Auckland Island is the biggest subarctic island, which belong to New Zealand, and is 465 km southeast from Bluff peninsula. With a combined area of 625sq km, the Island is uninhabited by humans, there is a wide variation of wild life all over the island, yellow eyed penguins, albatross, elephant seals and the nearly extinguished snipe enjoy the idyllic isolation on the island.
On the Island are 2 hikes, both of them start close to the landing site by research station, from there on; for the first few meter you need to pass sea lion colony, usually the seal are very relaxed and sleep. One of the walk is a 3 hour return broad-walk very easy to do, which winds up to a higher altitude, you pass wetlands, small forest and rata trees. Yellow eyed penguin’s nest very close to the broad-walk, and are not shy by passing tourists as long they keep a safety distance of a few meter. All the way long the scenery change, to take a look back to the harbour is magnificent. At the far end is a small rest area, which invite you for a while to stay and have a snack. From that point the second longer walk turn off, and it takes around 5 to 6 hours back to the starting point.
The walk follow the cliff line, and pass many different fauna and landscapes. Albatross nests in December and early January, Elephant Seals are playing on higher altitude in the fields. As we took our lunch break one of the seals came very close to check out what is happening in his isolated area, it was a great experience to see the seal that close, not more than a back pack in between us, the seal was nearly the same high than me as he stood up on his flippers. But soon he lost his interest and he turned around and disappeared in the high grass. We continued our walk close to the cliff the view from there is overwhelming, the look down to the roaring sea open a variety of rugged rocks and dancing sea weed in the water, the swell was very thundering as soon it hit the cliff and the waves look like he explode in all directions with thundering noise. We took a rest in the sun in an open area it must be the location where the Derry Castel sunk in 1887, a monument remind to that tragedy that time. Soon we continued our walk through high flex and toi toi, on that part was no marker just we knew that we need to keep left and leave the forest on the right; it took some time to walk through that area. But we needed to turn back few times and look for a new track, all the tracks are made by seals and penguins, and going in all directions.
Penguin and seals are nesting in the overgrown area, if you get to close both animals make some noise, as a warning before you get to close.
After we walked through the flex we passed an open area from there we could see already where we need to go, we passed a beach, walked through an forest I never seen before.
Our last few meter back to the starting point where the most exiting for me, we need to pass an elephant seal colony.