An Antarctica cruise may include an excursion through the Indian Ocean to Macquarie Island, which lies about half way between Antarctica and Australia. The island is part of Australia and has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. Frederick Hasselborough discovered the island in 1810 and deemed it part of New South Wales. The island gets its name from Lachlan Macquarie who was the Governor of New South Wales at the time.
Macquarie Islands boasts an impressive amount of flora and fauna for such a small island. This island belongs to the Antipodes Sub Antarctic eco-region. Due to its isolation, low temperatures and limited sunlight, it is the host of endemic plants including a moss that grows up to eight meters thick. Macquarie Island is inhabited by a variety of fur seals, over 80,000 Southern Elephant Seals, as well as King, Southern Rockhopper and Gentoo Penguins. On your Antarctic adventure you will also be able to see formations of pillow basalts that are slowly rising from deep below the earth’s surface. This island is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth’s mantle are being actively exposed above sea level.