prior to departure.
Notification will be given 30 minutes before Tour departure if we are unable to depart and we will look for alternatives for you. So remember to call us before your scheduled tour to check Tour status. Picton is a small town and lots of tours locally are not confirmed until close to departure due to transient tourism locally. Do not worry it always works out 🙂
- retain your booking and hope minimum numbers are met by the scheduled departure of your trip (if they are not you are entitled to a full refund or move the booking to another day or tour which is available)
- cancel your trip and be fully refunded outside 24 hours.
- change your booking date/time to the next available and confirmed departure for the tour you want.
Check-in for the tour at The Waterfront, 1 Wellington Street, Picton, NZ at least 45 minutes before your scheduled tour departure.
We have FREE Wifi which is High speed and a great lounge with refreshments and an amazing view for you to enjoy while waiting.
Failure to check in may result in you not being able to go on your tour and not being entitled to a refund.
Where do you depart from?
All trips depart from the Town Wharf in Picton. This is conveniently located just a 3-minute walk to the east of the ferry terminal at the main town wharf. Our office is located on the Foreshore on London Quay and Wellington Street.
Is it true that with E-Ko Tours you see more Wildlife than any other place in New Zealand?
Yes, it's true! We guarantee on our wildlife tours you will see more for your money than any other location in NZ.
We are very passionate and enthusiastic about the incredible amount of wildlife species we have to offer both on land and in the sea.
We are the only operator that has 1000 hectares of predator-free island sanctuary to explore.
We also are the only place in the country with 5 Species of Dolphin.
On the tour we never know what we will find from whales to kiwi, every day is different.
If you want to get the best value wildlife tour then join our Motuara Island and Dolphin Tour, guaranteed satisfaction and to top it off we also give you Wine and Mussels on the way home
Can I visit a bird sanctuary island to see rare and endangered birds and dolphins on the same tour if I have limited time?
Yes, we have spent 20 years developing the only New Zealand Tour that can provide this.
There is so much to see in this country we have crafted a tour that gives you the best of everything in 4 hours - the Motuara Island and Dolphin Tour.
This is the island we grow Rowi Kiwi on, usually 50+ per annum. It's also where New Zealand was founded in 1770 by Captain Cook, so you get to experience history, wildlife, wine and seafood in one magical iconic Marlborough Tour
If we miss the Dolphins on the way out to the island we usually bump into them on the way home while drinking wine. The more wine you drink the more Dolphins you see 🙂
Are dolphins and king shags guaranteed?
Wildlife is not always predictable – that’s what makes it wild!
We cannot guarantee that you will see dolphins or other wildlife on our tours.
Our success rate for dolphin sightings per trip is 95%.
Our success rate for dolphin swimming is 80%.
Those booking the birdwatchers expedition have an excellent chance of seeing the rare King Shags - we have spent 10 years every day and can give you a 99% success rate.
King Shag only found in Marlborough Sounds
Do you offer charters or special group rates?
Yes – we can arrange a trip to suit your needs, as there are many options for an enjoyable day in the sounds. Contact us to arrange a quote.
Are your Tours suitable for children?
We are a family friendly company and children of all ages will truly enjoy our tours. We also have educational tours for schools and universities.
Our boat "Delphinus" contains kids colouring pages, toys, and books.
For Dolphin Swimming for the Childs best experience, we have set the age at 12 which is higher than the national average so they have a complete experience they can appreciate.
The walk-on Motuara Island is a gradual upward ascent in some parts, so most children (or parents carrying children) may not make it to the lookout at the very top.
Please also remember that you need to be responsible for your children. We require smaller ones to wear a life jacket. The crew will fit these at departure time or bring your own. Its great to teach children respect for the ocean. 😊 However, any child onboard is at the discretion of the Captain and subject to sea conditions on the day.
Do you feed the dolphins?
No - All the dolphins in the Queen Charlotte Sound are wild and free and we do not manipulate or interfere with their natural behaviours.
Will I get wet if I want to swim with the dolphins?
If you're lucky 😊
Where exactly are the dolphins?
In the ocean, playing, relaxing making friends with other dolphins
What do I need to bring?
For all tours excluding dolphin swim and view tour, you will need to bring, warm clothes (just in case), a water bottle, sunscreen and a camera (optional but highly recommended!)
For dolphin swimming, you will also need to bring your swimwear and towel. We supply you with wetsuit, mask and snorkel.
What happens if the weather gets really bad while we are on the boat?
The Marlborough Sounds are extremely sheltered from the wind and we rarely experience any of the sea swells that make passengers sick in other areas of New Zealand. That is why we offer a 'no seasickness guarantee'
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 continue a tour if the conditions are unsafe for you aboard the vessel. The Captains decision on this final. See Cancellation for Terms and Conditions.
Rough Weather for Whale Tours :
Going out into Cook Strait is subject to acceptable weather conditions assessed on the day from the Whale Station by the Captain.
If the Captain says its too rough and we are unable to go out then a partial refund is available of $25 per Adult, $20 per child. This refund does NOT apply to any Discounted Fares.
Where is parking (cars and camper-vans)?
There is a large car park situated next to the Waterfront Marina (where our Office is located). The turnoff to the car-park is along Wellington Street and it is $5.00 for the entire day (the correct money is needed).
Is there space for me to put my luggage?
Sometimes people are checking-in or out of accommodation after or prior to our Tours.
We do have quite a large boat with spacious forward cabins, therefore you can take most of it on-board with you!
But if you have large travel bags/suitcases you can leave them in the E-Ko Office with our office staff for the duration of the tour.
Where is my confirmation email?
Double check your junk mail and spam folders.
Sometimes confirmation emails end up there.
If you still can't find it, contact us and we'll send you another copy.