Somes Island

Despite living in for 40 years, I had never been to Matiu/Soames Island before this weekend. It has around 15,000 visitors a year.

I went there on Saturday to help with a treasure hunt for 20 five and six year olds for my niece’s birthday. It was a beautifully sunny day and I spent some of it wondering why I had never come out here before. It is definitely being added to my list of places to take out of town or country visitors.

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The island from the East by West Ferry as it approaches.

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The kids had to find seven treasures on the island (think 20 necklaces, 20 rings, 20 bracelets etc from $2 shop) at different places on the island, and once they had them all they could go to the finish for a picnic lunch. We split them into five groups of four and two of us adults went with each group.

You can see what a great place it would be for a lunch with a view.

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The sea was wonderfully blue, with Wellington in the background.

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Next to the lighthouse is an old tram track.

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The Southern Lookout, with a view of the harbour entrance.

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At the top of the island are the old WWII gun emplacements. The view from here is remarkable.

It is of course just common sense, but gives you the best harbour views of all of Wellington – even better than Roseneath. You can see the harbour entrance, Wellington, Petone, Days Bay – the lot – as you are in the middle of it.

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The kids at the picnic at the end.

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The ferry returning for the pick up. I felt a bit sorry for the other passengers on board who suddenly had 20 noisy kids to cope with.

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And who knew it, they can actually line up in single file!

As I said it was a fun day. The concept of a treasure hunt for the kids was brilliant, and they had a great day. I also enjoyed getting to enjoy some magnificent views on a sunny day. Definitely aim to go back there with some friends for a picnic lunch over summer.

Two amusing things from the DOC briefing in the hut after you disembark. They close everyone in the hut, and you have to search your bags in case any mice (or rats) may have smuggled aboard. The signs on the wall proclaimed that if a mouse is found the doors must be kept closed until it has been killed. I had a wry smile at the thought of trying to kill a mouse in front of 20 five year olds. I suspect they may have formed a human defence barrier!

The other thing that amused me (doesn’t take much) was the DOC ranger who told the kids not to pet the lambs. She went on to say how one lamp is super cute and may even come close to you. However she told the five year olds than if you pat her, then her mother will probably abandon her, and then she will die, and then I (the ranger) will have to dig a hole and bury her. That seemed to do the trick and the lambs were left alone!

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