Macquarie Island You Gotta Go Here
In the year 1810, sealers were going about their business but on this particular day they would stumble on one of the most beautiful islands on earth – The Macquarie Island, a UNESCO Listed World Heritage Site(1997). Located about 1500 kilometers to the south east of Tasmania, Macquarie marks the half way between continental Australia and Antarctica.
The island lies on the exposed earth’s crust called the Macquarie Ridge. It is the point at which the Pacific Tectonic plate merges with the Indo-Australian Plate. The geo importance of these islands cannot be gainsaid as it is the only place on earth that the earth’s crust is exposed above the sea level.
Scientists reckon that the island was formed about 11 million to 35 million years ago as a new oceanic crust was being formed. As the spreading of the crust halted, the eventual squeezing and solidification pushed some rocks upwards and around 600,000 years ago, the ridge was finally exposed above the seal level.
Being a point where two tectonic plates meet each other, Macquarie experiences a lot of geological processes including wave action. Unlike other sub-Antarctic islands that are characterized with glaciers, this island features a rolling plateau that rises between 250 and 300 meters above the sea level. On all its sides, steep cliffs that measure about 800 meters wide bound the plateau.
The Macquarie Island is a State Reserve that features beaches that are a popular breeding ground for elephant seals. Penguins are also known to visit the island’s coastal terrace during breeding seasons. The Macquarie Island Marine Park contains 16 million hectares of Commonwealth protected marine zone.
As appealing as this sights are, they could be more grand if it were not for the extinction of fur seals which were exterminated by the early sealers as well as the extinction of the king penguins for their oil. Today’s wildlife population of the seals and penguins is a pale shadow of its former glory, and yet, it is still enough to make you breathless.
The Macquarie Island is one of those once-in-a-lifetime memories you would wish to keep with you forever. Come with a camera and some extra memory cards…you will certainly photograph everything from the ranging tides to the towering cliffs to the amazing wildlife…