Matiu / Somes Island

January 2023

Matiu/Somes Island is located in the middle of Wellington Harbour and is a predator-free scientific reserve. There are regular ferries from the Wellington waterfront out to the island, occassionally run by the electric ferry!

It has a history of being a strategic fortress for Māori, before becoming the site of Wellington's first harbour lighthouse. The island also spent about a hundred years being a quarantine station, and today when you visit the island you can explore the old quarantine buildings, which is a bit eery but quite cool! In World War II the island once again became a key defensive feature and an internment site.

Since being returned to iwi and becoming predator-free, the island has been rewilded with various native bird and plant-life reintroduced. As a result, when you arrive on Matiu Island, you are given a brief quarantine talk and asked to check our bags, shoes, etc for any accidental passengers. There are plenty of tracks on the island to make this an excellent little day trip.