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Wonders of Kerguelen Islands

Golf de Morbihan, Kerguelen
Golf de Morbihan, Kerguelen / Bruno Navez, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The islands are a part of French Southern and Antarctic Lands – an overseas territory of France.

Kerguelen Islands basically consist of the main island – Grande Terre and large number of smaller islands around it.

Grande Terre is the largest sub-antarctic island. This is harsh land: windy, rainy, chilly, and for the most part – desolate. Nevertheless, it has its own special beauty – this wast island is adorned with countless magnificent waterfalls, cliffs, lakes. Here are occasional thermal springs (with some small ponds pleasant for swimming!), large bird rookeries, and in some places – pleasant meadows. Maybe nowhere else one can find that much crystal clear water and lots of fresh air.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 7 wonders of Kerguelen Islands

Geological wonders

Baie de l’à Pic Cliffs

Up to 493 m tall, vertical seaside cliffs.

Le Doigt de Sainte Anne

235 m tall rock monolith.

Mont de Fumerolles

Geothermal field with boiling springs.

Pointe de l’Arche (Arched Rock)

A collapsed natural arch, a former landmark of Kerguelen that was 40 m high (upper rim). The arch collapsed sometime between 1908 and 1913, and now two enormous stacks remain.

Pointe de l'Arche, Kerguelen
Pointe de l’Arche, Kerguelen / Engraving by Pierre Béquet, with HMS Terror in front, Ross expedition in 1840 – 1843.
Hot springs at Lake Tristan

Several hot springs with water temperature up to 70° C. Colorful growth of algae.

La Grande Cascade de la rivière du Château

An impressive waterfall on Château stream. It is approximately 150 m tall and has three main cascades.

Biological wonders

Cap Ratmanoff penguin rookery

A large colony of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) with some 80 000 birds.

Cap Ratmanoff penguin rookery
Cap Ratmanoff penguin rookery, 1983. / Channer (Bruno NAVEZ), Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Arch of Kerguelen: Voyage to the Islands of Desolation

The Kerguelens – isolated French islands in the southern Indian Ocean – were the home of the Arch of Kerguelen, a 1,000-foot-tall stone vault that had confounded navigators for centuries. Jean-Paul Kauffmann finds poetry in the isolation and strangely serene beauty of this land far from the hustle of “civilized” life, where the vast ocean dominates, where the wind reigns and solitude is interrupted only by animals scrambling in the windswept fields by the graves of those who journeyed there before.

Antarctica, 6th: A Guide to the Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide)

Antarctica continues to be one of the most lusted-after destinations on the planet. Visitors will see massive tabular icebergs newly breaking from continental ice shelves – as well as a cornucopia of penguins, great whales, and albatrosses. This updated edition of the guide provides full coverage of identification, breeding, feeding, and the best locations to observe the varied species.

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