Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary And Ship Cove Cruise From Picton

From USD 66.39
Per Person
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Tour Information

Tour Details


Cruise from Picton Harbour to Motuara Island and beyond to see rare native birds and other wildlife on this 4.5-hour boat excursion. Spend time exploring Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove, learn from your expert captain about wildlife and cultural history, and take in the gorgeous scenery of Queen Charlotte Sound. Look for endangered native birds including the South Island saddleback, king shag, little blue penguin and kiwi as well as seals and rare dolphins.

Know More about this tour

At the waterfront in Picton, board your vessel for your 4.5-hour excursion. As your boat makes the 60-minute journey to Motuara Island, your expert captain provides informative commentary on the points of interest, wildlife, and human history of Queen Charlotte Sound, which is part of the larger Marlborough Sounds.
When you arrive at Motuara Island, set off on your own to explore the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary. Once cleared for farming, the forest has regenerated and all predators on the island were removed in 1991. A series of informative panels along the trail provide details about the area and you can walk up to a lookout point on the top of the island.
Many rare and native birds live on Motuara, including the saddleback, New Zealand robin, kiwi, bellbird, tui, grey warbler, New Zealand pigeon, silver eye and fantail. Other creatures found here are the Maud Island frog and Marlborough green gecko. A pod of native Hectors dolphins considered the rarest marine dolphin in the world make the Sound their home, and you are likely to see little blue penguins hunting for fish. You may also view other waterbirds like shearwaters, shags and gannets.
After 6090 minutes on Motuara, return to the boat at the designated time for the 10-minute cruise to Ship Cove. Captain James Cook landed here in 1770 to supply his ship, and in the process, it became his favorite New Zealand anchorage. Take 30 minutes ashore to explore informative displays, snap photos of a monument to Cook, and enjoy the beautiful sheltered beach. Then continue and take in the scenery as your boat makes short stops in the area, before cruising for about an hour to return to Picton.
Complimentary tea and coffee are provided on board and you are welcome to bring food with you. There are no shops or cafes to purchase snacks during the tour.

Inclusions for Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary And Ship Cove Cruise From Picton

  • Live commentary on board
  • Tea and coffee

Exclusions for Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary And Ship Cove Cruise From Picton

  • Food
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks to consume on board

Closed-toe walking shoes suitable for walking are recommended

Cancellation Policy
  • If you cancel within 3 calendar days (72 hours) of the scheduled departure time, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel between 4 to 7 Calendar days before scheduled tour departure,the cancellation charge will be 50% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel at least 8 calendar days in advance of the scheduled departure time, there is no cancellation fee. You will receive Full Refund for the paid amount.
  • Please note that in case of No show, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the listed tour fare.
  • Please note tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

Write A Review

6 Traveler Reviews

  • We arranged the trip on line and told you what time we was docking in Picton?

    When we got the cruise ships transport to the centre and went to the fishing port a lady at the desk said our cruise had already left at 8am?

    If we had known this at the time of the booking we would have booked something else?

    We was however given an alternative and was booked on the mail cruise?

    We was asked to pay an extra 30 for this, the girl had problems with the credit card system so we didn't pay this additional cost?

    In my opinion I would say all the relevant information should have been provided prior to our trip?

    We booked this in February and the trip was in April.

    We didn't have Wi-fi on the ship because of its expense.

    Although the mail boat was good we feel arrangements should have been finalised prior to our visit?

  • Very nice. Would have been nice to have more time on the Motuara Bird Sanctuary. We had only one hour, could have used at least an hour and a half.

  • Unfortunately I booked this trip for our group of 6 thinking it was available as a cruise ship shore excursion. It was not, so we were an hour late. We went into the business running the tour and were told that was fine and we could simply take the next boat going out. That was it. We were never told or asked what tour we had ordered, and were not made aware the Island Bird Sanctuary wasn't included. We would have DEFINITELY opted out had we known this. When we returned we asked if perhaps a discount could be offered and were told no. There were 2 other parties off the ship that had also booked the same thing by mistake. We were all quite unhappy and felt the tour givers could have been more forthright in their communications - how difficult would it have been to simply ask did you book the bird sanctuary? Lesson learned.

  • Great trip beautiful scenery sunny day Recommend it to all . Boat clean, crew please rand helpful

  • Trip was great! It was one of the highlights of your New Zealand holidays. Felt pity we spent just a day in Picton. There is so much more to see.

  • Fantastic trip. Although I saw very few birds on Motuara Island, the trip was very worthwhile, especially as we saw a pod of Hectors Dolphins, a male, female and baby Orka and then to top it of a pod of bottle nosed dolphins.

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