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Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Picton, South Island, New Zealand

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4 hours 30 minutes
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Adult(s) x (Age 15 To 99)
Children x (Age 5 To 14)
Infant(s) x (Age 0 To 4)
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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 Hector’s 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 60–90 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.


  • Live commentary on board
  • Tea and coffee
  • 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

Meeting Point

The Waterfront, Picton
Departure Time:
8:00 AM
Return Details:
Returns to original departure point at approximately 12:30pm
  • Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton


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