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Itinerary
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.
Locations visited
Moutohora Island Sanctuary (Whale Island) - Day Tour
E-Ko Tours
Overview
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.
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
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1 - 5 of 8 reviews
Reviewed 9 May 2018
OUTSTANDING - do this!!!!!

Fantastic day - staff were friendly, helpful, engaging; weather was wonderful and we had hardly left before crew spotted something for us to see.all they said we might see - we did! bird life on Motuara Island great - especially the robin. Views from the...More

1  Thank Wayne M
Captain Paul K, General Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 July 2018

Thanks for the great feedback, we try and under sell and overdeliver, its a kiwi thing 😁🙏🐬😁🐬

Reviewed 29 April 2018
Worth It At Twice The Price

Outstanding job. Showed us all there was to see due to expert knowledge of the wildlife and their locations

Thank TexasRaf
Reviewed 19 April 2018 via mobile
Great experience

Went out for the wildlife and dolphin tour, the 3 blokes on the tour were very friendly and knowledgeable, I took my 3 year old son and they were very good with him too. Lots of wildlife seen including a group of hector dolphins, I...More

Thank tara t
Reviewed 14 March 2018
FANTASTIC

This was an absolutely fantastic tour especially when we came across the pod of dolphins I didn't know which way to look but nevertheless I managed to take some great photos and the commentary from both Tanya and Andy was very informative. We also managed...More

Thank E8753TImichaelp
Reviewed 16 February 2018 via mobile
29 passengers was tooooo many.

We were on a cruise with a total of 28 passengers plus Tristan and Tania the crew. This made for quite a crowd on a small boat and when the weather became inclement, internal space was at a premium, as was seating. Unfortunately we only...More

1  Thank peterwV975TL
Paul K, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2018

Kia Ora, thanks for your feedback and great that you enjoyed the Premier Island Sanctuary of Motuara Island. It's fantastic to see with a Guide and we are the only local company that provides a Guided visit to the Island. Also, we where the first...More

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Questions & Answers
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Katie D
21 April 2018|
Answer
Response from Sebastian R | Reviewed this property |
Dolphins in the area are very common, but always you can ask the company tour how lucky it been on the past week ..there are wild animal, but the day of the trip the crew members and the driver of the boat were doing a big... More
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