Where this Marlborough tour operator finds ‘incredible whitebait sandwiches’

Maria Baxter, owner of the Marlborough travel agency, Sounds Connection.


Maria Baxter, owner of the Marlborough travel agency, Sounds Connection.

A quick chat with Maria Baxter, owner of Marlborough travel agency, Sounds Connection.

Where would you take every visitor to New Zealand and why?

Malborough, of course. This region has enormous diversity, from exploring the Marlborough Sounds and walking the Queen Charlotte Track to visiting our world famous wine country. We even have a local ski area in the winter. The diversity continues with easily accessible high country areas on our east coast as well as the exciting development of the Whale Trail through this region from Picton.

What is your favorite secret spot in your garden?

Go fishing in the Queen Charlotte Sound with friends or family, then drop anchor in a quiet bay with my favorite songs, a sip of Sauvignon Blanc and some sashimi. My husband Mark runs our boat so I never even have to bait a hook or touch a fish which is perfect.

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The Marlborough Sounds are home to stunning cliffside drives, remote glamping spots and even an underwater observatory.

What’s your favorite place for a pie/coffee?

We are so spoiled in this area for artisan food and coffee that I couldn’t choose just one place – you can’t go wrong anywhere you stop to eat or drink in Marlborough. However, if I travel further south, I always make time to stop by Karaka Café in Ōkiwi Bay for great coffee, amazing sandwiches and crayfish, and good food. This cafe opened after the Kaikōura earthquake and is a great place.

Which New Zealand spot is at the top of your to-do list?

I would really love to try a gourmet glamping holiday in a remote part of New Zealand – anywhere, really.

Stay safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.