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This is "off limits" to tourists, probably as much as anything for safety reasons, as the climb is steep and can be hazardous. Because of low cloud, it also is far more prone to fogs than the coast (in my time, most routes were marked only by occasional pegs), and is very windswept.
The island is "new" (under 1 million years old) and still rising because of pressures in the mid-ocean ridge which formed it. On the plateau can be found old sea stacks, hanging lakes, and vegetation of sparse grasses.
Main photo: Old sea stacks, now high on the plateau
Second photo: Photo of me taking a breather, one of the track marker pegs nearby
Third photo: Hanging lake.
Written May 26, 2007
In the early 1960s, the Meteorological Office at Macquarie Island began measuring the profile of ozone in the upper atmosphere, for Australia's national research body, the CSIRO. At that stage, the measurements were purely for 'scientific interest', with no known relevance. As a result, Macquarie Island has one of the longest records of trends in upper atmospheric ozone in the southern hemisphere. We now know the significance of the 'Ozone Hole' and the Macquarie Island records are valuable for their historical data.
This strange device in the blanket is a Dobson Spectrophotometer. It is the instrument which now has conducted nearly 50 years of ozone measurements at Macquarie Island. It may be 'off the beaten track' but it is very important - I hope that it finds its way to an honourable place in a museum when time comes for it to be retired.
Updated Feb 28, 2006
If you could, you would see the huge Royal Penguin colony (about a million birds) around the coastline. It is impressive, but must remain 'off the beaten track' because, unfortunately, tourists are not permitted to visit Hurd Point. The accompanying photo was taken looking down on the beach from about 300 metres, high on the slope of the plateau, in 1968 (at a time when the penguins were not nesting, but elephant seals can be seen).
Written Feb 28, 2006