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World most extreme places

Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia

From series “Famous Unesco Sites in Australia”
Uninhabited Heard and McDonald Islands are located in the southern Indian Ocean. They are surrounded by a halo of smaller islands that are uninhabited and attract attention of researchers. These islands are of volcanic origin that determines their rocky structure. The archipelago features a harsh climate. During a significant part of the year, the island is covered with snow. Main representatives of flora on its territory are lichens and mosses.

Heard and McDonald Islands, Australia Main representatives of the island fauna are penguins, pinnipeds, and seabirds. Despite the meager flora and fauna, Heard Island and McDonald Island represent a unique protected area. The general territory of the marine reserve occupies 65 000 square km. Several research camps and bases that welcome scientists from around the world, are built on islands.

The archipelago was discovered in 1833. The British Captain Peter Kemp became the first European to set foot on the territory of uninhabited islands. Subsequently, the land was continuously visited for 20 years, mainly with fishing purposes. A valuable fur of seals, meat of sea-elephants, eggs of penguins, and many other valuable resources attracted hunting expeditions. In the mid-19th century, fishing was banned, and researchers became the main guests of this nook. Today, some island areas are available for tourists, who can visit the archipelago during arranged tours. These places are rated high for their unique landscape. Next - Purnululu National Park


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Heard and McDonald Islands - interactive map

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