macquarie island

Macquarie Island is one of the Subarctic Island, which is located in the Southern Ocean, just half way between New Zealand and Antarctica. Macca is the nickname of Macquarie Island and is a nature Reserve managed by the Tasman Parks and Wildlife Service. The Island and surrounding waters are protected in a radius of 12 nautical miles. The geoconversation is significant. The land under water, and all fauna and flora including fish and marine plants are fully protected.

Frederick Hasselbough discovered the island accidently on 11 July 1810. As he was looking for new sealing grounds, the island was uninhabited, and claimed the Island for Briton. Hasselborough reported a wreck of ancient design, which has given the speculation that Polynesian or others have visited the island before.

The Island is about 34 km long and 5km wide, with an area of 128 km sq. Near Macquarie Island are two smaller islands. The islands highest point is MT Elder on the northeast ridge 385 m, and Mt Hamilton and Fletcher in the South at 410m.

Macquarie Island is rich on wildlife include subarctic fur seals, Antarctic fur seals, New Zealand fur seals, and southern elephant seals, more than 60 000 individuals are known. Royal penguins, Macquarie Shags, king penguins, southern rock hopper penguins and gentaoo penguins breed in large numbers on the island. Since 1948 the Australian Antarctic Division has maintained a permanent base, the Macquarie Island Station, on the northern end of the island at the foot at Wireless Hill. The population of the base varies from 20 to 40 people over the year.

Tourism has a very small impact on the Island, not more than 250 to 400 visitors are visiting the Island over the year. The only access is via cruise ships which usually traveling during the summer month into the subarctic to visit Subarctic Islands.

Macquarie island is the last Island before Antarctica, it could get very rough at sea from time to time, and a landing is sometimes not possible due the high swell at the beach side.


Akaroa Island

Akaroa Island is just around the corner by Christchurch, there are a costal drive and the much longer drive on the main highway. I took both roads first I passed Lyttlton to Governors Bay continued to Diamond Harbour. The road is sealed until Monolau from that village on the road get unsealed with deep gravel was not easy to ride with a heavy bike, the further I got into hill side the more the road looked like a 4 wd road, unseals slippery and full of pot-holes. The whole scenery is very beautiful and changes many times, all the time a look out offers a great view to the costal area. The road gets connected to Little River. I took a sharp left turn on SH 75 and drove to Onawe Pa, it is historic place to stop singed in 1832. Nowadays it is a Hotel and Restaurant with a view to Barry’s Valley and Barry’s Bay. There is only one road to Akaroa. Akaroa it self has a strong French influence from the past. Many street names are in French, to police station get called Gendarmerie too. At the far end of the road is a Hostel located a good place to relax, in middle of the forest and mountains, far away from the township. Akaroa is famous for fresh fish, French style baked goods and salmon farming.

After my visit to Akaroa I drove to French farm a small settlement at French Farm Bay it is well signposted on the main road and a good opportunity to go for swim water is crystal clear. From there on I followed the road up into the mountain, a typical 4wd road what I found out. The luck with the weather was not on my side, far up in the mountain clouds moved in very fast and the wind picked up my visibility was not more than 10 meters. That contrition continued the whole road up to Mount Bossu, there was a sharp right bent. The weather changed completely, clear blue sky and sunshine was my reward, and I can say that much it was worth it to keep on going. Landscape got better and better, it was time for afternoon tea too. To sit in the field to relax was awesome no notice was around just plain nature. Following Bossu Road to Reynolds Valley is an easy ride, the road is following the ridgeline, and soon the road is going to Kinloch and Breitmeyers. It took only few more meters to go until back on the SH74.

The colonization started in early 1800 at Akaroa Island, it was the same time were the French established in the Pacific region. Approximately 50 to 60 whaling ships were sailing between New Zealand and France. The Wale trace was very lucrative that time; Oil lit street lamps in Paris and other big city’s all over Europe.

However just one month before the Comet de Paris left France, the British signed the treaty of Waitangi with the Maori Chief, at the bay of islands, on the 6th February in 1840. Just 1 month later the Southland Chief of Maori signed the treaty, on 30th May the same year.

The unknowing French arrived at Akaroa Island in August 1840 and discovered they would be settling into a British colony. After the signing of the treaty, a British warship had sailed to Akaroa and planted the union jack. The land had been bought by Langlois had been sold again, as it was often Maori Custom. The British Settler stayed calm, due to much diplomacy that time, no major incidents has arise that time. The French Government requested the British Government to protect the rights of the French landowners in New Zealand, and that was agreed upon in 1841.

Langlois returned to France in October 1842, with a cargo of more than 1.700 barrels of whale oil.

The French settled as planed in Akaroa, but instate a large French colony, just 2 towns had been build with around 60 French inhabitants.