Macquarie Island environment

Bright sunny day over station and isthmus
Isthmus and station at Macquarie Island (Photo: Zak)
Rugged coast, expeditioner in foregroundTwo fur seals sparring A rainbow aurora at Macca explodes in the sky above stationOrographic cloud over the island. This time the view is from the 'golf tee' up above the station near the Wireless Hill track looking south across the station, isthmus and beyond to the cloud capped escarpmentKing penguins & chicks, misty gully in backgroundLooking south over the snow covered isthmus and the slopes up to the plateau. In the foreground is a timber fence enclosure to the fuel 'farm' including a store area for plastic polypipe and some fencing timber

Macquarie Island is a subantarctic island located in the Southern Ocean at a latitude of 54° 30' south, 158° 57' east, approximately halfway between Antarctica and Australia.

It lies 1466 km SSE of Tasmania and 1 294 km north of the Antarctic continent.

The island, or "Macca" as it is often called, is 34 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide at its widest point. It is a Tasmanian State Reserve managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.

The island lies just to the north of an oceanic boundary, the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone or Antarctic Convergence, where cold polar water to the south meets the warmer subantarctic water to the north.

It is a breeding place for millions of seabirds, mostly penguins. The island is home for 25 bird species, including four penguin species. Seals, including the world's largest species, the elephant seal, also haul out on the beaches for breeding.

In good weather, it takes about three days to reach Macquarie Island from Hobart. Ships anchor in Buckles Bay to the east of the station. Ship-to-shore transport is via helicopter, amphibious vehicles called LARCs or inflatable rubber boats (IRBs).

This page was last updated on 17 February 2011.