"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.

Heritage control

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 and Cons
  • Pros:Nature at its most natural
  • Cons:Excessive restrictions
  • In a nutshell:Make the visit to these island groups if you can.
  • Last visit to Auckland Island: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (27)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Lovely page here George........Love those cute little penguins. Such character they have. Lovely photos too. I guess we should get to Auckland one day- Richard has long been wanting to. Hugs

  • junecorlett's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    Nice tips here George...I think your first gues would be right..1 albatross! 2 albatross!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2008 at 10:01 PM

    Another of your great pages ! Amazing rata flowers. I wonder what is their botanical family? Yes, the sloping rock is impressive! You have outstanding photos of the animals!

  • unravelau's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2007 at 3:11 PM

    Another great page George, thank you. I really enjoy your adventures both words and photos.......excellent. Carole.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2007 at 4:15 PM

    I certainly enjoyed your adventures in the Auckland Island....the nature photography is amazing. Regardless of the weather, the experience is worthwhile and you are fortunate to have experienced it. Enjoyable, educational, and quite interesting.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Mar 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM

    Very unusual for VT page! Nature may be interesting by itself, thanks George for opening this covered by secret place... All these penguins and sea lions in real life and not in Zoo! Great job - fantastic!

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 3:04 PM

    This page is albatrocitacally perfect. Now these photos I certainly did notice - they are exquisite '. The penguins are as pretty as the hookers are scary. A visually stunning page I really enjoyed. :))

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2006 at 5:59 AM

    An excellent page which has really brought this place to life for me - many thanks

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2006 at 2:29 PM

    Fine insightful tips on yet another exotic area that most of us will never get to see in person. Evocative photos, too.

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2006 at 3:58 PM

    After Macquarie, Auckland Islands, I visit wonderful places with you! Superb page with all this wildlife. . . I am dreaming. . .


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