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Terms and Conditions


E-K Tours Ltd

Terms and Conditions – All Tours

Individuals and Small Groups

(under 10 individuals or as specified by E-Ko)


Booker’s Responsibility


In the event you are booking for yourself AND/OR others (e.g. your family, tour group etc.) it is your responsibility to ensure all members of your party are familiar with these terms and conditions.





Bookings can be made via phone, email, our website or authorized booking agency. Full payment will be taken on booking and all bookings are conditional on your compliance with our terms and conditions. Failure to comply will result in you and anyone you have booked for being excluded from your tour without the entitlement to a refund.


Discounted Fares


Discounted Fares do not receive refunds from E-Ko. If you booked your tour through an Online Travel Agent review their policy.


Rough Weather on 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.


Refunds for No Dolphin swim with Online Travel Agents

Tickets purchased from an Online Provider require refunds to go through them at a % of the cost of the Tour. Usually, 15% of price yet can vary as to their own terms and conditions. Check with them.


E-Ko Refund Policy for Full Price Tickets


  • Dolphin Swim – No Swim

Adult: $50

Child: $40


  • Dolphin Swim – No Swim or View

Adult: $70

Child: $50


  • Dolphin Watching Tour – No Dolphin 

Dolphin Watching Tours have a Dolphin guarantee

FREE Return Tour until you see Dolphins

This Does NOT apply to Motuara Islands and Dolphin Cruise as this tour provides up to 25 Species, a lot of Endangered Species and Land and Sea.



The Boat Captain Determines Refunds


The Captain will determine if a refund is required and his decision is final


Drop off and Pick Up Charges

1.  $25 per person per Drop off or Pick up.

2. If you require a pick up call us to check we can go to your location.



Cancellation Policy


You may cancel your trip and be entitled to a full refund by providing no less than 24 hours’ notice prior to your scheduled tour departure. Any customer who fails to comply with this cancellation policy will not be entitled to a refund.


Minimum Numbers


All trips require a minimum equivalent number of 6 full fare adults to cover minimum operating costs.




Trips may be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. If a trip is cancelled before the scheduled departure time you will receive a full refund.




Call E-Ko tours 24 hours’ prior departure to confirm your booking.

On the day of your tour you must report to our office located at The Waterfront, 1 Wellington Street, Picton, NZ at least 30 minutes before your scheduled tour departure.


What to Bring


For all tours excluding The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and View Tour, you will need to bring, warm cloths (just in case), a water bottle, sun screen and a camera (optional but highly recommended!). if you’re dolphin swimming don’t forget a towel and swim wear!


The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and View Tour

Additional Term and Conditions


Trip Duration


The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and Viewing Tour will last between 2-4 hours, depending on the Dolphins 🙂

The Dolphin Watching tour is between 1-2 hours.

Beach , Wildlife and Wine is 1-2 hours

The Wildlife and Dolphin Cruise 4 hours.

Whale Island History and Whale tour 4 hours

Kupes Trail Queen Charlotte all day 9.5 hours .


Dolphin Behaviour


It is important to understand that the dolphins of the Marlborough Sounds are wild animals and as such, we cannot control their behaviour. Most of the time, dolphins are incredibly curious and playful but, just like humans, sometimes they are not in the mood to play and interact with you. If when swimming with dolphins they swim away from you, please, do not take it personally. We are lucky to have the BEST place in NZ for Dolphin Watching as the waters are so calm and we have friendly Dolphins. The Dolphins are so friendly as we get everyone to wave at them to communicate with them that has built trust over 15 years , now they look for the funny waving monkeys on the E-ko boats 🙂


Success Rate


Our success rate is calculated using actual figures gathered over the duration of the previous season. For viewing dolphins, our success rate is currently 95%.

For swimming with dolphins, it is 70%. We are also the only company in New Zealand to reduce our Dolphin Swimming effort by over 50% in the last 10 years. This is to reduce stress on the animals and it has worked well for the Dolphins as now they are so happy with the swimmers and interact really well so they too enjoy the experience.

At E-ko Wildlife Happiness is paramount. We are not PC we are WC or Wildlife Correct 🙂

If you are passionate about Dolphins like we are then Picton is the MOST conservation-based Whale and Dolphin operation in New Zealand.

We back that up with being the only Dual Qualified Responsible Operator accredited by DOC SMART system ( we were the first ) and also the first World Cetacean Alliance Certified Operator 🙂


Equipment Rental


If you lose our equipment, then you are responsible to pay for it.


Replacement costs are listed below:

Wetsuits: $150 Mask: $35 Snorkel: $20



Age Requirements


12 years for swimming. NO EXCEPTIONS.

The older the children the better the experience for them and the parents. At E-Ko we set a higher age limit to achieve a better experience for all 🙂

Dolphin Watching children under 12 must be accompanied by an 18+ year old at all times.


Minimum Mobility and Wheelchairs


Our Boats have steps and we require you to be able unassisted to move up and down them. If you are unable to walk onto the boat unadded, then you are unable to participate in an E-Ko Tour.

If you are mobility impaired and arrange for your own assistance to accompany you then you are able to enjoy and E-Ko Tour.

We are unable without prior arrangement to take any passenger onboard who has a wheelchair due to our staff insurance policy. Please email or call us should any of the above affect you.


Minimum Swimming Experience


Even though we operate in the calm sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound, it is preferable that you have some degree of swimming experience or are comfortable in the water. We have extremely warm, buoyant full-length wetsuits and extra floatation devices to ensure your comfort and safety.


Medical Conditions


You must be fit and healthy, mentally and physically. Dolphin swimming is considered a strenuous activity and any medical condition which impairs your physical or mental ability must be brought to our attention. Swimming involves the contact with cold water which can affect conditions that are triggered by heightened stress. It is your personal responsibility to be honest when you will fill in our Pre-Swim questionnaire at check-in time. This reduces your risk of harm occurring.


You are obligated to notify us then of any medical condition affecting your general health or mental ability before the activity. Email us before hand to discuss if unsure of medical conditions not considered eligible.

Those considered not medically able to be safely involved in a strenuous activity will be deemed ineligible for this activity. This is a legal requirement under New Zealand Maritime law.


You are also required to understand and sign our E-Ko Swim Waiver & Disclaimer 2022 prior to tour departure.


Swimming with dolphins is an incredible experience, and in New Zealand, our company is the safest and most conservation-focused operation with our sheltered calm waters, specialized swim ladders and structured methods. Our intention is for you to have the best possible interaction with the dolphins and they with you so come prepared.


You will then have one of the most memorable experiences of your life, the dolphins are looking forward to meeting you. Come Wave at the Dolphins to make them SMILE  🙂

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