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World Heritage Site

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Sub-Antarctic Islands

Sub-Antarctic Islands

The New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands consists of the five southernmost groups of the New Zealand Outlying Islands.

Most of the islands are located near the southernmost edge of the largely submerged continent centred on New Zealand called Zealandia. It sank after rifting away from Australia 60-85 million years ago and from Antarctica between 130 and 85 million years ago. It is 3,500,000 km2 in area, almost half the size of Australia and is unusually long and narrow.

The islands are:

- Antipodes Islands

- Auckland Islands

- Bounty Islands

- Campbell Island group

- The Snares

Map of Sub-Antarctic Islands


  • Natural

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Site Info

Full name: New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands

Unesco ID: 877

Inscribed: 1998

Type: Natural

Criteria: 9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1998 - Inscribed 


The site has 5 locations.

  • Sub-Antarctic Islands: Antipodes Islands New Zealand
  • Sub-Antarctic Islands: Auckland Islands New Zealand
  • Sub-Antarctic Islands: Bounty Islands New Zealand
  • Sub-Antarctic Islands: Campbell Island
  • Sub-Antarctic Islands: The Snares New Zealand


The site has 28 connections.



  • Endemic Bird Species: Definition of species/sub species in flux - c14 including species of Shag, Penguin, Parakeet, Snipe, Teal, Albatross, Rail, Oystercatcher, Fernbird
  • Penguins: King, Gentoo, Fjordland, Snares, Royal, Yellow eyed, Little, Erect Crested, Rockhopper
  • Icebergs
  • Notable examples of island gigantism: megaherbs Link
  • Peat: Auckland Islands "This paper contains a description of the peat soils on part of the Auckland Islands which lie in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 200 miles south of New Zealand. Peat forms a blanket over the surface of the Islands and is the parent material of most of the soils Link
  • Seals: elephant seal
  • Antarctic Floristic Kingdom
  • Tundra
  • Albatross breeding sites: Antipodes Islands - Antipodean (race antipodensis), Shy (race steadi - alternatively considered the "White Capped" species), Black-browed, Light-mantled Auckland Islands - Gibson's, Southern royal (Enderby only), Northern royal (Enderby only), Shy (race steadi), Light-mantled Bounty Islands - Salvin's Campbell - Antipodean (race antipodensis), Southern royal, Black-browed, Campbell, Grey-headed, Light-mantled, Sooty Snares - Salvin's, Black-browed, Buller's


  • Dependent territories: (New Zealand)
  • Uninhabited islands
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Southernmost: No. 3 (Campbell Island), at 52?33 S
  • Antipodes points: NEW ZEALAND SUBANTARCTIC ISLANDS(Bounty island)=THE LOIRE VALLEY(Angers) S47 45 E179 03 = N47 23 56.004 E0 42 10.008 AND )=LE HAVRE S49 41 E178 48 = N49 29 20.6 E0 06 54.8
  • Formerly inhabited islands: Auckland Islands (part of NZ Sub Antarcic Islands) "Traces of Polynesian settlement, possibly dating to the 13th century, have been found by archaeologists on Enderby Island. This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known.". (wiki)
  • Polynesia: Traces of Polynesian settlement, possibly dating to the 13th century, have been found by archaeologists on Enderby Island. This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known. (wiki)
  • Volcanic plugs: Campbell Island  Link


  • Slavery: The Auckland islands were briefly settled by Maoris from Chatham Island. They brought with them Moriori slaves. The Moriori had been the indigenous people of the Chathams who were enslaved by Maoris. "Sheep farming became popular and profitable and some Maori diversified into that. In 1842 one chief took nearly 30 slaves with him and his people and went to the Auckland Islands to live. The conditions were too harsh and the settlement was abandoned in 1854."

Human Activity

  • Seal Hunting: Campbell Island (1810-1840s); island was discovered in 1810 by Captain Frederick Hasselborough of the sealing brig Perseverance

Individual People

  • William Bligh: The Bounty Islands - discovered by Bligh in 1788 whilst on his way to Tahiti and named after his ship


  • Miocene: The Auckland, Campbell and Antipodes islands are primarily of recent volcanic origin. The first two are eroded volcanic domes created 10-15 million years ago. The western sides of all three groups have been eroded significantly, creating steep cliffs, while on the eastern sides lava flows and glaciers from the Pleistocene era (about 2 million years ago) have formed U-shaped valleys, fiords and harbours. The Antipodes volcano is the youngest and least eroded. Link


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