View from Matiu/Somes Island (Wellington city in the background)


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


Matiu Somes Island is owned by local iwi (Taranaki Whānui) following a Treaty settlement. It is governed by a Kaitiaki Board and managed by DOC. See the Wellington Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Plan.


Find things to do and places to stay Matiu/Somes Island

Guided walks are usually taken by our volunteer Eastbourne Forest Rangers.

They cover the fascinating multi-layered history of the island as well as the historic and biodiversity conservation which is taking place now. The walks also increase your chance of finding some of the rare and shy wildlife.

  • Guided walks take around 2 hours depending on group size, fitness, time on the island and interests.
  • Walks start at 11 am on weekdays.
  • During summer weekends and public holidays, guided walks depart from the wharf at 11 am and 1 pm, depending on guide availability.
  • Anyone is welcome to join.


  • Weekend walks at 11 am for small groups up to 12. Book online.
  • At any other time or for larger groups, guided walks must be booked at least two weeks in advance via the DOC Wellington Visitor Centre. Phone +64 4 384 7770 or email
  • Cost: $10 per adult, $2 per child. School groups: $2 per child, adults free. Payment by cash only.
  • Discounts are available for larger adult groups (11-20 people 25%, 20+ people 50%).
  • Minimum group number is three.

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.

Find out about the plants and animals on the island

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.

Check you are pest-free

Check, clean, and seal your gear to ensure you don't bring pests, soil, and seeds.

See island biosecurity requirements.


Kapiti Wellington Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 4 384 7770
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   18 - 32 Manners Street
Postal Address:   PO Box 10420
The Terrace
Wellington 6143
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