- Cruise Calm Sheltered Waters of Queen Charlotte Sound
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Tour info in brief
|2 – 4 hours|
|Pricing:||Adult: $199 (16+ years)
Child: $175 (12 – 15 years)
|Location:||1 Wellington Street, Picton|
No Seasickness Guarantee
About the Tour
Swim with Wild Dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds
Join us on New Zealand’s best dolphin swimming experience in the shimmering, flat waters of the scenic Marlborough Sounds. Swimming with wild dolphins is a genuine bucket list activity – we never get tired of seeing the joy and wonder on the faces of our swimmers! We’ll be searching for Dusky, Bottlenose, Common, Orca and the rare Hector’s dolphins that frequent this unique area.
From 1st December – 31st May, the E-Ko Dolphin Swim Tour will only be running twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays only. The tour will then be available to book daily from 1st June – 30th November.
We have made the decision to focus on this tour in the Winter months, which is when we have a much better swim success rate due to the fact that the very social Dusky dolphin frequent the Marlborough Sounds during this time of the year.
E-Ko will continue to offer our Dolphin View tour in the Summer months, which is when we find that you will experience fantastic viewing opportunities here in the Marlborough Sounds – in particular our very rare and protected Queen Charlotte Sound Hectors dolphin.
What to expect
Ready, Set, Swim (with dolphins!)
Once spotted, we’ll cruise with the dolphins and get you ready to swim if conditions allow. As a permitted SMART (DOC ) and WCA 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 real adventure for your soul – an experience you’ll never forget. Whether it’s watching a group quietly cruising along or marveling at their high leaps, backflips, and somersaults during social bouts, dolphins are a truly magnificent sight!
Guides and Permits
Our WCA Qualified guides are there to make sure you (and the dolphins) have the best and safest experience possible. Our special Department of Conservation permit allows 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.
You’ll see more than just dolphins.
During the cruise, we’re also likely to see NZ Fur Seals and a variety of seabirds (like Gannets, Shearwaters and Penguins). We pride ourselves that on an E-Ko tour, we will show you a wider variety of wildlife species than on any other NZ marine tour. Once you come out of the water, your guides will be waiting with hot drinks and cookies which you can enjoy while we cruise back to Picton.
Swimming or Viewing?
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to swim with dolphins – we have our Motuara Island tour (our most popular) – which not only takes in dolphins, but has the added bonus of spending an hour on a wildlife sanctuary – so you have the opportunity to see a much wider variety of wildlife.
Why Choose E-Ko?
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. And of course, don’t forget our ‘no seasickness guarantee’ – our waters are so calm that in over 10 years of operation we have never had a guest suffer from seasickness – no one else is willing or able to offer this guarantee! All equipment is provided for you. Just bring your swimwear, a towel, your camera and a sense of adventure.
Prices include all equipment and gear – just bring your swimwear and a towel.
- Adult: (16+ years) $199
- Child: (12-15 years) $175
Tour Times ⏰
- Briefing: 08:15
- Departure: 09:00
- Duration: between 2 – 4 hours
Even though this tour is in the 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. You’ll need to sign a declaration stating you are medically fit and healthy and also a liability disclaimer if you are participating in the swimming experience. If you have any concerns please call us and chat to us about your suitability to participate in this tour.
What to bring
- A towel
- A sense of adventure!
Where are we?
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.
Before your tour starts feel free to take a seat inside the shop or outside on our sun drenched deck and enjoy the stunning views.
Customers can also get online with our free WiFi, and purchase a tea or coffee to enjoy on the deck.
You will Never Miss your Ferry
Our tour schedules are integrated with the Interislander – so there is no chance that you’ll miss your ferry.
What people are saying about us
“An ultimate experience”
Trip advisor – 5 STAR ***** Swim with dolphins – an ultimate experience! Had the most amazing experience yesterday! Saw probably a dozen dolphins up close (so close you could almost touch…but remember, don’t touch the special sea friends). Sunny day, water not too cold. Staff was knowledgeable, friendly and as excited we were. All in all, a beautiful time out.
“Truly fantastic experience”
Trip Advisor – 5 STAR ***** Dolphin swim
Facebook — 5 star ***** Loved it! The crew, the boat… the dolphins! Everything was awesome!