Wilderness Guides Limited is 100% owned and operated by Steve and Juliet Gibbons, born and bred New Zealanders who grew up in the Marlborough region at the top of the South Island and developed a passion for the outdoors. As owners and outdoor guides, Juliet & Steve truly know what makes trips memorable for their guests.
Join Steve, Juliet and their small, friendly team for guided or independent sea kayaking tours in the Marlborough Sounds including our new 1 Day Ship Cove Guided Kayak in the remote reaches of Queen Charlotte Sound, mountain biking and gourmet guided or independent hikes on the Queen Charlotte Track - or a combination of all three with our original Marlborough Sounds adventure combo tours.
The Waterfront, PO Box 610
Corner London Quay & Wellington Street, Picton
The Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds has rapidly become known as the finest and most diverse coastal track in New Zealand with many track options to suit your fitness level and tastes.
It is located at the top of the South Island, near the famous Marlborough wine region and accessed by boat from Picton to its beginning at the scenic and historic reserve of Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound. This is an area steeped in both Maori and European history. Today the stunning Marlborough Sounds are known as a maritime and eco-tour haven – popular all year round with sailors, hikers, trekkers, mountain bikers, adventure seekers and eco-tourists.
The Queen Charlotte Track is 70km long and most people walk the track over four days, although there is the ability to do any combination from one to five days. One of the advantages of this walk is the option to catch a water taxi if on any given day you decide not to walk. And you need walk only with a day pack as your overnight luggage goes onwards by water taxi each day.
The track is also popular with mountain bikers and certain sections are able to be biked all year round. Most sections of the track are wide and benched and all the major streams have been bridged. There is one swing bridge which is wide and sturdy. Boots and a good level of fitness are recommended for this track. Running shoes or walking sandals may also be suffice during the height of summer.
Wilderness Guides offer the most extensive range of guided walking and independent hiking packages to experience the Queen Charlotte Track. Our boutique lodge guided walk was even rated as one of the 25 Best New Trips in the World 2008 by National Geographic Adventure Magazine!
As Queen Charlotte Track specialists, our tours offer value for money, exceptional service and a commitment to the track environment. Both independent and guided walk options from one day to multi days are available depending on the style of experience you prefer.
Widely recognised as the best single track in New Zealand, Queen Charlotte Track is rated as one of this country’s 23 Great Rides and there is little wonder why!
With its wide, benched surface, spectacular views, native bush and, in parts, technical difficulty, the track offers bikers an exhilarating challenge. And, of course, you don't have to carry a heavy pack as while you ride from place to place, one of the many water taxi companies will transport this for you to your accommodation.
Its unique dual use enables both walkers and mountain bikers to co-exist - albeit by relying on courtesy from both parties. The surface of the track is mostly clay which makes for a hard and fast ride over the dry summer months but it can be tricky after rain and biking is not recommended at such times for your comfort and to protect the track from damage. Parts of the track are suitable for less experienced bikers while others are recommended for those with a reasonable amount of technical experience. Whichever part of the track you tackle, rest assured a fantastic biking adventure awaits!
Wilderness Guides offer quality mountain bikes for hire - these are 24-speed Kona bikes with front suspension, hard tail, disc brakes and are maintained daily. A helmet, repair kit and pump is also provided as part of your hire.
Contact us for more information on the best way to experience the track by mountain bike and we can help plan your visit, including accommodation bookings and water transport to and from the Queen Charlotte Track.
With 1500km of coastline to explore, stretching from just north of Kaikoura to the tip of d'Urville Island, the Marlborough Sounds is a truly remarkable sea kayaking destination.
What makes your sea kayaking experience in the Marlborough Sounds different to other parts of New Zealand? The climate for a start - here at the top of the South Island, visitors can enjoy a generally settled year round climate with many more paddling days available than in other sea kayaking destinations around the country. You'll also escape the crowds as with such an extensive network of waterways, even at the height of summer you can normally find a wee corner of paradise to explore without masses of others. Or, at least you won't be dashing to be first to already crowded beaches.
There is also the amazing range of accommodation options available for guided or independent sea kayakers - from Department of Conservation campsites spread conveniently a day's paddle apart to popular lodges and even five star resorts. Fancy stopping for a cappuccino or how about dining in a fine restaurant at some stage during your paddle? It’s all possible in the Marlborough Sounds.
And there is wilderness in abundance too so if you want to escape the crowds, we can design a trip with this in mind. Whatever your preference, the Marlborough Sounds has a memorable kayaking option for you.
As Marlborough Sounds’ sea kayak operators, we have an unblemished safety record and our friendly, thorough and professional approach has seen many people come as customers and leave as friends. Wilderness Guides is adventure audit approved by Outdoors Mark and we operate above and beyond the SKOANZ (Sea Kayak Operators of New Zealand) Code of Practice.
We’ve had more than a decade of experience as one of the leading providers of sea kayak tours in the area and we are known for our flexibility and dedication to customer service. We truly care about your enjoyment, safety and comfort and nightly weather forecasts while you are on your trip are part of this.
So, talk to us soon about your kayak adventure in the Marlborough Sounds – this is where your adventure begins.
“Excellent day out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 24 June 2015
Given that we went to picton planning for a single daytime event, the half day kayak here was a wonderful experience. For us it was more than just a tour since we were a bit new to Kayaking, adding all the more value to the whole tour. The guide was great and gave us good explanations on legends and famous stories around picton. Even though we could not complete the exact route due to the wind, we did get the chance to see a resting seal and the great sights of the queen Charlotte sound.
Great experience :)
Visited June 2015
“Half Day Kayak is wonderful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 30 April 2015
To be honest, I didn't expect I like kayak so much. Thanks martin gave me and my wife a wonderful trip. He was so nice and had patient to communicate with us (with our poor English speaking)
The view around the bay was so nice and it is worthy to pay a day to explore the wild animal in the bay.
You can bring your camera. Camera will keep in a water proof cabin. You can take it out if you need it. Kayaking won't really get wet.
“Amazing 4 day freedom Kayak”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 7 April 2015
first multi day kayak for us and steve and the team pushed our horizons. The team do a great briefing and then gave us some challenges. On their suggestions we kayaked out to Blumine Island and had two wonderful nights here and then on to Cannibal Cove for a night. On their recommendations we got a water taxi back to Picton from Ships Cove. This made the most of our long weekend exploring the outer islands of the sounds.
Visited April 2015