Tours and Tickets

Wildlife Motuara Sanctuary Tour and Dolphin Cruise from Picton provided by E-Ko Tours

Wildlife Motuara Sanctuary Tour and Dolphin Cruise from Picton

Wildlife Motuara Sanctuary Tour and Dolphin Cruise from Picton
4.5
Book in advance
from €80.85 per adult
Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
About
Discover Marlborough’s native wildlife on a half-day, small-group Queen Charlotte Sound cruise from Picton that includes a nature walk on the Motuara Island bird sanctuary. Marine biologist guides share insights into Marlborough’s fascinating critters as you watch for seals and five species of dolphin, then get a glimpse of a pristine New Zealand forest on predator-free Motuara Island—home to native blue penguins, saddlebacks, bellbirds, and more.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 4h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Know before you go
  • Duration: 4h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
Enjoy a biologist-led, conservation-focused tour of Queen Charlotte Sound
Spot native and rare birds that are threatened on New Zealand's mainland
Hike and bird-watch on Motuara Island, and refuel with hot drinks on board
Group size capped at 15 travelers for a more personalized experience
What to expect
Make your way to the Picton waterfront, where you board a vessel bound for the Queen Charlotte Sound, navigating past a maze of inlets and channels. Keep your camera ready throughout the cruise, as you will likely spot fur seals, seabirds, and native dolphins on the scenic trip to Motuara Island. Here and throughout the tour, the onboard marine biologists share facts and background on the wildlife you encounter. At Motuara Island, stretch your legs on a guided nature hike and seek out some of the island’s blue penguins, saddlebacks, bellbirds, robins, native pigeons, and kakariki, or yellow-crowned parakeets. This is a great chance to see rare New Zealand species, as the birds of Motuara Island are able to nest and breed without interference from invasive predators. Following the nature hike, enjoy the return cruise to Picton, with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies served along the way.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 29441P1
Call +44 12 2492 8241
Important information
Inclusions
Professional guide • Live commentary on board • National Park fees • Beverages and snacks • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate biscuits on the return journey • Complimentary Local Wine and Mussel Samples of the PM Tour • FREE Binoculars to help you spot wildlife and Species ID cards • Entry/Admission - E-Ko Tours • Entry/Admission - Marlborough Sounds
Exclusions
Gratuities • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Duration
4h
Departure details
E-Ko Tours, 1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand Follow BLUE line form Visitor Information Center until you see, Seal, Dolphin and Penguin
Inclusions
Professional guide • Live commentary on board • National Park fees • Beverages and snacks • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate biscuits on the return journey • Complimentary Local Wine and Mussel Samples of the PM Tour • FREE Binoculars to help you spot wildlife and Species ID cards • Entry/Admission - E-Ko Tours • Entry/Admission - Marlborough Sounds
Exclusions
Gratuities • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Departure details
E-Ko Tours, 1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand Follow BLUE line form Visitor Information Center until you see, Seal, Dolphin and Penguin
Duration
4h
Return details
Returns to original departure point
Additional information
Confirmation will be received at time of booking
Most travellers can participate
Not wheelchair accessible
Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there are not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund
Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
Subject to favorable weather conditions. If canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or full refund
Family friendly with plenty of children's activities onboard
This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
This experience requires a minimum number of travellers. If it’s cancelled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
This tour/activity will have a maximum of 30 travellers
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    E-Ko Tours
    1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand
    Follow BLUE line form Visitor Information Center until you see, Seal, Dolphin and Penguin
    See address & details
  • 1
    E-Ko Tours
    Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included
    See details
  • 2
    Marlborough Sounds
    Stop: 4 hours - Admission included
    See details
  • You'll end at
    E-Ko Tours
    1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand
    Follow BLUE line form Visitor Information Center until you see, Seal, Dolphin and Penguin
    See address & details
+
Popular mentions

4.5
67 reviews
Excellent
60
Very good
3
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
3

jene468
Auckland Central, New Zealand16 contributions
Sounds Magic
My family and I spent an amazing afternoon with the E-Ko crew on this tour yesterday. First stop Hectors dolphins playing around the boat! Fantastic day out learning about the animals, birds, flora and fauna with our very knowledgeable guide and croaky captain :) Had an excellent day! Thanks very much team.
Written 27 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sara
New Zealand7 contributions
Fabulous trip and staff, highly recommend
Apr 2021 • Couples
Lovely half day out on the boat yesterday. Really impressed with the staff and their expert guiding. Well worth doing, the wildlife and bird sanctuary rewarding - saw and heard birds I have never before on the island. The sea went glassy on our way back and the final highlight a lovely hectors dolphin playing and connecting with us around the boat. Fabulous trip highly recommend.
Written 23 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

damadev
Buenos Aires, Argentina73 contributions
Lovely tour
Apr 2021 • Couples
The crew was very friendly and even though we didn’t spot any dolphins it was worth the trip. Lovely day!
Written 4 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nadia L
Opua, New Zealand2 contributions
Definately worth it
I did a last minute booking because I was keeping an eye on the weather. So glad I decided to book this trip-even though overcast and slight drizzle, the water was flat calm and great for spotting the wildlife. Motuara Island is pretty special and the viewings we had of the birds, seals and Hector dolphins were fantastic. Skipper Chris and crew Courtney were professional, friendly and very knowledgeable and I thoroughly enjoyed my outing with E-Ko Tours. I have done alot of boat trips over the years, highly recommend this one. Thank you very much.
Written 30 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

gwendah2015524
Dunedin, New Zealand4 contributions
Wonderful trip thoroughly recommended
Mar 2021
Wonderful trip to Motuara Island. The guide, Nikki, was enthusiastic and knowledgable and clearly loved the wildlife and sharing information with people. We were very lucky to be on a trip where there were kiwis on board that were going to be released on the island. Chris was a relaxed pilot and there was a very friendly atmosphere. We got to see seals at the salmon nets with some large salmon that they were eating and tossing around - think they might have broken in!! The walk to the top at Motuara Island was great and some of the party stayed at the bottom with the birdlife at the bird bath there. It was disappointing not to see dolphin, but the nine of us that did this as a group of friends would all thoroughly recommend this trip to others.
Written 15 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Tri-it-love-it
Palmerston North, New Zealand22 contributions
Family friendly and stunning
Jan 2021
We did a morning cruise as we had an afternoon ferry to catch. These guys were the only company which returned in plenty of time to check in before it closed (1pm for the 2pm sailing). Most other companies did not return until 1pm. These guys were really good with our young children who were with us too. My youngest decided to have multiple meltdowns during the trip and the guides didn't even bat an eye. Highly recommend this cruise if you are wanting to get in to the sounds on the same day as a ferry crossing. We didn't get to see all the wildlife we would have liked too however that is just nature - the trip was still amazing.
Written 26 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Many Thanks for your kind review. We are glad you enjoyed the tour :-) We wish you a beautiful day and thank you again
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

rozinz
Auckland, New Zealand89 contributions
Best day Eva!
Jan 2021 • Family
I can't imagine anyone regretting booking this trip. My kids (5,7 and 11yrs) kept saying "Best day ever". We were treated to dolphins and seals up close, plenty of photo opportunities. Friendly informative staff who engaged the kids. The trip to the island to see the birdlife offered some spectacular views. The promise of no sea sickness proved true, I had no issues and I generally dislike boats. They were very kind to ensure we were back on time (5.30pm) to catch the bluebridge ferry (due at 6pm for 7pm crossing)
Written 5 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Thank you so much for you kind feedback :) We are very happy that you get to come on board with us ! Have a lovely evening and again thank you :)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Helen
3 contributions
Excellent tour.
Dec 2020
Everything. Was superb. The wildlife we saw, the skipper, the guide, the comfort of the boat, the kindness and enjoyment of the experience. As good as this kind of tour can get in my opinion. I particularly liked that the drinks were in stainless steel cups and not disposables. I felt like every step of the way they walked their eco talk. Highly recommended, my two kids and I loved it.
Written 31 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Many thanks for your lovely feedback. We are so glad you enjoyed the tour. It was great to have you on board. We wish you a lovely day ! :)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

yoko_cheno
Christchurch, New Zealand4 contributions
Great service
Oct 2020 • Couples
Super friendly staff! Great tour. We saw many dolphins. Would do it again :) was the first day of our guide, she did great!
Written 6 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nomad229862
Blenheim, New Zealand1 contribution
Wonderful trip
Oct 2020
Fantastic trip. Extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff. Saw lots of dolphins, seals and bird life. Great way to spend a morning in Marlborough Sounds. Would highly recommend.
Written 1 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 60
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: E-Ko Tours
Excursion48078498916
Excursion48078498916
00
Great trip
Great trip Great staff lucky to see a pod of Dolphins Why do we have to write 100 characters some of us don't write
NakiGingham
NakiGingham
00
Awesome Tour, must do
We had a wonderfull tour and I highly recommend this for all Kiwis - visit your own back yard! The tour was to Mot
Tanya C
Tanya C
00
Stunning scenery
Professionally run tour, saw beautiful Hector dolphins. Motuara is stunning, saw robins but not a lot of birds, but
sara_fearon
sara_fearon
00
Great way to spend a day in Picton
Ended up on this one instead of the short afternoon one, due to booking numbers on the day. But it was great, got t
louiselU4785QW
louiselU4785QW
00
Disappointing dolphin swim
The staff were lovely and the boat trip was nice. We were meant to swim with dolphins but couldn’t as there were no
964francess
964francess
00
Great trip, good dolphin viewing and knowledgable staff.
Excellent tour. Knowledgable and friendly captain and guide. We had a great viewing of both a pod of dusky and comm
JGheevarghese
JGheevarghese
00
Spectacular
Spectacular cruise along the natural beauty ofQueen Charlotte sound. We were privileged to see three species of do
s_anmichellee
s_anmichellee
00
Great trip. Highly recommended
Had such a great afternoon. The staff were lovely and very knowledgeable. Saw so many dolphins (which I know is no
nzp0ppy
nzp0ppy
00
Wonderful trip swimming with dolphins
We were a family group of four and this was a special treat for a family trip- dolphin swimming. Instructions and c
johnsB6594RC
johnsB6594RC
00
E-Ko trip included in travel to Bay of Many Coves resort
this trip was included in our transfer to Bay of Many Coves Resort. The tour staff were helpful, knowledgeable and
Canonphotog
Canonphotog
00
Afternoon adventure
E-Ko Tours is a very professional and environmentally friendly company. Staff are very knowledgeable about the natu
seemaskvc
seemaskvc
00
Not good !
It was my hubby's birthday surprise for me and I must say it was not a great experience at least for me. The parkin
Alfrado10
Alfrado10
00
Awesome trip
Having just got off the Interislander it was short walk to E-Ko Tours office on the waterfront We got on a very nic
tresag7201
tresag7201
00
Swimming with Dolphins
Great morning out this morning. 9am departure on a clear calm sunny Marlborough day. We did not have to wait long
ParkTNZ
ParkTNZ
00
not happy
Rang to enquire about birdwatching tour. Told I could be dropped off on island sanctuary and picked up 2 hours late
Frequently Asked Questions about Wildlife Motuara Sanctuary Tour and Dolphin Cruise from Picton