Antipodes Islands are rarely visited remote islands south-east from New Zealand. They are not accessible to general visitors due to strict nature conservation regime.
Islands were discovered by ancient Polynesians - there has been found a pottery shard left by them. People never lived permanently here - islands are inhospitable and weather here is rough.
Antipodes were formed by fairly recent volcanic activity. Here do not grow any trees but nevertheless the land is covered with plants including the megaherbs characteristic for Sub-antarctic islands south from New Zealand.
In spite of their small size, the islands are inhabited by endemic animals and plants. Local endemic bird species and subspecies are:
- Antipodes Snipe (Coenocorypha aucklandica meinertzhagenae) - some 8,000 birds.
- Antipodes Parakeet (Cyanoramphus unicolor) - bright green bird, several thousands living on islands.
- Reischek's Parakeet (Cyanoramphus hochstetteri) - another endemic species of parakeet.
Local parakeets are curious and are not afraid of people.
Here are breeding approximately half of erect-crested penguins (Eudyptes sclateri) - some 70 - 80 thousand birds.
In Antipodes Islands are living more than 10 species of endemic insects and four species of endemic plants.
These small islands offer few interesting landmarks:
- Basalt formations with characteristic vertical columns are found in several locations, f.e. in Anchorage Bay.
- Impressive grotto is Remarkable Cave at Cave Point in the north-western part of Antipodes Island. It is located 90 m above the sea level and the ceiling of this cave has almost reached the plateau above it. There are many more caves formed in the steep cliffs around Antipodes island, caves are visible in the cliffs of Windward Islands as well.
- There is a group of fumaroles at Crater Bay on Antipodes Island. These fumaroles serve as a testimony of comparatively recent volcanic activity in the islands.