About Us

We are a passionate team with the vision of delivering
the best & most exciting Marlborough experience for our customers

Travel . Tours . Adventure

Sounds Connection has been operating since 1993 and is privately owned by Marlborough locals Mark and Maria Baxter. And while some might say more than 20 years is an impressive stint – the connection goes back even further, as Mark’s father, and grandfather, operated a water taxi service and fishing excursions company in the Queen Charlotte Sound before him.

While Mark and Maria have a longstanding connection, and over 20 years of sharing Marlborough experiences with clients, they’re still as enthusiastic and fresh about it as the day they started. They genuinely believe Marlborough is a fabulous place to visit, stay and explore, and will never tire of sharing it with you!

As the Marlborough wine region has developed, the range and options for touring wineries and vineyards with Sounds Connection has likewise grown.

Sounds Connection is now the leading tour operator in Marlborough and has developed itineraries for the whole “Top of the South” area.

Individual and group itinerary options are delivered with a level of professionalism and experience which is second-to-none.

Sounds Connection is also the preeminent fishing charter operator in the Marlborough Sounds. It’s no exaggeration to say they know the waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound like the back of their hand – and after three generations of fishing excursions in these waters, it’s no surprise!

Sounds Connection has strong partnerships with accommodation providers and tourist attraction operators, and works collaboratively to create great tailor-made conference options. This can include anything from land tours, kayaking, fishing and cruising, to name a few. We also provide personalised options for South Island experiences.

Our fleet of vehicles is also top-class. We have luxury modern cars, mini-vans, and larger coaches (seating 20-45 people) – as well as fantastic charter boats to ensure a great trip into the waters of the Marlborough Sounds.

We pride ourselves on offering a reliable service, with knowledgeable local guides, quality vehicles and the flexibility of daily options or the choice of a bespoke tour.

Our Team

Mark Baxter

Marlborough local Mark Baxter loves sharing his slice of paradise with visitors. As well as being co-owner of Sounds Connection, Mark is our experienced skipper!  You might say it's in his blood as Mark’s father, and grandfather, operated a water taxi service and fishing excursions company in the Queen Charlotte Sound before him. You can often hear him say that the Sounds are some of the most beautiful waters he has fished in and "that is why we live here!”

Maria Baxter

Maria (together with husband Mark) has been sharing the magic of Marlborough with visitors since 1993. In between looking after 3 growing children, her hobbies include playing netball and enjoying the occasional glass of Marlborough wine! Maria is the Marketing Manager and Accounts Clerk of Sounds Connection. Maria is always kept busy and loves getting out on tour and showcasing the stunning Marlborough region whenever she can.

Sarah Grice
Office Manager

Sarah has been working alongside her twin sister Maria and her brother-in-law, Mark, for the past 20 years - moving home from England to help Maria and Mark with the building of the Sounds Connection business since day dot! Sarah is our “jack of all trades” so you will find her in the office on the end of the phone taking your bookings and enquiries. When not in the office she is usually out taking our clients on one of our many tours exploring Marlborough's finest.

Ange Henry-Gifford
Tour Coordinator and Marketing Assistant

Our ever-cheerful Ange Henry-Gifford is likely to be your first port of call as she can be found at the Sounds Connection office, answering your calls and email enquiries. Ange loves the people and experiences that Marlborough has to offer - and enjoys introducing this to Sounds Connection clients. When not answering calls and taking bookings, Ange can be found updating our Facebook page, working on new brochures or ordering oil for Mark’s boat!


Our team of local and experienced tour guides love showcasing the Marlborough region. Whether it’s taking clients on our range of our wine tours, conference and transport requirements, transport you to local events or private tours – these guys and girls have got it covered!

They love sharing their wealth of knowledge about the Marlborough region including the world famous wine area, the townships of Picton, Blenheim and Havelock and, of course, the majestic Marlborough Sounds! They are ready and waiting for you to join them on tour in their little slice of paradise today!

What Customers Say

  • “I cannot thank you enough for making our day out with you to the Sounds last Wednesday so memorable, and for the bus service on the Thursday to the car museum. Your driver gave a fascinating run-down on the route, and the Tory was exactly right for our group of twelve. Mark showed what a true Kiwi is all about with his friendliness and expertise; how he caught that fish in his hands was quite remarkable. All in all your Sounds experience was the highlight of our little tour of the Blenheim region, which we genuinely appreciated.”
    Group Tour (with transfer, wine tour & fishing all in one)
  • "I would rate this tour as absolute value for money, and my choice of another trip with the Sounds Connection team was the highlight of my visit to Marlborough."
    Barry, from Perth
    Half Day Wine Tour
  • "We had a great day on the Gourmet Wine Experience! Memorable for the excellent lunch, the wines and the stories behind them. Our guide was friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the area, the wineries, and the history of winemaking in Marlborough."
    Stephanie & Peter Campbell-Smith
    Gourmet Wine Experience
  • “There are many wine tour operators to choose from but we selected Sounds Connection on the advice of our B&B hostess. They were great – A+ service all the way from picking us up & dropping off at our B&B, to our friendly & knowledgeable driver to the manager who ordered a birthday brownie with candles for my boyfriend’s New Year’s Eve birthday lunch. They stopped at great boutique hotels and we loved our lunch at Allan Scott wine > best food we had our entire trip.”  
    Half Day Wine Tour
  • “All the way from Houston, Texas, we were greeted promptly for our all day adventure. [Our guide] chose great vineyards...large ones, small ones, family owned, and organic. We went to 3 vineyards and then had lunch at the Allan Scott winery at their Twelve Trees restaurant...it was phenomenal. We picked up some more couples after lunch and toured 4 more wineries and a chocolate factory. Great day, great service, great people, great time! Highly recommend Sam and Sounds Connection.”
    Full Day Wine Tour
  • “What a day! This was one of the best days we have ever had as a family. The Marlborough Sounds are one of New Zealand’s best holiday spots and Mark is so knowledgeable and so willing to share this knowledge. We caught so many fish and so many different varieties including an octopus! (He had to go back). After the most amazing day out on the water Mark filleted our fish for us. I would recommend this to everyone who wants a day or even a few hours of unforgettable fishing.”
    Fishing Charter
  • “A quick note to say thanks to you and Capt Mark (& First Mate Hamish) for a fantastic day on the water. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience of fishing with the extra bonus of seeing birds, seals and dolphins.”
    Liz Young
    Fishing Charter
  • “My mother and I both really enjoyed our private tour back in November. It was a real pleasure working with you and the other office staff to get this tour together... I wish every company in every tourist destination was as attentive and professional as you and your colleagues.”
    Private Tour
  • “We both agreed that the day in Marlborough doing the wineries was amongst the highlights and we continue to sing your praises at every chance we get. Thanks again for an awesome, informative day.”
    Rich and Leanne Martin
    Private Tour
  • “I just wanted to say how efficient the service was shipping us around in the weekend – the drivers were more than happy to accommodate us and turn up the music, give us some sight-seeing etc. It all went very smoothly... Many thanks again, we will use your service again in the future.”
    Wine Festival Transport
  • "It was an excellent day, stunning weather, stunning vineyards and a fantastic tour guide named Don. We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to Don who catered and cared for us on our Wine Tour. From greeting us at the bottom of the escalators at the Interislander to ensuring we were on time at each vineyard and giving us personalised information ... We’d definitely be recommending your team to tour with."
    Tiana Lauesi
    Group Wine Tour