Hurd Point

The view of the beach packed with penguins from behind a tiny hut.
View of penguin colony from Hurd Point field hut (Photo: Rod)
A square tin hut at the base of a steep, heavily-vegetated, mist-covered mountain.The sun reflects brilliantly off the water at Hurd Point beach which is covered in penguins

Hurd Point hut is the most remote of all the field huts on Macquarie Island. It is located approximately 32 kilometres south of Macquarie Island station and comfortably sleeps four people. The trek to Hurd Point is generally completed over two days, with an overnight stop at Green Gorge or Waterfall Bay.

The site was originally part of an auroral observatory complex established in 1953 in order to carry out simultaneous observations in conjunction with the station. Today the hut is mainly used as a base for research in the southern sector of the island and serves as an important base for albatross researchers during summer.

Hurd Point is home to the largest royal penguin colony in the world, which contains over 180,000 breeding pairs of birds during summer. Gentoo penguins, king penguins, and southern elephant seals can easily be observed from the hut. The hut has commanding views over the typically stormy Southern Ocean, and is well placed for observing the southern aurora. Physical access to Hurd Point hut is considered to be the most arduous of all on the island. Personnel have to negotiate either steep grassy or narrow rocky creek ‘jump downs’. This brief challenge makes arriving at the hut even more rewarding.

The extremely rugged, isolated and windswept Windsor Bay, Petrel Peak and Caroline Cove to the west of Hurd Point are all contained within a Permanent Special Management Area, with restricted access all year round. This area encompasses the main Australian breeding location for the magnificent and critically endangered wandering albatross, as well as the grey-headed and black-browed albatross species.