Territory

Wonders of Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island, Sandy Bay
Macquarie Island, Sandy Bay / M.Murphy, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

WorldBlue  Highlights

The small and remote Macquarie Island is a part of Australia.

The most amazing wonders of Macquarie Island are:

  • Unique geology of the island: this island is a raised block of oceanic crust. There are not many places in the world where the oceanic crust is exposed above sea level and Macquarie Island is the best section of oceanic crust worldwide. It is possible that here are exposed even the rocks of the upper mantle what is a very rare case.
  • Penguin colonies: on the island have been spotted nine species of penguins – approximately half of the total number of species. Royal penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) breed only on Macquarie Island and nearby islands.

Wildlife sanctuary here was established in 1933, in 1997 the island became a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 5 wonders of Macquarie Island

Geological wonders

Aurora Cave

Impressive sea cave in a relict sea stack. Now it has risen out of the sea and is surrounded by featherbed – wetland. There are several such caves on island – they can be important sources of information about the species of seals and birds living here in the past.

Exposures of the oceanic crust in the north-western part of Macquarie Island

Exposures of basic and ultrabasic rocks formed under the ocean in Miocene and Pliocene. Unique, near-complete section of oceanic crust, providing very important geological information of global importance.

Biological wonders

Penguin colony of Lusitania Bay

This subantarctic island has several endemic plant and animal species and unusually looking biotopes of megaherbs. But especially impressive is the giant colony of royal penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) – the island is the only known breeding ground of these beautiful birds. Lusitania Bay colony recently has been fully occupied and penguins are coming to other parts of the island as well. In total it is estimated that there are 0.5 – 3 million penguins breeding on this island.

\Royal penguins in Macquarie Island
Hurd Point penguin colony

Largest colony of royal penguins in the world with some 180,000 breeding pairs.

Sandy Bay penguin colony

Very impressive penguin colony. Basically, bird colonies are all around the island. Sandy Bay was inhabited by king penguins in 1975.

WorldYellow Recommended books

A Hostile Beauty: Life on Macquarie Island


With stunning landscape photographs and informative essays, this pictorial explores Australia’s Macquarie Island, a sliver of unexpected rock in the vast Southern Ocean. Touching upon the island’s unique history—including shipwrecks, seal slaughters, and a damaged ecosystem resulting from human interference—this record with an ecological theme is a tribute to one of the world’s great wildlife refuges.

Subantarctic Wilderness: Macquarie Island


A tiny speck of land caught between Australia and Antarctica, Macquarie Island is as remote and rugged as it is beautiful. Despite its small size, for huge numbers of seals, penguins, and albatrosses this raw, elemental landscape is a sanctuary, while for humans it has long been a base for the exploitation of wildlife and for intrepid adventurers. Lavishly illustrated with exemplary photography and specially commissioned artwork, this stunning volume explores all aspects of Macquarie Island, including its rich history and life on the island today, its geology and plant life, and the stunning variety of wildlife that call the isle home.


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