Picton and the Marlborough Sounds
Picton, New Zealand
Picton’s beautiful foreshore looking out onto the Marlborough Sounds

The picturesque seaside town of Picton is the South Island base for the interisland ferry and also serves as a gateway to the marine, forest and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds. Built around a very sheltered harbour, the town has an attractive seafront dotted with cafés, restaurants and various types of galleries. . Picton is known as the ‘Gateway to the South Island and the Marlborough Sounds’. With a surplus of natural beauty and an amazing range of wildlife, Picton and the Queen Charlotte Sound are a must-see for anyone visiting or living in New Zealand.

Accommodation is varied and plentiful ranging from holiday parks to luxury accommodationPicton accommodation options range from hotels, B&Bs, hostels and resorts and there are plenty of cafes on High Street.

Dolphin Watch Naturetours Wildlife Centre
Dolphin Watch Ecotours operates on Picton’s foreshore and is only a 3 minute walk from the Picton ferry terminal. Be sure to stop here to catch one of our ecotours and explore the Queen Charlotte Sound with a company that chooses to slow down and enjoy what the area has to offer. Oor tours provide visitors with a variety of nature experiences to be had on land and sea. Go Swimming with Dolphins, take a walk on the fabulous Queen Charlotte Track, or take it all in with a half-day Scenic Wildlife Cruise to either Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary or historic Ship Cove of Captain Cook fame.

We are located at 1 Wellington Street on the Picton Foreshore (see below).

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Our office focuses on “bring the wildlife to the office” where we feature murals & lifesize models of much of the willife we encounter in the Marlborough Sounds. Our features include changerooms for wetsuit fitting, a fantastic reception area to greet our guests as well as wheel chair toilets and showers.

Dolphin Watch Shop 1
Dolphin Watch Shop 2
Dolphin Watch Shop 3
Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand
View overlooking the Queen Charlotte Sound
View overlooking the Queen Charlotte Sound

The Marlborough Sounds are an extensive labyrinth of sheltered waterways in the north-eastern corner of NZ’s South Island. Made up of a series of ancient river valleys that have been filled in by seawater, the Marlborough Sounds are truly an incredible site. As a result of the sheltered nature of the Sounds, we rarely have to cancel tours for weather-related reasons. The Queen Charlotte Sound abounds with numerous seabirds, NZ fur seals and five species of dolphins can be seen at various times of the year – Bottlenose, Dusky, Hector’s, Common and occasionally visits by Orca (Killer Whales).

The outer Queen Charlotte Sound contains four reserve islands covered with lush native bush. Motuara Island bird sanctuary is where Dolphin Watch Ecotours conducts guided walks under a Department of Conservation concession. Here, the department of Conservation runs four programmes geared towards the enhancement of endangered species – the South Island saddleback, Maud Island frog, Marlborough green gecko and the Okarito brown kiwi.

The Queen Charlotte Sound is also home to the stunning Queen Charlotte Track. A 71 km walk with absolutely stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds. We offer full service for groups to the entire track (with free pack transfers to your overnight accommodation) and are the only Marlborough Sounds tour operator to combine a scenic dolphin cruise, Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary visit and a walk on the Queen Charlotte Track. No other QC Track operator is permitted to search for dolphins in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

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