Smack in the center of Wellington's large harbor sits Somes Island, an ecological reserve overlooked by almost everyone visiting the capital.
Boasting a colorful Maori and European history, Somes Island is now a nature preserve open to visitors. Predator-free for years, it is home to many of New Zealand's most famous flora and fauna, like giant wetas and little blue penguins, even the jurassic tuatara lizards make an appearance at night if you're lucky.
Open to visitors, you can hop on a quick ferry over from the Queen's Wharf for the day or chose to camp and stay the night on Somes Island. There are kitchens, bathrooms and even cabins, everything you might need is available.
From its strategic location in the harbor, you get amazing views of Wellington and the surrounding neighborhoods, though undoubtedly the best views happen as the sun sets and the stars come out.