New Zealand's Sights and Sites to Delight

Written by | Travel

Not long ago, I cruised the majestic Marlborough Sounds aboard E-Ko Tours’ vessel on a scenic journey to Mortuara Island in South Island, New Zealand.

Pretty Bird

Their catamaran boat was unexpectedly comfortable and the staff was both knowledgeable and friendly. The crew even made us hot chocolate, tea and shortbread cookies for the trip. Delicious. Now in all honesty, I have never quite understood why people would go on dolphin-watching trips. I love nature and animals as much as anybody, but I have always imagined that after a few minutes of watching them in the wild, I’d grow restless and bored from staring into the ocean hoping for a brief glimpse of them. Then I gave this tour an opportunity and much to my own surprise, I found myself becoming entranced and overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. There’s a certain level of excitement when you see dolphins in the wild and playfully swimming alongside your boat.

Dophins at play

We saw some dusky dolphins, fur seals, penguins, king shag (one of the rarest birds in the world), yellow crown kakkariki, saddleback and numerous sea birds from the deck of our boat. Sometimes you expect too much and get too little. Sometimes though, you can enter an experience with little to no expectation, and leave with a little bit of magic in your heart.

New Zealand has some of the rarest birds in the world. So meeting the last 200 of a certain specie of bird is quite a privilege. As part of the tour, we docked our boat on Mortuara Island and hiked up to the top where the view was spectacular! This tour is a MUST! To book, go to

You won’t regret it! It’s a life changing experience!

Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.

Last modified: July 28, 2017