Bauer Bay

Bauer Bay hut at sunset with the ocean and Boiler Rocks in the right background
Bauer Bay hut at sunset (Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
A man sits on the verandah outside a one-room wooden hut with a sign saying 'Bauer Bay links motel'.

Bauer Bay hut is located on the rugged west coast of Macquarie Island approximately seven kilometres southwest from Macquarie Island station. The hut is easily accessible and is the only hut located on the exposed windswept rugged west coast.

Bauer Bay is dominated by a large flat sandy beach with creeks that fan out over the coastal flat. The grassy slopes behind the hut are rapidly regenerating after many years of rabbit grazing and are now dominated by thick patches of tussock and mega herbs. Wildlife are plentiful at different times of the year and include gentoo, royal and king penguins. The beach is well used during elephant seal breeding and fortunate observers may even witness occasional over-flights of wandering albatross during the summer breeding period.

The hut accommodates four to five people and is popular with expeditioners travelling down the island or as a weekend retreat for station-based personnel. The hut is well placed to provide a stepping off point for trips to the north or south of along coastal walking routes.

The coastal terrain on the upper west coast comprises mainly featherbed and provides for a unique walking experience. Featherbed is an almost flat terrace composed of thick layers of peat and decomposed vegetation floating on water. This waterlogged peat layer may be several metres thick in places. The feel of walking across the featherbed is not unlike that of walking across a vast water-bed, and most expeditioners who cross it expect to ‘break through’ at some time during their stay on the island.

The hut is accessed via the Island Lake track, or via the Bauer Bay track that links up with the overland track. It can also be accessed by the featherbed track along the north-west coast. The Featherbed and coast to the north of the hut is designated category one Special Management Area and is generally open for to access from June to July. The featherbed south of the hut is designated category two Special Management Area and is generally open to access from April to August. These Special Management Areas have been established to provide protection to colonies of southern and northern giant petrels, and wandering albatross which are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance during breeding.