The incredible Macquarie Island, the island at the end of the world

Where is Macquarie Island?

This Australian island, uninhabited except for the rangers who manage the place, is halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean. It is 34 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, with a surface area of 128 km2, and is attached to Tasmania.

Discovered in the early nineteenth century, in 1810, by seal hunters, it was named after the then Governor of New South Wales, Colonel Lachlan Macquarie.

Since 1978 Macquarie Island is a State Reserve, and since 1997 it is listed as a World Heritage Site for its setting and environment.

The unique fauna and flora of Macquarie

When you arrive on Macquarie by sea from Tasmania after obtaining your special Tasmanian Parks permit, your landing on the island is always greeted by a cool, welcoming breeze. Immediately your senses are called upon everywhere: in front, behind, above, at your feet, in the air. Because even if the island has no permanent human presence you are not alone. Oh no!

The island is indeed populated by an extravagant fauna with its colonies of penguins, royal penguins, elephant seals, birds, bobcats and a multitude of rabbits. Each one working for the survival of the species in a perfect cohesion as nature often knows how to do.

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In the air…

Among the various species of seabirds, 850,000 pairs of Schlegel’s Gorfu live here. They are marine and pelagic birds in the non-breeding season. They breed on the beaches and grassy slopes of this island, which is the third largest habitat site in the world for these superb birds.
And then in the sky and on land petrels, wrasses, albatrosses and ducks….

On the beach and in the sea…

Now observe the seals, the sea lions, the fur seals and the Kerguelen sea lions. All this little world lives in perfect cohabitation on the island.

And it is an incredible spectacle to observe the movements of the penguin colonies. The ones close to the others, standing up, moving while clambering to try to make a place for the sea lions who absolutely insist on their frequent trips to the beach and back.

Sea lions can weigh from 1,000 to 4,000 kilos. Young, they have fun challenging each other. What a show then! Later, the males will have to fight to mate and become king of a harem.

During the summer months, you will also come across young seals whose eyes are so thoughtful and curious that you will instantly fall under their spell.

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The land…

Macquarie is also the only place on the planet where rocks from the earth’s mantle are actively exposed above sea level. These are unique rocks and there are incredible pillow basalt patterns that delight geologists.

As for the vegetation and flora, until now they have resisted everything that could harm them. Everything is of natural beauty. In the middle of the high shivering grass look for the orchids and discover the exotic flowers which are very numerous here.

Discover Macquarie Island

There are several hiking trails around Macquarie Island and Mount Hamilton with its 433 meters of altitude is the terrain for many climbs.
To limit the environmental damage, wooden walks have been set up everywhere. A guard of the park of Tasmania accompanies the hikers.

There are no vehicles on the island and that’s good. To move, inflatable boats are used to land at accessible places for excursions. All landings are also supervised by park rangers.

But then you are in a real paradise, because here nothing has changed in the vegetation of the island. You will discover the serenity of an original nature…

Macquarie Island Weather

The island has an extremely windy climate but not necessarily cold. The average annual temperature is indeed almost constant with monthly averages between 5 and 10 °C.