In accordance with Section 37 of the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002, Macquarie Island Nature Reserve (including its surrounding waters to 3 nautical miles) is declared a Restricted Area to which the public has not a general right of access. Pursuant to Regulation 17 of the National Parks and Reserved Land Regulations 2009, a person must not enter or remain in the reserve unless the person is granted authority by the Director, or the person is accompanied by an authorised person. Special Management Areas (SMA’s) are declared from year to year to further protect vulnerable species, vegetation communities or sites extremely vulnerable to human disturbance.
A map showing the Special Management Areas is available for download as a PDF
Azorella macquariensis SMA's
Permanent SMA’s protecting plateau areas of the endemic cushionplant Azorella macquariensis that are largely unaffected by Azorella dieback. Access to these areas at any time will only be granted by the Managing Authority under very exceptional circumstances, and entry will be subject to strict quarantine procedures designed to minimise the spread of any potential dieback pathogen/s.
Time Frame – Closed all year.
Permanent SMA’s cover the Caroline Cove region (to protect endangered wandering, grey headed and black-browed albatrosses, giant petrels, penguins and sensitive vegetation) and the tip of North Head (to protect burrow-nesting seabirds, penguins and sensitive vegetation). Access to these areas at any time will only be granted by the Managing Authority under very exceptional circumstances.
Time Frame – Closed all year.
Category 1 SMA’s
Very sensitive areas. Difficult to enter area without disturbing endangered /threatened wildlife or causing damage to fragile vegetation. Category 1 areas cover the featherbed from Handspike Point to Bauer Bay * (wandering albatrosses, sensitive vegetation and giant petrels), and Soucek and Sandell Bays on the west coast (high densities of giant petrels). Access to these areas between August and May will only be granted by the Managing Authority under exceptional circumstances. Some areas will not be able to be accessed for any reason due to the proximity of extremely sensitive breeding wildlife.
* The featherbed SMA between Handspike Point and Bauer Bay may be closed all year if wandering albatrosses are breeding there.
Time Frame – Closed 1 August – 31 May
Category 2 SMA’s
High densities of penguins make these areas difficult to access throughout the breeding season without causing significant disturbance. Giant petrels are also found throughout much of the Category 2 areas. These areas include much of the west coast and the east coast. The Managing Authority will only grant access under extraordinary circumstances to these areas between mid-September and mid-March. No routes through breeding penguin colonies will be allowed at any time. Minimum wildlife approach distances must be observed throughout the year.
Time Frame - Closed 1 September to 31 March
North Head SMA
Established to protect breeding fur seals and burrow-nesting petrels. The Managing Authority will only grant access during the closed period under extraordinary circumstances. No routes through breeding penguin colonies will be allowed at any time. Minimum wildlife approach distances must be observed throughout the year.
Time Frame - Closed 16 November to 30 September