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Matiu/Somes Island Lighthouse

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Business Type: Lighthouse


The light at Matiu/Somes has been guiding maritime traffic safely across Wellington Harbour since 1866. The present tower is the second at this site.

Address: Matiu/Somes Island, Wellington 5012, New Zealand Wellington & Surrounds



After several safety incidents at the entrance of Wellington harbour, the Wellington provincial council built New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse at Pencarrow in 1859.  Before too long it became clear that there was a need for another navigational aid within the harbour itself.

The lighthouse at Somes Island (re-named after Joseph Somes, the Deputy Governor of the New Zealand Company) was erected in 1865 along with a 6-room lighthouse keeper’s house. The lighthouse was a 14-foot cast iron tower that had been imported from England. The light entered service on 17 February 1866, burning colza (rapeseed) oil and shining a white light down the centre of the channel and a red or green light at either side

By 1895, there were calls for a stronger light on Somes Island that could be seen further out to sea. A new lighthouse was built and began operation on 21 February 1900.  The old tower was removed and taken to Jack’s Point, Timaru where it can still be seen today. This new light was considered to be a great improvement, visible for 16 miles into the Cook Strait.

The light is still in use today.

Source and more info: DoC


Ferries provide a regular service to the island from central Wellington and Days Bay. On arrival, visitors are asked to check their bags for small stowaways (rodents) in the quarantine shed. The loop track takes about 40 minutes to walk.

Photo Gallery

By  <ahref= 111emergency/5043817246/> 111emergency </a> on <a href=>Flickr</a>

By 111emergency on Flickr

  • By  <ahref= brainsluice/154709720/> brainsluice </a> on <a href=>Flickr</a>

Click here for Slideshow. You can also click on any of the photos to start slideshow.

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