About Us

Meet Sara & Dave

Sara, Dave and our crew

From left, Sara, Wendy, Mina and Dave

Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company is owned and operated by Sara Archdale and Dave Watson, both born and raised in New Zealand’s South Island.

Helping people to stage their own adventures on the Queen Charlotte Track and around the Marlborough Sounds is our dream job come true.

We bought the company eighteen years ago, after ten years travelling and working in the UK, Europe and Australia.

Supporting us every step of the way is a fantastic team of guides and base crew. While we are the original adventure tourism business in Marlborough, our team won’t let a great track record go to their heads.  Each adventure gets the utmost attention, so that every hiker, biker and kayaker enjoys the safe, fun and unforgettable experience that we are famous for.

We took a great company and made it even better.   Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company was originally founded in 1987 by two Outward Bound instructors operating out of Anakiwa. Later, Bruce Maunsell and Melanie Barton purchased the company and moved the base to Picton. Under their ownership the company quickly gained a reputation for providing quality sea kayaking and walking experiences. Their diligence was rewarded in 1993 with a NZ Tourism Award for Best Activity Tourism. 

Our family

We love sharing the outdoors with our two gorgeous girls, Coco and Billie. Now that they are young teenagers, we enjoy making the most of the spectacular outdoor playground we live in.  Our personal experience encouraging young children to enjoy the outdoors also helps us to understand what families are looking for in a great family holiday.

Awards for doing what we do best

Over the years our commitment to ‘getting it right’ has often been recognized by local and national tourism awards. In the past we have won the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Tourism Award and Environment Award. We were also delighted to be the 2007 NZ Tourism Award Winners for Leisure Activity and Small Business.

Quality Tourism Standards

We are the only adventure company in Marlborough to hold externally recognised quality tourism standards. We are holders of the Qualmark Visitor Endorsed accreditation and also are Outdoors Mark accredited.

You can be assured that we have endeavoured to consider every element of your adventure holiday in the Marlborough Sounds.  We work hard to ensure that right from the first point of contact with us to your arrival, participation on the trip and departure from our office on the last day, you have had a wonderful adventure holiday experience that exceeds all your expectations.

We look forward to sharing our beautiful corner of New Zealand with you soon.

Sara, Dave and the team.