Macquarie is entirely unusual. Its shape, compared to squeezed toothpaste, was created 600,000 years ago when a rift in the earth’s crust forced a line of molten rock right up to the surface. It is the only known place on earth where this has occurred and its one-off geology is just the beginning.
A tiny, verdant island, Macquarie Island isn’t ruled by man, but by penguins in their millions, who share their ‘city’ with thousands of seals and sea lions.
You can only visit Macquarie Island on a small ship expedition cruise, so, sharing an onboard home with up to 50 other passengers, hopping on and off to explore unfamiliar surrounds, you’ll need your sea legs. But that’s all part of the adventure. Home of the Macquarie Island cabbage – a megaherb that grows up to 90cm tall, sprouting rhubarb-esque leaves and 60cm-wide flower clusters – the island’s otherworldly flora provides a safe-haven for newly weaned elephant seal pups and makes excellent breeding grounds for giant petrels and Gentoo penguins. And what of its wildlife? ‘Wow’ sums it up. Macquarie plays host to over 200,000 pairs of king penguins and 3 million royal penguins, who share their patch with marine mammals including southern right whales and leopard seals.
Read more in our Macquarie Island travel guide.