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Wildlife Island Sanctuary (Motuara ) and Dolphin Cruise from Picton

  • 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
Wildlife Island Sanctuary (Motuara ) and Dolphin Cruise from Picton
From US$69,10
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
  • Q&A
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Wildlife Island Sanctuary (Motuara ) and Dolphin Cruise from Picton
From US$69,10
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.
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.
Reviews (16)
1 - 5 of 13 reviews
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile
Beautiful trip

Really enjoyed the trip and the wildlife especially the little Hector Dolphins. The island itself is a short brisk walk to the top where you get awesome views. Boat is great fun and fast but if you want to stay outside be prepared to get...More

Thank mloosmore
Reviewed 6 days ago
Fantastic morning spotting dolphin, seals and lots of birds.

Very interesting trip in Queen Charlotte Sound. Saw dolphin, seals and a great variety of birds. Especially liked the bird pond on Motuara island. Birds not phased by visitors. Took loads of lovely photographs. Very knowledgeable guides , Andy and Tania, committed to preserving the...More

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank lizrichardson81
Reviewed 30 November 2018
You absolutely have to do this while in Picton !

Went out for the wildlife boat tour, the crew at E'ko Tours is exceptionally friendly Mel helped me with the check-in at the office, Tania was our guide and Andy our Captain, both gave us thorough information and details about the wildlife we saw on...More

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Tim V
Reviewed 20 October 2018

Helpful and friendly staff. Nice smooth boat ride with lots to see. The island was the highlight. Saw penguins in their nest boxes, saddlebacks, bellbids and the orange fronted kakariki which I've not seen ANYWHERE else. Saw dolphins on the way back which rounded the...More

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Jess K
TikiB22, General Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 18 November 2018

Kia Ora Jess, Thanks for the positive feedback :-)

Reviewed 1 October 2018
Cancelled thirty minutes prior

I booked my trip 12 months in advance but was told thirty minutes before the boat was supposed to leave that the cruise was cancelled because I was the only one on it and they needed a minimum of 4 people. The manager was rude...More

Date of experience: October 2018
2  Thank dtabak2018
TikiB22, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 8 November 2018

Sorry, your tour was cancelled. Check-in for tours is 24 hours before departure as per the T+ C, this is so we can inform you of any items that may affect your tour running. We also request full contact details so we can call you...More

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21 April 2018|
Response from sebarocha | 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