Steep and rugged Campbell Island has had a varied history. It has been used for sealing, whaling, and farming, for wartime defense and as a meteorological station. 700 km south of South Island, the Campbell Island group is New Zealand’s southernmost sovereign territory. With its 11,300 hectares of land, Campbell Island has been a nature reserve since 1954 and is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands” created in 1998.
Although farming introduced new plants, Campbell still has close to 130 native vascular plants and is famous for its perennial wildflowers which adapted to the harsh climatic conditions becoming megaherbs. After eradication programs freed Campbell of sheep and rats, plant and birdlife has recovered and today the island is home to six species of albatross, including the Southern Royal Albatross, which in New Zealand is considered the largest albatross, as well as Black-browed, Grey-headed, and Light-mantled (Sooty) Albatross. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded, including a number of endemics.