Somes Island Travel Guide

  • View to Wellington from Somes Island.
    View to Wellington from Somes Island.
    by Kakapo2
  • Gun emplacement at the summit of the island.
    Gun emplacement at the summit of the...
    by Kakapo2
  • Somes Island
    by craic

Somes Island Things to Do

  • Follow the Biosecurity Measures

    When you get off the ferry at the wharf, a DOC (Department of Conservation) ranger welcomes you, and the first thing that happens is that all visitors have to go into a one-room hut with two doors.Both doors have to be closed, and during the following procedure nobody must leave or enter the room.All visitors must have their bags to be checked for...

  • Do not Miss to Visit the Visitor Centre

    The Visitor Centre on Matiu/Somes Island is open from 8.30am to 5pm daily. There is also a Field Centre nearby, as staff of the Department of Conservation monitor flora and fauna closely.In the Visitor Centre you find displays, brochures and books about the history and nature of the island, and there are also toilet facilities. (Some more would be...

  • Start and Finish your Tour at the Main...

    There are two wharves on the island but only one of them is used, and it is the one where you arrive, the Main Wharf. (The Northern Wharf would be just a stonethrow away.)There you have the DoC building where biosecurity controls take place before you are allowed to walk on the island, and it is one of the two safe assembly areas. It would be the...

  • Go on a self-guided Walk

    It is good to have a map of the island (you get it at the DoC office in Manners Street, and I think they were also available on the island), as there is more than just one loop trail around the island, and it is essential to check from time to time where you are, so you are back at the wharf in time for the departure of your ferry.But you do not...

  • Enjoy the Views from Gun Emplacements &...

    To defend the capital against hostile aircraft in World War II, six Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery (HAA) sites were built at strategic high points of the city. One of those sites was the summit of Somes Island. It consisted of a command post and four gun emplacements, each of which held a 3.7 calibre gun with a rate of fire of 10 to 12 rounds per...

  • Have a Picnic with a View

    This picnic spot is really a magnificent place with a great view of Shag Rock and Wellington int he background. You can watch the odd boat or, with a little luck, the ferry that does not service the island very frequently. But mostly you watch the sky and sea.The picnic spot is high above one of the many bays that are dotted around the lighthouse....


Somes Island Transportation

  • Individual Boating Access

    The island is also accessible to recreational boats, be it motor boats or kayaks.If you plan to visit this way, please make sure your boats and bags are pest- and rodent-free. You are allowed to pull dinghies and kayaks ashore near the two wharves. All other boats can only land to unload stuff at the main wharf but most then move to the mooring...

  • The Dominion Post Ferry to the Island

    The most common way to get to Matiu/Somes Island is by the Wellington Harbour Ferry. You will easily spot it at Queen’s Wharf thanks to its big advertising design of the Dominion Post. The ferry stops several times a day at the island on the way to Days Bay.The first ferry of the day that stops at the island leaves Queen’s Wharf leaves at 10am. The...

  • Somes Island Hotels

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Somes Island Favorites

  • Revegetating coastal Forest

    -Like so many other places in New Zealand, Matiu/Somes Island had been deforested by Maori hunting and European logging and farming. When it was decided to turn the island into a sanctuary, volunteers, DOC staff, and the Lower Hutt branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society planted so many native trees and shrubs over the years that the...

  • Wildlife (2): Skinks, Geckos, Tuatara...

    As I was on Matiu/Somes Island on a beautiful sunny day the skinks and geckos of the island took sunbaths on the walking tracks, so I could spot and photograph quite some of them. Most were Spotted Skinks.It is rather hard to distinguish all the skink species. I showed my photos to the DoC ranger and she tried to identify them. She had thought I...

  • Resident Sheep

    -We had been told about the resident sheep of the island and were asked not to scare them off. We finally met them at the summit in the area of the gun emplacements where the walls of those concrete constructions and some trees provided shelter and shade.Kimi the Bear sneaked near the sheep over a gun emplacement, so they could not see him, and we...


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