Scenery
Cool fact…
Big Ben was first successfully climbed in 1965 by members of the Southern Indian Ocean Expedition, whose boats overturned when making their landing at what is now known as 'Capsize Beach'.

Nature

Subantarctic skua silhouetted against Big Ben
Subantarctic skua (Catharacta lonnbergi) silhouetted against Big Ben (Photo: Roger Kirkwood)

These pages provide a broad introduction to the natural aspects of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) – the animals, the plants, the marine environment and the landforms on the islands themselves.

HIMI is a spectacular and unique area of the world with considerable conservation significance. The relatively late discovery of the islands in the mid 19th century, combined with minimal human visitation over the last century due to the region's harsh climate and isolation, mean that HIMI's natural qualities have been little impacted by human activities.

The spectacular landforms, together with the the islands’ close to pristine terrestrial and marine biological communities and species of high conservation significance, are afforded the highest levels of protection on behalf of the people of the world through their inscription on the World Heritage list and through the declaration of the HIMI Marine Reserve.

This page was last updated on 28 February 2005.