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“Good day out, but not just dolphins”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of E-Ko Tours

E-Ko Tours
Book In Advance
More Info
$118.81*
and up
Half-Day Dolphin Eco-Tour from Picton
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: We provide award-winning, wildlife and conservation focused guided cruises and dolphin swimming experiences through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Those looking for the thrill of a lifetime can join us for our Dolphin Swim or View Experience or you could take part in our fully guided cruises to your choice of bird sanctuary islands or Historic Ship Cove. A clean green paradise of bush and sea full of natural beauty, history and wildlife is waiting to be explored and experienced. E-Ko Tours is Qualmark Enviro-Gold certified and the only local operator able to actively search for Dolphins. We provide degree qualified, professional guides on all our Tours.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
London
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Good day out, but not just dolphins”
Reviewed August 8, 2012

I was really excited about the Wildlife tour as I really wanted to see the Dolphins. They are not guaranteed (but there is a really high success rate). I was lucky and saw some. However it was on on the way to an island to see birds. So while this tour was great for those who wanted to see a mixture of wildlife, I had gone thinking it was a dolphin tour. This meant I was disappointed that we only spent about 20 minutes on the dolphins, whereas the island was 45 minutes - 1 hour trek. Its fine if this is what you are after, but if you just want dolphins its worth looking at other options.

To me the publicity suggested dolphins were the main attraction, so I do feel like it was mis-sold a little. But if you are interested in wildlife I think you would have a great experience. The staff were fantastic (as was the weather) and knowledgeable so nothing to fault there. They also picked me up from Lochmara lodge which was nice and convenient!

So an average rating based on my expectations.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank meka26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glen M, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this review, August 21, 2012
Thanks so much for your feedback and I am pleased that you enjoyed the adventure despite it not being what you had in mind. Sadly from your feedback I can see you had simply booked on the wrong trip:( The trip you were wanting is our morning tour, the 'Dolphin Swimming and Viewing Trip'. This one focuses primarily on dolphins, finding them, viewing them and if they wish to, swimming with them. The trip you booked on is the Marine Wildlife and Motuara Island Ecotour. This focuses on sharing with you as many species as possible throughout the sounds as we explore the various bays and the island. A little bit of everything. Our apologies that we weren't able to provide you with a longer dolphin experience but if you get a chance to return to Picton please do join us again. This time we'll make sure you book on the Dolphin Swimming and Viewing Trip and will do our best to show you loads of wonderful dolphins with lots of time to enjoy them. Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you again someday!
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Blenheim, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Exceptional guides”
Reviewed July 27, 2012

Had a great afternoon exploring the Marlborough Sounds and Motuara Island. The guides go out of their way to make sure everyone is catered to and have a great time learning about their backyard.

Only downside was the trip seemed a little rushed due to picking up and dropping off groups away from the normal route and having to be back in time for the ferry. Also the boat itself wasn't the best designed for dolphin watching when compared to other trips I have been on. However the scenery and guides well in truly made up for this.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Smudge_14_1991
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TikitheKiwi, Owner at E-Ko Tours, responded to this review, April 10, 2016
Kia Ora ,

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Always great to get good comment about our knowledgeable staff and the fantastic experience you had with the wild dolphins and wildlife . We are the only local company with qualified guides whom go through extensive training and its means alot when our customers see the difference on our Tours . We like to make everyone feel special and enjoy the beautiful area we have to live in .Thanks again for taking to the time to give a review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Awesome Experience”
Reviewed May 9, 2012

We have been on similar dolphin watching and swimming tours before but this trip was absolutely different! The staff were absolutely amazing!!!! My eldest daughter (11 years old) is besotted with Orcas and dolphins and the staff all enlightened her and listened to her and made her feel like one of them. The skipper let both my kids sit up front with him and gave them information on the boat and let the eldest steer the boat and the encounter with the Hectors' dolphins was a blast. My kids are still talking about the trip even though it was almost a month ago. Definitely worth its weight in gold!!!

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank ChristchurchSmiths
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TikitheKiwi, Owner at E-Ko Tours, responded to this review, April 10, 2016
Kia Ora ,

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Always great to get good comment about our knowledgeable staff and the fantastic experience you had with the wild dolphins and wildlife . We are the only local company with qualified guides whom go through extensive training and its means alot when our customers see the difference on our Tours . We like to make everyone feel special and enjoy the beautiful area we have to live in .Thanks again for taking to the time to give a review.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nelson
1 review
“swimming with dolphins”
Reviewed April 25, 2012

Today I took my ten year old daughter and a friend to Picton to swim with dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds - what a truly amazing experience - we swam with a pod of 60 Bottlenose Dolphins!
The Boat Driver, Guide and Management were excellent
Cant wait till my next child is old enough

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank jodie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TikitheKiwi, Owner at E-Ko Tours, responded to this review, April 10, 2016
Kia Ora ,

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Always great to get good comment about our knowledgeable staff and the fantastic experience you had with the wild dolphins and wildlife . We are the only local company with qualified guides whom go through extensive training and its means alot when our customers see the difference on our Tours . We like to make everyone feel special and enjoy the beautiful area we have to live in .Thanks again for taking to the time to give a review.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Greatly enjoyed by bird watchers”
Reviewed April 24, 2012

On 5th March 2012 we went on a wildlife cruise of the Queen Charlotte Sound and had a splendid time. When booking we had explained our interest in bird watching and when we boarded we were given a folder of birds to look out for. Once into the Sound we were quickly amongst frolicking Bottle-Nosed Dolphins, then watched Gannets diving, saw Spotted Shags, Fluttering Shearwaters and – a rare treat – a King Shag. We had a quick look at some Fur Seals hanging round the Salmon farm. We landed on Motuara Island and had another rare treat – a couple of Okarito Brown Kiwi sleeping in a Penguin nest box. Kate the guide said that she had only seen these twice in three years. Rather than rush up the hill with the others we hung around the (only) fresh water and saw a fine Fantail, a Rifleman, a South Island Robin, and a Saddleback. There was a Little Blue Penguin near the landing stage and as we left the island another rare feller – the NZ Falcon – flew straight overhead. We saw more Dolphins on the way back. Altogether an excellent trip with a knowledgeable crew. NZ$230 for the two of us.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank SAC70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TikitheKiwi, Owner at E-Ko Tours, responded to this review, April 10, 2016
Kia Ora ,

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Always great to get good comment about our knowledgeable staff and the fantastic experience you had with the wild dolphins and wildlife . We are the only local company with qualified guides whom go through extensive training and its means alot when our customers see the difference on our Tours . We like to make everyone feel special and enjoy the beautiful area we have to live in .Thanks again for taking to the time to give a review.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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