Worth a Trip: Days Bay & Matiu-Somes Island

Wellingtonians have been taking day trips across the harbour to Days Bay since the 1880s. At the bay there's a beach, a park and a cafe, and a boatshed with kayaks and bikes for hire. A 10-minute walk from Days Bay leads to Eastbourne, a beachy township with cafes, a cute pub, a summer swimming pool and a playground.

The sweet little East by West Ferry plies the 20- to 30-minute route 16 times a day on weekdays and eight times on weekends; some sailings stop in Petone and Seatoun as well.

Three or four of the daily ferries also stop at Matiu/Somes Island in the middle of the harbour, a DOC-managed reserve that is home to weta, tuatara, kakariki and little blue penguins, among other critters. The island is rich in history, having once been a prisoner-of-war camp and quarantine station. Take a picnic lunch, or even stay overnight in the basic campsite (adult/child $13/6.50) or at one of the two DOC cottages (sole-occupancy $200): book online at www.doc.govt.nz or at the DOC Wellington Visitor Centre.