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“Wildlife Island Sanctuary and Dolphin Cruise”
Review of E-Ko Tours

E-Ko Tours
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: Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Reviewed 11 May 2017 via mobile

I am giving E-ko Tours a 1 star review as that is the lowest I can give - would have rather given a negative star review!!!! We booked on this tour at least 3 months ago aware of the fact that they need 6 full paying passengers (we had 4 in our party). E-ko tours website states re cancellation due to numbers that "If this requirement is not met 48 hours prior to your scheduled departure, you will be notified...." We were notified that the tour did not have enough numbers 34 minutes before the trip left, with us having to be at the booking office 30 minutes prior to departure! This was after we had been to the office at least 24 hours prior to check the booking was okay. The woman on the phone was exceptionally rude, and when I pointed out they were obliged to give us 48 hours notice of cancellation she denied this and said that was the time limit we had to cancel (which is actually 24 hours). This didn't give us much time at all to organise another tour. Thankfully however the people at the Beachcombers tours were super friendly and helpful and arranged for our party to go out on a great tour of the Mailboat cruise (only the four of us on board & us arriving with only a couple of minutes notice!). Do not go on an e-ko tour- I can NOT un-recommend them enough!! However if you are looking for a great tour of the Queen Charlotte Sounds with friendly informative staff then I would fully recommend using Beachcombers tours instead!!

1  Thank Shoshana W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul K, Owner at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 13 May 2017

Dear Mam ,

Sincerest apologies on this day another party due to a transport problem were unable to make it so we had to cancel and issue you a full refund. This was not foreseen occurrence hence why you were not notified. We often recommend Beachcomber Mail Run if we are unable to complete a fully guided Wild Life Tour , a totally different tour and its great to hear you enjoyed it . With the roadworks coming into our region now we are hoping things will be back to normal soon. Again apologies for any inconvenience and not being able to show you the fantastic Wild Life here in the sounds . As this was a unforeseen occurrence if you contact us I can arrange for a FREE Wild Life Tour for you that next time your in Picton.

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Write a ReviewReviews (377)
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"swim with the dolphins"
in 23 reviews
"hector dolphins"
in 25 reviews
"fur seals"
in 22 reviews
"motuara island"
in 58 reviews
"partial refund"
in 10 reviews
"cookies"
in 14 reviews
"wild animals"
in 7 reviews
"bird sanctuary"
in 17 reviews
"dolphin tour"
in 4 reviews
"these beautiful creatures"
in 3 reviews
"fantastic morning"
in 3 reviews
"saw lots of wildlife"
in 4 reviews
"great trip"
in 15 reviews
"booked this tour"
in 4 reviews
"marlborough sounds"
in 23 reviews
"nature cruise"
in 3 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 9 reviews
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89 - 93 of 377 reviews

Reviewed 7 May 2017 via mobile

We took my 80 year old nana dolphin watching for her birthday and had the most amazing day!!!

We were treated to three pods of hector dolphins and then a large group of bottle nose. Both Paul and Tristan on board the Boat where fantastic at pointing out all the wild life along the way and explaining all the local history also.

We were very lucky to have a small group on board that day so plenty of room to sit and move around as we pleased. The tour operates in very sheltered parts so it was such a calm trip barely noticed you were on a boat all day.

Definitely a must do!!!!!

Thank sjhNZ27777777788
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul K, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2017

Thanks for the positive feedback it was a pleasure to show you our wonderful back yard , I hope at 80 I am doing the same.

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Reviewed 29 April 2017

Great little vessel with indoor seats to take us on a four hour wildlife tour through the malbrorough sounds to motuara island. Penguins, gannets and fur seals were all spotted at the beginning of our tour while we also received lots of amazing, insightful knowledge about the islands and wildlife. There was no huge expectation that we would definetly see dolphins so it was a huge thrill when we spotted a small pod of hector's dolphins.
I personally found the walk to the viewing platform on the island fairly easy, however I think it would have been great to have been recommended to wear trainers when i made my booking - I would have felt heaps better in track pants and my runners. The views were stunning and the birds were quite adorable - especially the southern hemipshere robin.
The warm drink on the way back was appreciated, but the thrill of seeing some dusky dolphins jumping was even better!
One of the most knowledgable wildlife tours I've been on.

1  Thank Seonaid M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul K, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2017

Kia ora ,

Thanks for the great feedback , it was an amazing trip and look forward to seeing you again sometime.

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Reviewed 20 April 2017 via mobile

I adore the Sounds and have come several times to walk, and the views from the boat were as stunning as ever.
Admittedly we were disappointed not to swim with any dolphins, especially the children, but we know that's just the way things go.
However, we also found the staff unapproachable and our questions seemed almost irritating. It was a shame to lose some of the magic from the surroundings.

Thank nikki l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul K, General Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2017

Kia Ora ,

Thanks for the feedback sorry we cannot control the dolphins yes the sounds are an amazing backdrop to be looking for wildlife.

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Reviewed 8 April 2017 via mobile

My husband and I joined approximately 25 other people (including children) for a half day searching for dolphins to swim with. The weather was perfect and we were suited up by the lovely staff at the office before boarding the boat with the skipper and his boat hand. Both were very nice and helpful to all on board. We cruised around searching and had 4 drop points when we found dolphins. The viewing was fantastic as we found a lot of dolphins who were happy to come close to the boat. The swimming was fun and i had a few glimpses of the dolphins who became a little shy once we got in the water. Different to what i expected (i had visions of many dolphins swimming in and around the group) but still heaps of fun in the swim while we all made terrible music through our snorkles. Highly recommend for a good day out.

Thank Sam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul K, Manager at E-Ko Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2017

Kia ora ,

So nice to hear you enjoyed the tour .

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