Looking after “Our Place”

Every day we count ourselves extremely lucky to be a part of the Marlborough Sounds, and consequently we take our responsibility to our environment, and community very seriously. In fact, we view it as a fundamental part of our business.

Here are some of the steps we have taken towards our aim to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible. We encourage all our visitors to do the same.

Waste Reduction

Across the board our first option is “if possible, do not use it”. If there is a way to do something without creating waste, this is what we want to do. For example, investing in a booking system that allows us to do the entire booking through email, therefore cuts out the fax machine.  Even some of our furniture is recycled!


Our second option is to then select materials and items that can be reused. For example, we make use of lunch boxes that are washed daily, heavy-duty plastic bags for kayakers that are reused, old bicycle tubes are transformed into tree ties …and the list goes on…


Finally, if there is no other option, then (as far as possible) we select items and materials that are biodegradable or can be recycled. The non-reusable packaging in our lunches has been selected with this in mind, our brochures are printed on recycled paper, and we separate all our rubbish out – and ask all our guests to do so as well.

“Be a Tidy Kiwi”

Wherever in the world our visitors are from, we want to encourage them to be a “Tidy Kiwi” – what a great phrase! Why change a good thing?

Fungi | Marlborough Sounds

Ferns | Marlborough Sounds

To do this we have introduced “rubbish bags” on our guides’ boats. We not only want to take out all our own rubbish, but also anything else that shouldn’t be there. If each visitor takes out a minimum of one piece per person, we’ve made a step in the right direction.

Trees for Travellers

If you haven’t already, we would encourage you to offset the carbon emissions of your trip to New Zealand. There is a great little Marlborough company called Trees for Travellers that allows you to calculate and then offset the carbon emissions created by your trip to the Marlborough Sounds. Please visit Trees for Travellers to offset the carbon emissions of your trip.

Base Facilities

The advent of our new building has given us the opportunity to utilise some exciting new products. When selecting the fittings, those with materials sourced from sustainable resources were chosen. The Marmoleum (flooring) rates very highly in a Life-Cycle Analysis . Life-Cycle Analyses (LCAs) are applied throughout the world to quantify the potential environmental impacts of a product system over the whole lifecycle – that is, from the extraction of the raw materials through to the disposal of the product at the end of its useful life. The wood has been specifically sourced from sustainable forestry. Where practical we have installed lights on timers, and those that aren’t on timers have reminders to switch them off.

Fungi | Marlborough SoundsMarlborough Sounds


We are continually monitoring our electricity and fuel usage to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible. Shortly we will also include monitoring of our water usage. Finally, we also keep an eye on the amount of rubbish that we send to the dump each week. Through monitoring we can keep track of our energy and resource usage, and check the effects of any new initiatives we implement.

Community Involvement

One of the largest threats to the native bush of the Marlborough Sounds is the wilding pines that grow throughout the Sounds. These pines undermine the scenic qualities of the Sounds and threaten native flora and fauna. In some parts of the Sounds wilding pines are overtaking native plants as the dominant species. Sara is a Trustee on the Board of the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust, whose flagship programme is the removal of wilding pines from the Marlborough Sounds. Through collaboration with the Department of Conservation we have funded the design, printing and distribution of postcards to local residents. These are intended to protect the local weka population through highlighting the danger that dogs present to the wekas.

We are also very proud to support local schools and various community projects and initiatives – for example, by getting involved with local fundraising events.

Water Conservation

Rather than running a hose continuously we wash all our kayaking gear in a large tub. The kayaks themselves are rinsed with a hose that has been fitted with a hand held nozzle to prevent water wastage.