Macquarie Island


Macquarie Island is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. This makes it an important focus of geological study.

The island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between Australia and Antarctica. Fauna found on the island include: Subantarctic Fur Seals, Antarctic Fur Seals, New Zealand Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals - over 80,000 individuals of this species. Royal Penguins breed only on this island; King Penguins, Southern Rockhopper Penguins and Gentoo penguins also breed here.


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Site Info

Full name: Macquarie Island

Site History

  • 1997 - Inscribed

    Reasons for inscription
  • 1992 - Rejected

    Interesting geologically but not of Universal Significance. Possibility of a wider nomination possibly with NZ islands?


The site has 1 locations.

  • Macquarie Island


The site has 20 connections.



  • Albatross breeding sites Wandering, Black-browed, Grey-headed, Light-mantled
  • Antarctic Floristic Kingdom 
  • Endemic Bird Species Macquarie Shag
  • Orchids two endemic orchids - Nematoceras dienemum and Nematoceras sulcatum (wiki)
  • Peat "Vast waterlogged areas on the coastal platform are heavily vegetated, forming a mire based on deep peat beds and known locally as "featherbed" from the sensation gained when walking over them. Old sea stacks testify to the continual uplifting of the island as they protrude through the peat beds, some of them now being several hundred metres from the existing coastline" (see link)
  • Penguins King, Gentoo, Royal, Rockhopper
  • Seals fur seal
  • Tundra 


Human Activity


  • Miocene The geological evolution of Macquarie Island began 10 million years ago and continues today with the island experiencing earthquakes and a rapid rate of uplift, all of which are related to active geological processes along the boundary between the two plates. Nom file


WHS on Other Lists

World Heritage Process