New Zealand Subantarctic Islands

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand New Zealand Subantarctic Islands

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Introduction

The New Zealand Subantarctic Islands comprise the five southernmost groups of the New Zealand outlying islands. They are collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the islands lie near the southeastern edge of the largely submerged continent centred on New Zealand called Zealandia, which was riven from Australia 60-85 million years ago and from Antarctica between 130 and 85 million years ago.
Until 1995, scientific research staff were stationed permanently at a meteorological station on Campbell Island. Since then, the islands have been uninhabited, though they are periodically visited by researchers and tourists.

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Geography

The islands are:

  • Antipodes Islands - main island, plus Bollons Island, the Windward Islands, Orde Lees Island, Leeward Island, and South Islet, plus minor rocks;
  • Auckland Islands - Auckland Island, Adams Island, Disappointment Island, Enderby Island, Ewing Island and Rose Island, plus minor rocks;
  • Bounty Islands - two small groups of islets, the Western Group and the Eastern Group, plus minor rocks;
  • Campbell Island group - Campbell Island, the main island, plus several minor rocks and small islets surrounding Campbell Island, including New Zealand's southernmost point, Jacquemart Island;
  • The Snares - Northeast Island, High Island, Broughton Island, Alert Stack, Tahi, Rua, Toru, Wha, and Rima, plus minor rocks.

They share some features with Australia's Macquarie Island to the west.

New Zealand also has territorial claims, held in abeyance under the Antarctic Treaty System, over several islands close to the Antarctic mainland, including:

  • Ross Island and the rest of the Ross Archipelago;
  • Balleny Islands - Young Island, Buckle Island, and Sturge Island, plus several smaller islets;
  • Roosevelt Island
  • Scott Island and Haggits Pillar

Of these, Ross Island is inhabited by the scientific staff of several research stations, notably at McMurdo Sound and Scott Base.

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Sights and Activities

These Sub-Antarctic Islands provide nesting sites for hundreds of thousands of seabirds, and the waters surrounding them harbour the endangered New Zealand sea lion.

In Nov 2013, contributors to the respected journal Science chose these Sub-Antarctic Islands as one of only 78 protected areas around the globe as the most critical for preventing the extinction of mammals, birds and amphibians. Protection of reserves were strengthened in 2014, becoming the largest natural sanctuary in the nation.

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Weather

Weather in this part of the world can be extreme. The best time to visit is the Southern Hemisphere's summer season from late November til March, when temperatures can be mild. Wind and rain are possible year-round though.

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Getting There and Around

Access to these islands is generally by, or with the support of, a boat. The islands are beyond the (return) range of most helicopters and there is no airstrip for fixed wing aircraft. Access is generally by permit only. A company offering trips visiting the islands is Heritage Expeditions.

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Eat/Drink

Food and drinks are provided on board.

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Sleep

You sleep on board of the vessel/ship.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 9:10 on Dec 30, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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