Matiu / Somes is a wildlife reserve and makes for a fantastic Wellington overnight option. It's far easier than you might expect. Just book your campsite online here at ( http://booking.doc.govt.nz/default.aspx?sg=msc ) then drive to an overnight carpark and take one of the many scheduled East / West Ferries over to the island. You won't regret the little bit of extra effort. Kakariki are all over the island and if you see a ranger ask them if you can see if the oldest tuatara around is out of his burrow.
North Island ▷ Wellington Region ▷ Wellington
This was a great campsite for my daughter and myself. The rangers are very picky of course about how clean your gear is when you arrive. They literally went through our tent with a dustbuster before we were allowed out of the hut they send you to when you arrive, but everyone there was super friendly. The campsite itself also has a kitchen and toilet facility, and power for charging stuff, The bird life is really close and accessible, we went for a night walk and also saw Weta and Tuataras on the path. We also went up to the old gun emplacement at the summit of the island. Great safe place to let your kids explore.
The boat trip just make it more of an adventure. Great time and would recommend it, especially for families.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍