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“Amazing whales and we were the first to see”
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: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 20 June 2017

What a great trip out to see migrating whales in Cook Strait. When we got into Cook Strait I wondered how we were going to be able to see any whales as the area is so vast. But Paul had it covered with whale spotters up the hill and they saw two large whales quite quickly. They surfaced about 8 times close to the boat. What an awesome experience. We also went to the old whaling station which was great background information. Put this on your list. But they only migrate in winter so book in quick.

Thank ClarePinder1
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 23 June 2017

Hi Clare ,

Thanks for the great feed back and thanks for helping find the whales.It was a fantastic trip with dolphins and whales up close . Yes we re-lived what has been done here for over 150 years using our whale spotters on the hill to find the whales and then we go out to see them. Every year more whales are migrating past so this tour will also be able to operate for longer next season and we hope to see you again helping us find whales .The Cake you baked was delicious , thanks

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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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85 - 89 of 377 reviews

Reviewed 11 June 2017 via mobile

It's always lovely out in the sounds no matter what time of the year. Had a wonderful trip out to Motuara Island and the sounds where we saw lots of wildlife. The skipper providing a great commentary along the way. Would recommend to anyone.

Thank StevenPWest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2017

We went on the afternoon Motuara Island bird sanctuary tour from Picton. The E-Ko tours folks were fantastic - we got to see seals and shads and some penguins along the way and then spent a good amount of time on the island observing the local birds. They also told us a lot about the conservation activity (such as encouraging local plant species to repopulate).

And you can't beat tea and cookies on the trip back to port!

Thank Gewurztraminer
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 10 June 2017

Kia Ora ,

Thanks for the positive feed back. We do love showing customers Motuara island and the Sounds Wildlife with a Guided experience as you get to enjoy it so much more . See you again sometime .

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Reviewed 24 May 2017 via mobile

We were lucky enough to head out with e-Ko Tours recently on a perfect late autumn day with not a cloud in the sky. We'd considered carefully which cruise company to go with and were not disappointed... The boat was well appointed and comfortable with space for everyone to move around easily. Paul, the skipper, was friendly and fun to chat to and Tristram, our guide, was superbly knowledgeable about everything we saw during our 4 hour trip to Motuara Island and back. Also much appreciated were the thoughtful hands up and down from boat to jetty, myself being not the most agile. Little things that make a big difference. We saw a wealth of wildlife whilst on our trip - 2 species of dolphin, the Hector's were absolutely delightful as they played right around the boat, rolling to look up at us! And fur seals, rare shags, petrels, gannets, moon jellyfish, and on the island - Saddlebacks, Black Robins, Bellbirds, Wax-eyes, Fantails and Kakariki. I advise sitting quietly by the "bird bath" - water source where the birdlife comes to bathe and drink - for best viewing of birds. It was incredible to listen to the birdsong in the bush, something that is sadly a thing of the past in so many places. Thank goodness for predator-free sanctuaries such as this. It was a most memorable day and I thoroughly recommend e-Ko Tours to all.

Thank Expedition662906
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 26 May 2017

Kia Ora ,

Thanks for the positive comments and great you enjoyed our Premier cruise to Motuara island . Its a special place and we love showing it off.

Look forward to seeing you again sometime .

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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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