"NEW ZEALAND'S HIDDEN TREASURES" Auckland Island by tiabunna
Auckland Island Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 23 photos
The Auckland Island group is located in the subantarctic latitudes at nearly 51 degrees south, 460km beyond the most southerly point of New Zealand's South Island. It was formed between 10 and 25 million years ago by two substantial volcanoes, which left the islands as relics of their calderas. For visitors, the main islands are Auckland Island and Enderby Island.
The islands were first discovered in 1806 and sealers were soon there. Ships often returned to Sydney with 80-100,000 skins! Not surprisingly, by 1827 the seal populations had been greatly reduced. In 1849, a settlement was established by the Enderby & Son whaling company at Port Ross and named Enderby. Up to 300 people lived there at times, but the soils were poor for farming, the weather dismal, and the whale numbers already had been depleted. The last settlers left in 1856: almost nothing is left.
Because of their location on the Great Circle sailing route from Australia to Cape Horn, many ships were wrecked on the Auckland Islands. 73 lives were lost from the General Grant, which went into the western cliffs in 1866 - and the fortune in gold bullion it was carrying from the Australian goldfields has never been found. Now there's one for the adventurers from VT!
Strangely, VirtualTourist does not have a 'destination' linkage for the Snares Islands, so I have incorporated my Snares page here. There is archaeological evidence that the Snares were known to the Maori people, but the first recorded sighting of these granite islands 200km south of the New Zealand mainland was in 1791. There has never been a permanent population, but in the 1800s sealing gangs were left here for varying periods.
They have their 'own' penguin, the Snares Crested penguin, and are home to millions of seabirds, including four different types of albatross. Tourists are prohibited from landing anywhere, but you can zodiac cruise the shores.
A visit to New Zealand's subantarctic islands is well worthwhile if you can get there, as the islands are thick with wildlife. All are now World Heritage protected and are nature reserves. Tourist numbers are prohibitively limited and visits are permitted only at very few areas, even then only if accompanied by New Zealand Department of Conservation staff. There also is a substantial visitor fee, though if you are on a cruise ship visiting the islands, this is included in the cost of the fare. These islands deserve to be seen and, although it is imperative they be protected, in my view some of these measures are excessive.
- Pros:Nature at its most natural
- Cons:Excessive restrictions
- In a nutshell:Make the visit to these island groups if you can.
The Snares islands are home to millions of seabirds. If you can visit, you can expect that you will be surrounded by... more travel advice
Just what exactly should be the plural of albatross? Is it still just (eg) two albatross, or albatri, possibly... more travel advice
tiabunna's Related Pages
Auckland Island Travel Guide
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