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Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary and Ship Cove Cruise from Picton

Beachcomber Cruises

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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.

What You'll Get

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.

Additional Information

  • 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
  • Live commentary on board
  • Tea and coffee

  • Food
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point
The Waterfront, Picton

Departure Time
8:00 AM

4 hours 30 minutes

Return Details
Returns to original departure point at approximately 12:30pm

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

The tour identified in this promotion is made available through Viator. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Beachcomber Cruises in connection with this deal. Please contact Groupon customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to Viator will be directed back to Groupon.

This offer is not eligible for promo codes.

The Fine Print

7-day cancellation rights do not apply; no refunds or exchanges permitted. Voucher valid only for date and time listed; may not be exchanged or redeemed for other dates. Purchaser name and phone number must be provided at checkout; this information will be shared with Viator and the tour operator for purposes of order fulfillment. Groupon promo codes may not be used for this offer. Groupon voucher Terms of Sale do not apply. See the tour operators terms and conditions for this offer here. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised Goods and services.

By purchasing this deal you'll unlock points which can be spent on discounts and rewards. Every 5,000 points can be redeemed for $5 Off your next purchase.