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.


Pointe de l'Arche, Kerguelen
Pointe de l’Arche, Kerguelen / Engraving by Pierre Béquet, with HMS Terror in front, Ross expedition in 1840 – 1843.
  • Baie de l’à Pic Cliffs – southern coast of Grande Terre. Up to 493 m tall, vertical seaside cliffs.
  • Cap Ratmanoff penguin rookery – eastern tip of Grande Terre. Large colony of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), with some 80 000 birds.
  • Hot springs at Lake Tristan – central part of Grande Terre. Several hot springs with water temperature up to 70° C. Colorful growth of algae.
  • La Grande Cascade de la rivière du Château – eastern part of Grande Terre. Impressive waterfall on Château stream, some 150 m tall, with three main cascades.
  • Le Doigt de Sainte Anne – at Baie Larose. 235 m tall rock monolith.
  • Mont de Fumerolles – Rallier du Baty peninsula. Geothermal field with boiling springs.
  • Pointe de l’Arche (Arched Rock) – northern coast. A collapsed natural arch, a former landmark of Kerguelen, which was 40 m high (upper rim). The arch collapsed sometimes between 1908 and 1913, now two enormous stacks remain.

Described landmarks of Kerguelen Islands

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

Featured: La Grande Cascade de la rivière du Château

The largest island of Kerguelen Islands – Grande Terre – is very rich with tall, magnificent waterfalls.

La Grande Cascade de la rivière du Château might be not the largest on the island but it is the best known thanks to its relative vicinity to the only inhabited place in this island.

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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