Heard and McDonald Islands Map

Facts about Heard and McDonald Islands
Heard and McDonald Islands Territory of Australia
Location southern Indian Ocean
Capital Canberra
Area368 km2 (142.1 sq mi)
Population0 (as of 1 January 2011)
Official languageEnglish
CurrencyAustralian Dollar
GovernmentAustralian government
Time zoneUTC+5.[21]
Dialing code:ISO 3166-1
Internet TLD.hm.

Heard and McDonald Islands are a territory of Australia. These are uninhabited sub-Antarctic islands. They are located about 1,700 kms from the north of Antarctica, and about 4,100 kms southwest to Perth.

They cover 372 sq kms of land area, and are one of the wildest places on the surface of the earth. The vast frozen glacial ice covers active volcanoes while the coastal waters are very rough.

The earliest known visitor to these islands was a British sailor named Peter Kemp who probably sighted the islands in 1833. In 1853, an American sailor named John Heard sighted the island, and had it named after him. In 1854, Captain William McDonald discovered the McDonald Island. The first human landing occurred in 1855, and between 1855 and 1860, sealing parties landed on the island. The islands were transferred from British to Australian hands in 1947. They were declared to be a World Heritage site in 1997.

The geography of the Heard and McDonald Islands is very unique. Heard Island is larger, and is almost completely covered by snow and ice. The landscape is dominated by a vast central massif. The highest point is the Big Ben which rises to 2,745 meters. It is an active volcano. The McDonald Island also contains an active volcano though the island is much smaller in size. These are the only active sub-Antarctic volcanoes in the world, and they provide invaluable insights into the geological processes of the earth.

How to reach
The Heard and McDonald Islands are not open to public and no transport facilities are available. For visiting these islands, one will have to either join an expedition or mount one.

These are sub-Antarctic Islands; hence, there is little seasonal or daily variation in temperature. Low cloud cover, frequent precipitation, and strong winds are the characteristics of the weather here. Snowfall occurs throughout the year.

These islands offer valuable insights into the geomorphic processes of the earth. In addition, these are one of the few ecosystems where no known species have been introduced by man. This makes it perfect to study the ecosystem processes. A vast variety of seabirds, beetles with unique adaptations, penguins, and seals are found on these islands.

Last Updated on: December 16th, 2017