Green leaved trees near mountains, Heard and McDonald Islands

Top places in Heard and McDonald Islands

Nargiz Mammadzade Nargiz Mammadzade 07 February 2021
30 view 6 min. read

Heard Islands and McDonald Islands? Have you ever heard about this place? Where is Heard and McDonald? What is the official language of Heard and McDonald Islands? What is the flag of Heard and McDonald Islands? What do we know about Heard Island and McDonald Islands population? Does someone live there?

Let's start with the main question: Where is Heard and McDonald? The Australian mainland, located in the Pacific Ocean, is in the equatorial climate zone. It means that it is warm there in winter and summer. However, the state once owned several more islands in the Indian Ocean: Heard and MacDonald. The weather on them is diametrically opposite!

Embark on a virtual vacation to Heard Islands and McDonald Islands to discover local tourist attractions in 2021.

1. Flora and Fauna

pink boat

An interesting and unusual sight opens in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. It is a whole cluster of islets. Among them are Heard Islands and McDonald Islands. Their rocky shores are not suitable for human habitation due to the rocky landscape and cold climate. However, can we consider these places as one of the top places to visit in the world?

The only inhabitants of this wasteland are birds and penguins. It is also home to a huge number of seals, arctic loons, and other bird species. Entomologists and zoologists are interested in the islands. They observe the behavior of seals, penguins, and birds in the wild amid the arctic climate.

All islands of the archipelago, Heard Islands and McDonald Islands, are recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO. The McDonald Islands group is located west of Heard, at a distance of 44 kilometers.

2. Climate

map of mcdonald islands

Heard Islands and McDonald Islands are located in the "eternal cold" zone. Having looked at Heard and McDonald Islands map and knowing the answer to the question "Where is Heard and McDonald?", we can now talk about the climate. In winter, the weather is never too cold. The temperature here is close to zero. Due to constant winds and cloudy weather, the islands seem completely unsightly for human life. People have almost nothing to do there.

In summer, the temperature on these islands does not rise above +5°C, which is the favorite weather of the main representatives of Heard Island and McDonald Islands population - penguins and seals. Constant cold winds blowing in winter and summer from Antarctica blow any plant from the islands' surface. The entire space here is covered with non-melting snow and ice.

This archipelago, oddly enough, belongs to Australia since 1947. They were part of this country's Antarctic territory until Australia signed the convention on Antarctica. After that, the islands became a separate territory belonging to this country.

3. Population

penguins

What about Heard Island and McDonald Islands population? No one lives here permanently, but numerous tourists come regularly. People do not land on the shores but look at the coastal cliffs from tourist ships' decks—scientific expeditions visiting Heard Island study populations of birds and other inhabitants. Meteorologists and geologists are also frequent guests here. It is one of the interesting places to visit!

4. Flag and language of Heard and McDonald Islands

flag of mcdonald islands

Is there an official flag of Heard Island and McDonald? We must know that the Flag of Heard Island and McDonald Islands is the same as Australia's Flag.

What is the official language of Heard and McDonald Islands? Considering that their permanent residents are mainly penguins and no one lives there but comes as a tourist or scientist, we can say that Heard and McDonald Islands' official language does not exist. If you speak English during your visit, that will be enough because Australia's official language is English.

5. Heard Island

heard nature

Hunters for seals and fur seals stumbled on the island quite by accident, prowling the ocean in search of prey. The leader of the beast hunters was a man named Heard. In honor of his geographical discovery, the unnamed island was named after him. This happened in the middle of the 19th century. Discovered by British fishermen in 1833, the island was named after the US captain John J. Heard in 1853.

What do we know about Heard Island and McDonald Islands volcano? Originally, Heard Island is the summit of an underwater volcano. In ancient times, when the volcano was just forming, this territory was a plateau. Now it has the name of the Kerguelen Plateau and has an impressive size.

The island's area is forty-three kilometers long and twenty-one kilometers wide. The volcano crater is the highest point on the island. Heard Island and McDonald Islands volcano (the real name: Big Ben) rises 2,745 meters above sea level, which is 517 meters higher than the highest mountain on the Australian mainland, Mount Kosciuszko at 2228 meters. Heard Island and McDonald Islands volcano is the only volcano that operates in Australia today. At the same time, it is the highest point belonging to modern Australia. The area of the island is small, it is equal to 368 km2.

6. Macdonald Islands

mcdonald islands

It didn't take long after Heard Island was discovered. In 1854, the ship "Samarang", which was sailing to Melbourne, saw from his bridge another unnamed island. The sailors approached the shore, lowered the boat, and set off to inspect the unknown continent. The sailors did not find any traces of the people. And the island, according to the existing custom, was named after the first discoverer - MacDonald. Thanks to these discoveries, these islands have become some of the top places to visit in the world!

If we look at Heard and McDonald Islands map, we can see that it is a tiny island with an area of two and a half square kilometres. It was formed from solidified lava of a once active volcano. The island consists of two parts, which are connected by an isthmus: the northern plateau and the cliffs of the southern part of the island.

Cliffs covered with snow in winter surround the entire island. The cliff rises 230 meters above sea level. Looking at the inhospitable landscape, it seems that people have never landed on these shores, but this is not the case. A human's foot has stepped on uneven banks only twice: in 1971 and 1980.

7. Other islands of the archipelago

shag island

The remaining islets are Shag Island, Flat Island, and Meyer Rock. All these formations are rocky shores and cliffs, wholly lifeless and cold, and the largest of these is Shag Island. We can say that it is located ten kilometres north of Heard Island. It is a rocky formation of volcanic origin. People, if they landed on it, then once or twice.

Flat Island and Meyer Rock are located south of MacDonald. There has not been a single landing of people on them since the day they were opened. All waters, which are located within 12 kilometres, also territorially belong to Australia. The area of the entire archipelago is four hundred and twelve kilometres.

You can get to one of the coldest places to visit from Australia, from where tourist routes depart from time to time. To understand all this in detail, do not forget to take the Heard and McDonald Islands map!

8. Natural attractions of the islands

historic wooden ship

No matter how cool it is on the Heard Islands and McDonald Islands, tourists tend to get there since the uninhabited northern islands inhabited by birds, penguins, seals, and fur seals are interesting to people. These lands keep many secrets and exoticism, which can be felt only on a tourist liner's deck.

Several decades ago, Russian and American filmmakers loved to shoot adventure films about uninhabited islands in the "seas of cold". The films' main plot was shipwrecked, the passengers who managed to escape, and people sailed to the deserted shores of small continents.

Then the adventures began; how those who survived got their food, knocked out sparks of fire from the coastal stones, collected brushwood thrown out by the waves for a fire.

It is exactly what tourists should feel when they look at animals' world on rocky patches of land through binoculars and modern telescopes. Everyone imagines himself without modernity attributes on such a lonely cliff surrounded by the boundless smooth surface of the Indian Ocean.

There is something to think about! How can a person survive in the constant cold, who is left without warm clothes, matches, food, without the necessary medicines, if he suddenly finds himself after a shipwreck on such an island? Hope for search services and limp wait for salvation, or start doing something yourself so as not to die of the cold and survive in a deserted world?

group of penguins

The only "man-made" is considered the building of an abandoned weather station on Heard Island, which operated there from 1947 to 1954. However then the meteorologists were transferred to Antarctica, and their "research institute" remained ownerless.

An unsightly structure with a collapsed roof can be seen from tourist ships. It stands on a hillock, and not far from it, the island's local inhabitants - penguins - walk around. The places with their natural habitat are always one of the most interesting places to visit!

Sightseers who come here have a unique opportunity to observe the life of huge birds that cannot fly but swim well in the ocean, developing speeds from 35 to 50 km per hour. 

I assure you, after this unforgettable visit, you will include cold places on your list as one of the top places to visit in the world!

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Nargiz Mammadzade
Nargiz Mammadzade Madridista

Nargiz loves sharing. Gradually, she learnt to direct this feeling by sharing what she experienced and read with her readers. Nargiz started her career way by writing short stories and articles and aims to publish her book in the future. She believes that by writing we express ourselves and leave memories for future generations. Her favourite gift is a book. She wants everyone to contribute to her future library. She is very interested in art and learning new languages. If she expressed herself in one sentence, that sentence would be: "I am a 12-year-old Madridista who wants to watch a REAL MADRID game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium while being in Madrid during the world trip I dream of one day."

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