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Matiu/Somes Island is a predator-free scientific reserve. It is also a historic reserve with a rich multicultural history.


Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Walking and tramping


  • Information panels
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets
  • Visitor centre
  • Pest free
    Protect our wildlife
    • Check - your gear for pests, eg. rodents, insects, skinks
    • Clean - footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds
    • Seal - ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

    More about visiting pest free islands

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    Getting there

    Public transport

    Transport to Matiu/Somes Island is by East by West Ferry (Dominion Post Ferry) departing from Queens Wharf Wellington City or Days Bay, and Seatoun or Petone on most weekends. On weekdays the last scheduled ferry departs Queens Wharf at 2:15 pm and Days Bay at 3:15 pm.

    • We highly recommend groups of more than 20 people, and those staying overnight, book a place on the ferry.
    • In severe weather conditions one or both ferries can be cancelled.
    • For ferry bookings and scheduling information, phone +64 4 499 1282.

    Recreational boats or kayaks

    Visitors may also arrive by kayak or private vessel between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm.

    • Read Matiu/Somes Island boat access for landing protocols.
    • Check for rodents before leaving for Matiu/Somes Island. 
    • No landings are permitted elsewhere on the island.
    • Dinghies and kayaks can be pulled ashore between the wharves, to the north of the northern wharf or to the south of the main wharf. All other boats may briefly unload at the main wharf, but then must move to the mooring buoys, or further offshore.

    On arrival at the main wharf and toilets, you will be met by a ranger who will take you through the biosecurity checks. These prevent unwanted plants and insects arriving on the island.

    After a short introduction to the island, you can start a walk. 

    Know before you go

    • All visitors must check their bags for unwanted pests in the Whare Kiore/quarantine building which is located next to the main wharf.
    • Pets are not permitted on Matiu/Somes and other harbour islands.
    • Due to fire hazards and limited water supply, fires are not allowed and smoking is restricted to the main wharf.
    • The island may be closed to visitors at times of extreme fire danger. If you discover a fire, call 111 and go immediately to the wharf.
    • If you think there is a safety hazard in a conservation area, call the DOC HOTline 0800 362 468 or the nearest DOC office.
    • Cycling is not permitted on the island for the safety of all visitors.

    Other harbour islands

    • No landing is permitted at any time on Mokopuna Island Scientific Reserve, a sensitive sea bird breeding area. 
    • Landing is permitted on the Makaro/Ward Island Scientific Reserve. Pets, fires, and overnight camping are not permitted on the island.

    Unwanted pests and weeds

    The most likely way pest animals and plants can invade the island is by stowing away on or in your footwear or gear, or on your vessel or kayak. It’s easy to pick one up. Rats can squeeze through a 12 mm gap, mice can squeeze through a 7 mm gap, insects and mice could hide in your bag, weeds, seeds and soil cling to clothing and shoes.

    Check your gear and vessel before you set out, every time. Ensure that your clothing, footwear and luggage is free of plant material including seeds and foliage.

    Once checked keep your bags tightly closed and keep food supplies in sealed containers.

    What to do if you find a pest

    • On the mainland: get rid of the pest and clean your gear again.
    • On your own boat or in your kayak: make sure the pest has been destroyed before you land. Don't throw rats/mice overboard as they can swim. Return to the mainland to deal with the pest if you need to.
    • On a commercial boat: tell the crew what you have found and where it is.


    Pōneke / Wellington Visitor Centre
    Phone:      +64 4 384 7770
    Address:   18 Manners Street
    Full office details
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