Back to Matiu/Somes! While Emma and I were only there a few hours, there was so much to explore. After visiting the animal quarantine quarters, we went to the visitor center, passing a couple works of art on the way.
The visitor center had all sorts of information about the island, including a video that featured some of my Zoo colleagues speaking about gecko monitoring. Wellington Zoo employees come here from October to April for counts and checks of the endemic Wellington Green Gecko and Ngahere Gecko. I’m on the list to hopefully go one weekend this season!
Besides that, my favorite exhibit had to be this tiny replica DOC hut. A lot of work went into this little cozy cabin.
Onward to the highest point of the island!
In addition to more elusive creatures like tuatara and geckos, the island is also home to one of NZ’s most plentiful residents.
Not a baaaad place to call home!
Let’s step back in history for a moment. In 1942, anti-aircraft guns were mounted on Matiu/Somes, meant to combat high-flying enemy aircraft. Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, and in February 1942 bombs fell much closer to home in Darwin, Australia. The guns were manned from January 1942 to September 1944, but thankfully never saw action.
Five concreted structures (a command post and four gun positions) still stand strong.
Nowadays, they’re just maaaanned by these guys. Ok, I’ll stop now.
On the path up, we passed a gnarled, windswept tree that I couldn’t help but photograph multiple times. As often happens to me in NZ, I wondered if a hobbit might come around the bend.
Down below, we glimpsed a ferry nearing the island. Luckily, ours wasn’t due for a little while.
Time for more self-timer photos!
Jumping shots are pretty hard when you’re on a timer, as I’ve learnt, but this final product/goofy takeoff is pretty hilarious.
Another view to rival many around here – a lighthouse, Wellington rising in the distance, and cloud shadows playing on the turquoise harbor.
Here’s my fave tree from another angle, kneeling down to meet the hill that supports it.
This is about as Kiwi as it gets…
Oh hayyy, here’s a familiar tree in b&w.
And a familiar sheep.
When I see a tree I like, usually this happens…
It was clearly kneeling on the ground so little humans could do just this.
After circumnavigating Matiu/Somes, it was time me & Em to head back to the ferry port for our scheduled trip back.
Farewell, Matiu/Somes, with your somewhat dark history, but very bright future.
Coming soon, an epic trip to Queenstown with seven fab ladies!