Auckland Islands

From Academic Kids

The Auckland Islands (Template:Coor dm) form a sub-antarctic archipelago of New Zealand. They lie 465 kilometres from the South Island port of Bluff, between the latitudes 50° 30' and 50° 55' S and longitudes 165° 50' and 166° 20' E. The islands are uninhabited.

Southern coast of the main island
Southern coast of the main island


Missing image
The Auckland Islands as seen by STS-89 in 1998. Southwest is to the top of the picture.

The main island (Auckland Island) has an approximate land area of 510 km2, and is 42 kilometres long. It is notable for its steep cliffs and rugged terrain, which rises to over 600 metres. Prominent peaks include Cavern Peak (650 m), Mount Raynal (635 m), Mount D'Urville (630 m), Mount Easton (610 m), and the Tower of Babel (550 m).

The southern end of the island broadens to a width of 26 kilometres. Here, a narrow channel known as Carnley Harbour (on some maps the Adams Straits) separates the main island from the roughly triangular Adams Island (area approximately 100 km2), which is even more mountainous, reaching a height of 660 m with Mount Dick. The channel is the remains of the crater of an extinct volcano, and Adams Island and the southern part of the main island form the crater rim.

There are numerous other smaller islands in the group, notably Disappointment Island (10 kilometres northwest of the main island) and Enderby Island (1000 metres off the northern tip of the main island), each covering less than 5 km².

Many inlets are sharply incised into the main island, notably Port Ross in the northern end of the island.


Abraham Bristow, a whaling captain, discovered the islands in 1806 and named them "Lord Auckland's" on 18 August 1806 in honour of his father's friend William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland. Britain claimed the archipelago the following year. The explorers Dumont D'Urville in 1839, and James Clark Ross visited in 1839 and in 1840 respectively.

Now uninhabited, the islands saw unsuccessful settlements in the mid-19th century. Whalers and sealers had set up temporary bases, a small party of Maori from the New Zealand mainland migrated to the archipelago, and Charles Enderby proposed to set up a community based on agriculture and whaling in 1846. This "Enderby" settlement, established at Port Ross in 1850, lasted only two years.

The Imperial Parliament included the Auckland Islands in the extended boundaries of New Zealand in 1863.

The rocky coasts of the islands have proven disastrous for several ships. The Grafton suffered shipwreck off the coast of the islands in 1864, and in 1866, one of New Zealand's most famous shipwrecks, that of the General Grant occurred on the western coast. Several attempts have failed to salvage cargo from the General Grant, which allegedly carried bullion. A further maritime tragedy occurred in 1907, with the loss of the Dundonald and twelve crew off Disappointment Island. Because of the high probability of wrecks around the islands, the authorities maintained emergency supplies in a depot at Port Ross.

During the 1940s the Auckland Islands hosted a New Zealand meteorological station, but this closed down after only a few years.


Missing image
New Zealand (Hooker's) Sea Lion
By the 21st century the islands had become the chief breeding place of the New Zealand Sea Lion.


  • Wise's New Zealand Guide (4th ed.) (1969). Dunedin: H. Wise & Co. (N.Z.) Ltd.
  • Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand (1863, Session III Oct-Dec) (A5)

External links

ja:オークランド諸島 no:Aucklandyene


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