Matiu/Somes Island

Matiu/Somes Island is a tranquil retreat for both wildlife and visitors

matiu somes island aerial view of island in middle of harbour


Wellington Harbour


Matiu/Somes Island
Wellington Harbour


+64 4 568 6555

Situated in the middle of Wellington's stunning harbour, visitors can wander amid native plant and bird life while tracing the island's extraordinary history.

The island was home to Maori, has two pa sites, and was also used as an alien internment camp and quarantine station. 

matiu somes island little blue penguin on rocks CREDIT wildlifeleelo
matiu somes island park ranger shearing sheep
matiu somes island tuatara CREDIT leonberardnz
Matiu/Somes Island

Matiu/Somes Island is located smack bang in the middle of Wellington Harbour.

Māori have occupied this island for generations. In more recent times, Matiu/Somes Island has served as a human and animal quarantine station, an internment camp, and a military defence position. It is now a Department of Conservation scientific and historic reserve.

This stunning nature reserve is a haven for endangered native birds and other wildlife, and features a long list of historic and ecological attractions. You’ll travel through thriving native forest and plant life on your way to visit WWII gun emplacements, old quarantine buildings, and a quaint lighthouse.

While most people day trip and explore the walking trail, you can book to camp on the island too.


The island can be accessed on the East By West ferry which runs daily.

East By West Ferries close up of people on top deck of ferry

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