Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Australia. Where on the world map, photo, characteristics

Heard and McDonald are uninhabited islands that form, together with other small islands and reefs, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Fantastic landscapes, the unique nature of the islands, full of mysteries, attract tourists every year.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands on the world map

On the world map, the islands are located near the south pole of the Earth. Location of Heard Island: 53°06' South latitude and 73°31' East longitude. McDonald is located at 53°03' South latitude and 72°37' East longitude.

Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are considered the most inland islands on Earth.

Distance, km Name of land area
4099Perth/Western Australia
3845Cape Luwin/SW Australia

The small area of ​​MacDonald's territory is 2.5 km². The territory of the rocky Herd is 43 km long and 21 km wide. The size of this land area is much larger (area 368 km²). The distance between the islands is 44 km.

Physical map of Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Heard Island and McDonald Islands are washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean and belong to the "outer" lands Australia. The name of the part of the land was given in honor of its discoverers.

The history of the discovery of uninhabited islands

Both islands in the ocean were discovered during the mass seal hunt. The palm of the championship of the discovery of uncharted lands is shared by 2 countries: America and England.

  • Heard Island. The discoverer of the archipelago from the "New World" was the American John Heard. As captain of the Oriental in the autumn of 1853, he sailed to Melbourne from Boston. On November 25, the earth was met, densely populated by marine animals.
  • McDonald Island. Slightly later, on January 4, 1854, the representative of the "Old World" Captain William McDonald at the British ship "Samarang" went on a non-famous small island in the southern waters of the Indian Ocean.

The "field" land detected by hunting ships are the largest of all the islands of the Sanctarctic Archipelago.

The belonging of Australia and Antarctic

since 1910 the islands submitted to the UK. In 1947, the archipelago was introduced into the subordination of Australia and recognized the Antarctic zone, enshrined for the country. After signing by the state in 1961, the fundamental document "Convention on Antarctic", all of the islands were attributed to the "external" territory of Australia.

Jerd Island and Island McDonald are now attended by tourists and researchers as part of expeditions. There are still no permanent residents, islands are uninhabited.

Who manages the deserted lands in the Indian Ocean?

The land is administratively subordinate to Australia. Coordination is carried out through the Antarctic service in Hobart (the capital of the state of Tasmania). The work is carried out by the Department of Stable Development, Environmental Protection, Water Resources, Public and Australia. The official language of the lands is English, the current legal field - the legislative base of Australia.

Landscapes and volcanoes of the islands of Herd and McDonald

The landscape of subarctic lands is due to their volcanic origin. As part of the archipelago there are 2 acting volcanoes.

  • Volcano "Muson-Peak" (HERD). Herd Island - the top of the Kergelen Plateau volcano towering above under water. The upper point above the water level is the current Muson-Peak volcano (height - 2745 m). The last time he was erupted in 2012 according to the information provided by the satellite (NASA) the activity of the volcano is observed until today.

Almost 80% of the surface of the Rocky Island is under a snow-icy coating, which does not even come together in the summer.

  • Volcano on McDonald.

Monitoring the second active volcano with the highest point above the water level of 230 m. The "slept" volcano for 75,000 years. The eruption after a long "hibernation" was recorded in 1992. Due to seismicactivity in 2000, the territory expanded due to the attachment of the small island.

The former area consisted of 1.13 km². Today it is 2.45 km² and has almost no vegetation. The coast of the island is steep cliffs. The last activity of the volcano dates back to 2005

The coastline of the archipelago has a length of 101.9 km. In territorial waters (370 km) there are more than 150 species of fish. Fishing officially resolved in the zone.

The archipelago is a protected area, it is listed on the UNESCO list and refers to the national wealth of Australia.

Climatic characteristics

Herd Island, together with the islands, McDonald is in the authority of the Sanctarctic Climate. This area is characterized by winter with an average air temperature close to 0 ° C, and summer with an average air temperature to + 5 ° C. At the "cold" islands, the sediments fall on average three days out of four. In the winter months, snow is characteristic and moro.

Permanent strong Western winds at a speed of 25 km / h to 34 km / h add unsightly lands for people's lives. Such climatic characteristics create unfavorable conditions for the emergence and development of plants.

Do not miss the most popular article of the heading: The Best Ski Resorts of Azerbaijan.

Time Zone

UTC + 5 is used on the territory of the archipelago.


The slow growth and the poor of the plant world occurs due to the insumedness of the sushi, the small territory, the short growing period at low temperatures.

In the cold climate of the Sanctarctic Islands grow well:

  • of herbs;
  • Dwarf shrubs;
  • lichens;
  • Ma;
  • liver;
  • Giant terrestrial algae.

Now there are several plant varieties in Herde. The vegetation of McDonald Islands is much poorer.

In addition to the peculiarities of the temperature regime on the appearance of plants, the environmental factors of the region negatively affect:

  • strong winds;
  • splashes of salted water;
  • Salt fog (HERD);
  • soil features;
  • The rooting of marine animals.


Good in harsh climates feel the local inhabitants - marine animals and birds.

Interest for tourists and scientists are different types of lobs and seabirds:

  • Penguins;
  • Arctic Gagars;
  • sea pigeons;
  • frigates;
  • Albatrosse.

Especially lively land looks in the summer months.

After the opening of the islands on their territory, a hunting settlement was formed (the number of about 200 people).

by the end of the XIX century.uncontrolled extermination of seals in these places began to threaten their extinction. After the introduction of a ban on this type of fishing, hunters left the islands. Under the protection of the Australian government, the pinniped population has increased.


Due to the ban on hunting, the economic importance of the islands has practically vanished. Fishing in territorial waters remains the only permitted, but limited, type of fishing.

Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are primarily used to host Australian and international animal and bird research stations. The full economic development of the islands is impossible without the population.

Scientific activity

An old station located on the coast speaks about the scientific activity carried out since the discovery of the lands. Scientific work and birdwatching as part of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition program was carried out at the Anare station in Atlas Bay from 1947 to 1954

In subsequent years, work was carried out in Antarctica, scientists were transported to another South Pole base.

A temporary shelter on the island for scientists was used by the Americans in 1969. Then, in 1971, French scientists worked at the station. In Atlas Bay, where the base is built, there is the only protected place on the island where you can land on the shore.

In addition to birds and animals, the chemical composition of the “young” lava of an erupting volcano is of great interest to scientists. The only structure erected by man on the islands has survived to this day.


Islands belong to hard-to-reach places on the planet. They can only be reached by water. There is no airfield, port or harbour. Vessels anchor in coastal waters.

Tourist liners to the archipelago are organized mainly from the tourist centers of Australia and depart from Fremantle in Australia (distance from the island 4000 km). Vessels stay on the way, subject to good weather, up to 10 days. Tourists are not landed on the shores of the archipelago. Inspection of natural attractions takes place from the ship.

The program for visiting the islands includes:

  • inspection from the board of an abandoned research station - a small building with a collapsed roof;
  • Watching swimming penguins (speed 35-50 km/h);
  • observation of swimming flippers.

Not every lover of travel and extreme recreation will decide to travel to the islands. According to statistics, since Heard's discovery, the island has been visited 240 times. The McDonald Islands were visited only twice: in 1971 and in 1980 for research purposes. However, to this day, the composition of the soil, vegetation and animals inhabiting the islands have been little studied.

For Russian citizens, a tourist visa is issued at the Embassy of the Commonwealth in the Russian Federation for a period of 3 or 6 months.


Despite the remoteness, inaccessibility and high costs of the tourist route to the islands, there are several arguments in favor of traveling.

The islands are:

  • a classical sample of subantarctic nature accessible for inspection;
  • ​​
  • unique landscape - a mixture of glaciers and volcanic forms;
  • nature reserve since 1983;
  • population density of birds and marine animals (in summer);
  • fantastic photo session.

Heard and McDonald are uninhabited islands that have become the focus of the film industry, writers, artists and artists. The natural attractions of these lands have a planetary scale and remain little known to this day. A visit to the islands opens the veil of the mystery of nature and leaves an unforgettable experience.

Article design: Vladimir the Great

Video about Heard Island and McDonald

Film about Heard Island and McDonald: