Catch the Dominion Post Ferry out to Matiu/Somes Island for a day of easy walking, wildlife encounters and harbour views. Grab coffee or brunch at Mojo before your ferry ride, and pack a picnic lunch to fuel your day of island site-seeing.
For some Wellingtonians, the Dominion Post Ferry is simply a routine part of the daily commute. For me, however, it’s a novel experience. I’m not quite sure why—maybe it’s just the excitement of cruising over water—but the whole thing is refreshing and feels like a holiday.
Making a visit to Matiu/Somes Island is a great excuse to travel by ferry, and an easy way to escape the city for a day and rejuvenate in nature.
I’d start with a caffeine hit at Mojo’s waterfront location, which is located on the non-sea facing side of the East by West office, where you can purchase your ferry tickets. The ferry arrives and departs here too (Queens Wharf).
Pack a picnic lunch before you go to make this an affordable and nature-filled day out—just be sure that your food is in sealed containers to meet the Island’s biosecurity requirements.
Where you’re going
Time to find out a little bit more about your destinations.
Kumototo Plaza, 33 Customhouse Quay
Mojo Coffee is another boutique coffee producer that Wellington can call its own. Founded in 2003 by Steve and Julie Gianoutsos, Mojo has now grown into a coffee powerhouse with 18 different locations in Wellington.
Mojo’s waterfront location is a swanky downtown space offering top-notch coffee and a selection of brunch options. If it’s a warm day, take a seat outside in the sun.
Opening hours: 7am–5pm weekdays. 8am–4pm on weekends.
Meridian Building, Waterside, Queens Wharf
The Dominion Post Ferry has three destinations—Queens Wharf, Matiu/Somes Island and Days Bay in Eastbourne.
Purchase tickets from the East by West main office at Queens Wharf, or onboard the Ferry outside of office opening hours.
Office hours: 9am–4.30pm weekdays. 9am–2.30pm on weekends and public holidays.See timetables and fares
Matiu/Somes Island is a scientific reserve managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). DOC work hard to keep this island predator-free, which results in thriving bird and wildlife. See wetas, native birds, and if you’re really lucky, the ancient tuatara will make an appearance.
Matiu/Somes has been occupied by Māori tribes for generations, with two established pā sites. There’s also military remnants here to satisfy history buffs, as the Island was used as a strategic defense point during both world wars.
Know before you go
- Make sure that you read DOC’s information about Somes before you go. You must take closed bags, sealed containers and check your gear for pests.
- There are a number of different easy walking tracks, such as the Loop Track, that will help you to explore and find impressive views. Find picnic tables scattered across the Island—see DOC’s brochure to start planning your lunch spot.
- Pack for changeable weather.
B. The Dominion Post Ferry
C. Matiu/Somes Island