Located in the Wellington/Kapiti region
IntroductionMatiu/Somes Island is a predator-free scientific reserve. It is also a historic reserve with a rich multicultural history.
Find things to do and places to stay Matiu/Somes Island
Matiu/Somes Island offers excellent views, bird watching opportunities as well as the chance to study other plants and animals enjoying the pest-free environment.
A variety of native animals have been reintroduced to the island, including:
- red-crowned parakeet/kākāriki – which are very visible and vocal around the island
- reptiles, including the ancient tuatara, and
- Cook Strait giant weta and Wellington tree weta, which have their own motels.
Matiu/Somes Island is a great destination for a day out paddling on the harbour. Find out about the rules for landing on the island before setting out.
The historic Caretakers Cottage can be hired as overnight accommodation on the island.
You can get to Matiu/Somes Island on the scheduled ferry service which runs between Queens Wharf and Days Bay seven days a week.
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.
If you plan to arrive by private boat or kayak, find out about the rules for landing on the island.
All drone use must be authorised by DOC
A concession is required to fly a drone on any public conservation land.
Upon arrival to Mātiu/Somes there will be a supervised biosecurity check for all visitors to the island. This check involves making sure all bags, pockets, and prams are free of rodents, insects and plant material, and that footwear are clean to a good standard.
Following the biosecurity check there will be an outline of several health and safety rules while on the island. Depending on how clean the gear is, the biosecurity check can take up to 15 – 20 minutes.
Since pests were eradicated the island has become a sanctuary for native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates including tuatara, kakariki, North Island robin, little blue penguins and weta.
It may be a small island but its place in New Zealand’s history is huge. Its harbour location made it an ideal location for New Zealand’s first inner harbour lighthouse, a human quarantine station, an internment camp, military defence position and an animal quarantine station.