Antipodes Group

Antipodes Islands with outer islands marked with red arrows

Antipodes Islands with outer islands marked with red arrows

The Antipodes Islands is 2045ha in size and are one of the remotest parts of New Zealand both geographically and ecologically. They hold New Zealand’s highest protected land status with their classification as National Nature Reserves under the Reserves Act 1977 which includes entry by permit only. They were also recognised internationally in 1998 when they were listed as part of the New Zealand Subantarctic World Heritage site. The Antipodes contain a unique ecosystem dominated by tall tussocks, megaherbs (large leaved herbs only found in the Subantarctics). The fauna is heavily dominated by seabirds of which there are 7 species of burrowing petrel, 2 species of surface nesters and 4 species of albatross/mollymawk (of which 2 species of mollymawk only breed on Bollons). This vast number of seabirds provides the nutrients for the plants along with the invertebrates which in turn feed the four endemic land birds. Read more

antips nzThe group are of volcanic origin and have never been connected to a larger landmass. The Antipodes Islands are on the south-east margin of the Bounty Platform and are the youngest island group within the Ngā Moutere O Murihiku Ki Tonga. The Antipodes is made up of several volcanic cones, the highest being Mt Galloway at 366 metres on the main island. With cliffs up to 150m high, erosion by the sea has left a ragged shoreline dotted with sea caves, stacks and wave-cut platforms.

The soils are “organic” i.e., peats composed almost entirely of plant remains. Deposits of peat up to 5 m thick blanket most of Antipodes Island.

Predominant strong westerly winds prevail with frequent drizzle, fog and rain. Temperatures have been recorded from Reef Point; 0-11° C June, 7-13°C in February. There is little annual or even daily temperature variation. Between May and November snow can fall but is usually light and hail can occur all year round.

The Antipodes are internationally acknowledged as one of the planets unique, wild and near pristine ecosystems, home to a raft of endangered and endemic species.

They currently have only one introduced mammalian pest – mice.