Mawson is situated on an isolated outcrop of rock on the coast in Mac Robertson Land, at the edge of the Antarctic plateau at 67° 36′ 10″ south, 62° 52′ 26″ east. It is Australia’s first continental station and the longest continuously operating station south of the Antarctic Circle.
The station is the most westerly of the three continental stations, lying about 5200 km south-west of Perth, Western Australia. It is situated on the south-eastern shore of Horseshoe Harbour, a small ice-free rock outcrop some 900 by 700 metres in size, adjacent to the continental ice cap in Holme Bay, Mac Robertson Land.
At the southern end of the horseshoe, the rock surface rises to the edge of the continental ice sheet, just 400 metres inland. The two sides of Horseshoe Harbour are called West Arm and East Arm.
The plateau surface in the coastal region is mostly blue ice, occasionally covered by light snow in winter and spring.