Tours and Tickets

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton provided by E-Ko Tours

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton
4
Book in advance
from
$116.06
per adult
Tour snapshot
Duration:
2–4 hours
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
30
Stroller accessible
Ticket type:
Mobile
  • Duration:
    2–4 hours
  • Taking Covid-19 safety measures
  • Group size:
    30
  • Stroller accessible
  • Ticket type:
    Mobile
About
Know before you go
  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.
Available languages
English
What to expect
Know before you go
  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.
What to expect
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 29441P4
Important information
Inclusions
  • Wetsuits
  • Mask and Snorkel
  • Booties and Hoods (if needed)
  • Hot and cold Drinks
  • Chocolate biscuits
  • Entry/Admission - Marlborough Sounds
Exclusions
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Duration
2–4 hours
Departure details
  • E-Ko Tours, 1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand Follow BLUE line on Footpath to the Seal, Dolphin and Penguin. The Blue Line starts at the Visitor Information Center. Arrive at 0815 if your going to Swim for fitting of wet suit , mask and snorkel.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Minimum age is 12 years
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled 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 travelers
Inclusions
  • Wetsuits
  • Mask and Snorkel
  • Booties and Hoods (if needed)
  • Hot and cold Drinks
  • Chocolate biscuits
  • Entry/Admission - Marlborough Sounds
Exclusions
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
Departure details
  • E-Ko Tours, 1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand Follow BLUE line on Footpath to the Seal, Dolphin and Penguin. The Blue Line starts at the Visitor Information Center. Arrive at 0815 if your going to Swim for fitting of wet suit , mask and snorkel.
Duration
2–4 hours
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Minimum age is 12 years
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled 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 travelers
Travel safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    E-Ko Tours
    1 Wellington Street, Picton 7220, New Zealand
    Follow BLUE line on Footpath to the Seal, Dolphin and Penguin. The Blue Line starts at the Visitor Information Center. Arrive at 0815 if your going to Swim for fitting of wet suit , mask and snorkel.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Marlborough Sounds
    Stop: 4 hours - Admission included
    Cruise the Majestic Marlborough Sounds looking for up to 5 species of Dolphin. The calmest Dolphin experience in New Zealand. Get amazing up-close encounters with an E-Ko Tour.
    Read more
  • You'll return to the starting point
+
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
35 reviews
Excellent
18
Very good
5
Average
8
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Pishi
Wellington, New Zealand33 contributions
Dec 2021 • Friends
I was mostly disappointed by this experience. While we saw plenty of dolphins FROM THE BOAT in perfect conditions, I could have had the same experience in a hired kayak or on the Interislander. We were dropped into the water to swim with the dolphins twice. Neither time did we see any dolphins nearby. Nothing. There was one girl who was a little nervous about being in the water and the boat took off while she was still getting off the ladder, throwing her back into the water over the spinning propeller. Basic safety practice would have required the person supervising the people getting into the water to call out when the ladder was clear. That didn’t happen until the female supervisor shouted that there was still someone on the ladder. Not good. Also when coming back to the boat after being in the water, the propellers felt like they were dragging us into the props and when multiple people are trying to grab the ladder it felt like you could be dragged around the side of the safety barrier of the ladder.
I didn’t feel the safety practices were that rigorous. Not much in the way of a briefing.
I can deal with not being able to swim with the dolphins but the safety issue accompanied by a over enthusiastic commentary about how amazing everything was and how lucky we were to see dolphins from the boat was disingenuous. Bottom line is we paid to swim with dolphins and we didn’t so don’t spin this out like we’re stupid. It felt like they were trying to prevent us asking for our money back, which I would have liked to do but chose not to because tourism has suffered enough due to covid. You are entitled under their policy to a part refund. Instead I left feeling disappointed by the experience. The trip was also much shorter than what was advertised, so we were left wanting on a number of levels. I’m sure some people have had brilliant experiences on the trip, unfortunately ours wasn’t one of them.
Written June 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
We’re sorry that you had a disappointing experience. As stated in the 15minute brief in the shop before departure the dolphin we find are wild animals and we cannot control the experience. As you say, you did get the opportunity to both view and get into the water with the dolphin. It was their choice not to interact with you. Sometimes it is possible to give you more than 2 experiences with the dolphin in the water, however clearly on this occasion they were not in the mood to interact or perhaps the pod composition changed. It’s sometimes a challenging balancing act to find the best outcome for both our guests and the dolphin. Thank you for coming out with E-Ko tours, contributing positively to conservation and experiencing dolphin in the wild rather than in captivity. The safety and well-being of both our guests and wildlife is taken very seriously; procedures are reviewed regularly and we have a debrief after every tour. Please do get in touch with us directly on info@e-ko.nz to discuss any concerns with us in person.
Written June 18, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Z Factor
Wellington, New Zealand205 contributions
If you do not get to se the dolphins it is unviable and a big hit to the pocket.

$515 (zero discount for 2 adults & 1 child)
$140 refund
Overall tour cost $375
4 hours of time lost. Plus: Saw Hector dolphins. Yaay. Got us to swim with Kawahai fish.

Ferry to Picton and back from Welly - $670
Accomodation $300

Wild life is hit and miss - but don’t promote with confidence if you can’t back up your numbers.
Written March 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Thank you for taking the time to review us. We're sorry that you are so disappointed by not being able to swim with wild dolphin, we do our very best to locate them and find a swimmable species but you were unlucky on this occasion. As you say, wildlife can be unpredictable! We do offer a partial refund if you are unable to swim with them. Please check out our website for frequent discounts and offers - booking directly with us for the best possible deals.
Written May 31, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

CmaSree
Wellington, New Zealand9 contributions
Jul 2020
It was my hubby's birthday surprise for me and I must say it was not a great experience at least for me. The parking space was hard to find with no signs for people new to the area. Even with the instructions from them, it took us a while to park which made us a little behind the schedule. There started my unwelcome experience. Following that, the talk about the dolphins and what not's went ahead with us still in the dressing station as they said it was just a 'listening thing'. Onboard the boat when it was time to jump in, I was unsure about it with the snorkel. The staff (non-native speaker) was very discouraging and asked me to stay behind. Not all those who register for these exemplary experiences can't be all 100 % confident and brave enough to dive in at the word 'Go'. A little bit of assurance can go a long way for some people like me. I had to PLEAD to her thrice for my chance to gather my courage and try the experience. Finally, I had my chance and jumped in and didn't go any further only to retreat to the boat. Afterwards, I was asked to change in open with no choice of a changing station. The staff appeared to be friendly after I got back, but what use? However, my hubby and others enjoyed it well, so the three stars. The only exciting part of the tour for me was watching dolphins after this harrowing experience. I would recommend this tour only for experienced people and not amateurs for their sakes.
Written August 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tresag7201
Blenheim, New Zealand401 contributions
Great morning out this morning.
9am departure on a clear calm sunny Marlborough day.

We did not have to wait long to see the common dolphin . Just outside Picton harbour and the swimmers were getting in the water .

The dolphins came over to the boat and and began swimming round

We left this group of dolphins and moved further up the Queen Charlotte sound to see another pod . Then the Dusky Dolphins joined us and two seals .

Also got close to the rare Black Shag (650 of them now worldwide ) .

The E-ko boat we were was very clean tidy, binoculars available , toilet, commentary on the dolphins . Hot chocolate, tea , coffee.
Hot hose shower to warm you up after each swim .

Captain Paul and guide Josephine were very approachable friendly and enthuastic .

E-Ko Tours are very strict in respecting all marine /department of conservations (DOC) rules with regards the spending time with the dolphins following them and also swimming with them . If there are young / baby dolphins or Orcas then you are unable to go in swimming .

Very enjoyable morning . We were away for just over 1.5 hrs .

Definitely recommend E-Ko tours for swimming or just spectating the swimmers .

Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dorris W
Santa Cruz, CA34 contributions
Jan 2020
So glad I went on the dolphin swim trip. Although we did not find any of the species of dolphins you are allowed to swim with, we spent over an hour with a pod of very playful, active, friendly Hector's dolphins. These dolphins are rare and protected here in Marlborough Sound so that you are not allowed to swim with them. No worries. The close up viewing with them was spectacular! I am so appreciative of the captain (owner?) for staying with these dolphins for so long and letting everyone aboard get such great looks and observations. They leaped, they spy hopped, they played around the boat for over an hour! Thanks, crew!!! Wonderful day. The company even gave us a partial refund for not getting to swim with dolphins. Great customer service!
Written February 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
We are so glad that the Hectors chose to interact with you and put on a show! They are amazing to see, thank you for touring with us.
Written March 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JaneH
8 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We booked a swim for my husband and just watching for myself. Booked direct and after a hitch with the website and exchange of emails their helpful staff sorted it out.
Great morning out on the beautiful Sound. Stunning scenery. Fun and knowledgeable staff taught us a lot about the beautiful mammals. We saw seals and King Shag birds , and Little Hector’s dolphins which you can’t get in the water with but sadly the larger dolphins were playing somewhere else despite Paul and Miranda’s exhaustive attempts to find them.
Those in wetsuits got the chance of a dip in amongst some other fish in a secluded spot.
Great trip though for all the above reasons.
Later we received an email to say that 50$NZ had been refunded for my husband ( as promised although we don’t go asking for it) because there was no swimming with the dolphins. A very good gesture and appreciated.
Got hot drink and biscuits to keep us going too.
Well organised and fun.
Written January 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Wow so glad you got to see the Hectors and king shag, thank you for touring with us it is our pleasure.
Written March 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cashan B
52 contributions
Jan 2022
Courtney and Paul took us out for a beautiful morning on the Sounds. We learned about the area and the different dolphins we would see. We were treated to a magical encounter with the rare Hector's dolphin - a large group stayed with our boat! What a blessing to see so many of such a rare species. It did mean we could not swim with them, nor with the dusky dolphins we saw as they had a juvenile, but it was a truly memorable day to see the Hectors. You can tell that the staff love their work and care for the animals, as their comfort is prioritised. Partial refund offered as we couldn't swim with them, but this company deserves all of the business it can get. Dedicated staff, great wetsuits and masks to use for the tour and a fantastic experience in the Sounds!
Written January 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chris Elliott
London, UK10 contributions
Feb 2020
Such a friendly team and really knew their stuff. Such a calm and beautiful place to go dolphin watching. We got up really close to Hectors dolphins who played around the boat and seemed very interactive. We couldn't swim with them as they are protected but such a great experience to see them. Would highly recommend.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
josephinewekotours
Glad you got to see the little Hectors dolphins, thank you for choosing us
Written March 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mereontheroad
Orangeville, Canada64 contributions
Dec 2019
I highly recommend this tour! We had an amazing time that we will always remember. Captain Paul and all of the staff were wonderful. I'd never worn a wet suit before so that was a bit of an adventure! We didn't have to go far before we spotted the dolphins. Two important considerations for this tour are: the dolphins are wild and they only appear on their own terms. There is a possibility you will not see them. Luckily for us, we had great success both with swimming with them and just watching them. We had two excellent opportunities to be in the water with the dolphins swimming around us. Afterwards, we watched as they fed and then played around in the water. It was a wonderful experience!
Written December 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora :-) Thanks for your positive Feedback and enjoy the rest of your time in New Zealand
Written December 25, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

citybreakaddict274
11827142134 contributions
Oct 2019
I am very disappointed at having to write such a negative review for E-ko tours as we were really looking forward to our trip and they had such amazing reviews. As you can see from my other reviews I don't generally give bad reviews but I came away from this experience so upset and disappointed and I'm unsure why we were treated this way.

We wanted to do the swimming with dolphins experience but I am pregnant and we also have a 18 month old son so I contacted them before booking via email to ask if it was OK for me to swim and for us to bring our son. They said they had no minimum age limit (unlike some other tours) and he would be welcome to come along. The website also states that they are a family friendly company and their boat has kids colouring books and toys (none of which were offered to us).

We arrived at the office on the day and from the off the Captain took a disliking to us. He told my husband that we would have to alternate getting in the water as "they can't be expected to look after our kid" which of course we were going to do as we didn't expect anyone else to look after our son. He then cryptically said "we are the only company that do this you know" as if we were somehow being ungrateful or we had done something wrong?

He then made a huge deal out of the fact my husband had a beard, saying he couldn't possibly teach him how to use a snorkel as it wouldn't work properly. In today's day and age plenty of blokes have beards does a big issue really have to be made out of this?

He also snapped at us a couple of times more before we got on the boat so by the time we set sail we felt thoroughly in the way and unwelcome.

The boat trip itself was good, the scenery was beautiful and the staff try really hard to get you amongst the dolphins in their natural environment. You get four swims to experience swimming with the dolphins and these can feel quite militaristic as they quickly usher you off and on the boat to maximise your chances. This I can totally understand as they are wanting you to have the best experience and actually get to do what you signed up for which is swim with dolphins!

The first two trips into the water I was finding it really hard to breathe through the snorkel so I didn't see any of the dolphins. After the third trip I decided to give up on breathing through the snorkel and focused on swimming holding my breath. This was so much better and I got to see the dolphins really up close and they were swimming round us. It was an amazing feeling! I got back onto the boat and said to my husband "I can now say I've swam with dolphins!" at which point the Captain uninvited turned round and snapped "well it has to be on their terms you know" as if I'd somehow implied we should be throwing out bait and a few hoops for them to jump through. Now I am not an overly sensitive person, nor do I take offence at most things but the way he turned round and snapped at me so aggressively and made me feel so, so small really upset me.

On top of how unwelcome we had already been made to feel this unnecessary comment really got me down and totally ruined my last swim where we saw more dolphins. I didn't feel like I could enjoy it as he'd made me feel so small and unwelcome.

His whole attitude towards us was so hostile it really ruined what should've been an amazing experience of a lifetime. After the 4th swim I just wanted to get off the boat as I was so upset and felt so uncomfortable. His attitude towards us was so bizarre as he was pretty friendly to most other people from what I observed, even flirting with some of the single ladies in the group.

When we got back to land I thought he was the manager and I was so upset we left the shop without complaining as I didn't feel I could confront him about his actions and didn't want the experience to be ruined even more.

I'm unsure what we did to warrant such hostility and all the other staff we spoke to prior to the trip and in the office were lovely, but he was so horrible and really ruined our experience that I just can't score E-ko tours any higher.

If the guy has an issue with the fact we brought our son then perhaps an age restriction should be set on the trips, this was the case with whale watching and other trips and we appreciated knowing we couldn't do it. If E-ko tours are as family friendly as they portray then perhaps they should remind all of their staff of this and ask them to treat families the same way they do other travellers without kids.
Written November 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora :-) Sorry to hear your experience was not as expected yet great to hear you got to swim with the Dolphins. :-) Apologies for the Captain and his comments, some of which may have been said in gest yet taken wrong. Kiwi humour is often misunderstood. Beards do look great on men, yet you cannot seal a mask on the face with a beard so it leaks constantly which does make it very difficult for a person snorkelling to see the dolphins. The captain used to have a large one so he was speaking from experience. Great that you did see and swim with dolphins and achieved this and as stated it was "on their terms", which we always say as a compliment to you, that means you sang well and attracted these amazing animals. The dolphins decided to come to you which is a special experience. We are very proud to offer ethical Dolphin Swimming experiences with only small groups in calm waters. Children are able to come on our tours because of the calm waters unlike other locations and yes the boats do have books and colouring in and toys. The Captain is a New Zealander and often our humour or his attempt at humour is completely misunderstood by travellers to our country in particular Europeans. Please accept his apologies for a lack of cultural understanding as he only wanted you to have a great time. We have Beer fined him and told him to try less kiwi humour :-)
Written November 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 33
About the operator

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

By: E-Ko Tours
Wishes_on_the_road
Wishes_on_the_road
00
Beware - read the fine print!
Having traveled to Picton, paid for parking, and sat down to lunch we received an email, half an hour before before
865derekr
865derekr
00
Fantastic experience!!
Very experienced, friendly staff. Knowledgeable about wildlife and surrounding areas and were able to find many rar
Ngaire L
Ngaire L
00
Wonderful Experience
What a wonderful wildlife experience with an experienced crew. The dolphins were delightful and our island walk was
1950boomerbird
1950boomerbird
00
Go with E-Ko!
Had a beautiful afternoon out on the Sound. Ideal weather, great skipper (Paul) and guide (Nicky) and the joy of se
jwhite6
jwhite6
00
Very enjoyable
An amazing experience taking the kids around the sounds. The tour was very well run, both the staff were knowledgea
RAlabastro
RAlabastro
00
Hector’s dolphins experience
Quite lucky to have Hector’s dolphins showing up during our cruise and having a bit of play beside our boat. Awesom
422iana
422iana
00
Dolphin show
Loverly day and we got to see a pod of over 20 dophins at the end of the day. We were a little worried, but after
A-kiwi34
A-kiwi34
00
Cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.
With less than 24 hours notice, my transfer was cancelled. This left me frantically trying to rebook a transfer on
inastew
inastew
00
Special treatment
Paul went out of his way to make sure our tour went ahead even without the minimum number. Ferry cancellations mean
BeautifulPicton
BeautifulPicton
00
Don't leave Picton without experiencing Eko tours
Fantastic crew. Very knowledgeable. Took the time and made clients feel valued. Scenery and wildlife was stunning.
MellJB
MellJB
00
Amazing family experience
We had a great trip with knowledgeable guides. There will always be an element of luck, but I believe our guides re
KRW0000
KRW0000
00
Not to be missed
A tour not to be missed, amazing staff, very informative and amazing with my girls. So much wildlife to be seen in
Lynne H
Lynne H
00
Not to be missed.
This is a not to be missed tour. I took my grandson on this trip on Monday 12th July 2021 and he exclaimed he woul
Paddy H
Paddy H
00
E Ko tours rock
Fantastic and informative tour through the sounds and to the Bird sanctuary. Friendly and fun staff, a nice touch t
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
Frequently Asked Questions about Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton will start at 9:00 AM. Discover and book Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton on Tripadvisor

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton price starts from $115.46. Discover and book Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton on Tripadvisor

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton cancellation policy: All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties. Discover and book Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton on Tripadvisor

Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton is hosted by E-Ko Tours. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact E-Ko Tours on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Dolphin Swimming and Watching E-Ko-Tour from Picton on Tripadvisor