Located in the Wellington/Kapiti region
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.
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:
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 a basic conference-type facility.
You can get to Matiu/Somes Island on the scheduled ferry service which runs between Queens Wharf and Days Bay seven days a week, and from Seatoun on Saturday and Sundays.
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.
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.
Matiu/Somes Island sits in the middle of Wellington Harbour. This video explores the island's history and its many roles, including quarantine station, military outpost and now wildlife refuge.
Ongoing/dates vary: Located in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington Harbour, Matiu/Somes Island Scientific and Historic Reserve is a tranquil retreat for wildlife and visitors.
Matiu/Somes Island, known as Matiu to Maori, has long a pre-European history dating back to Kupe. Discover native wildlife, visit the lighthouse and WWII bunkers for a journey back in time, and meet the local sheep on the island’s farm.