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Macquarie Island

29 May, 2009

Macquarie Island: Australia’s Little Scientific Wonder

Macquarie Island

Tourists and travelers are always on the lookout for a serene and virtually untouched destination. With the way things are going, this seems like a lost cause—after all, isn’t it important to find a place that still seems like a virgin island in the age of Internet and information technology at the speed of Broadband? Even the most isolated islands in continents such as Asia and South America have been discovered. This discovery brings benefits to these tourist attractions. With more visitors, these destinations become more advanced; they feature more amenities and modern day pleasures. But there are times when people want to find something more out of touch to the world, something that resembles paradise.

Many people find it difficult to believe that such place actually exists in Australia.

Australia’s Macquarie Island is one of the most serene and virgin places in the continent that has already fallen victim to the ills of modernity. This island (which is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list) is located southwest of the Ocean, between Antartica and Australia. It became part of Tasmania (an Australian state) in 1900, after being part of the British Empire since it was discovered by Briton Frederick Hasselborough in 1810. It was named after then Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, who was noted for his role in the transition of the New South Wales to a free settlement, ultimately changing the course of Australian society. The Macquarie Island was transferred to Tasmania in 1890. Since then, it already served as the base of many scientific researches, first from the 1911 and 1914 Australian Antarctic Expedition. It has been referred many times as a scientific magnet, mainly because of its ideal location (near Antarctica) and its magnificent flora and fauna.

Today, many people go to the Macquarie Island mainly to see its pristine beauty and its one of a kind ecosystem. In particular, Macquarie Island is an excellent place to go bird watching, as it houses more than 80,000 species of birds. The Macquarie Shags, the Gentoo, the Rockhopper Penguins, and the Royal Penguins are unique to the island, being endemic breeds, so they cannot be found anywhere else. Besides its bird species, the Macquarie Island is also a major geoconservation site. The rocks here are actually from the mantle of the earth, the only place where this type of rock is exposed above sea-level. This two are the main reasons why the Macquarie Island was included in the World Heritage Site list.

However, while its main features are scientific and somewhat academic in nature, this does not mean Macquarie Island lacks the beauty and the elegance found in other similar tourist destinations. For one, the Macquarie Island has a very limited population (40 people at most, 20 people during the winter). This is one of the reasons why the Macquarie Island seems untouched by human hands—although it has been the site to a number of scientific explorations and studies. Macquarie Island, Australia’s scientific wonder, is also a wonder in terms of beauty.

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island

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