Macquarie Island lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54° 30' S, 158° 57' E. Politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978, and a World Heritage Site in 1997. It was a part of Esperance Municipality until 1993 when the municipality was merged with other municipalities to Huon Valley. The island is home to the entire royal penguin population during their annual nesting season. Ecologically, the island is part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion.
Since 1948 the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has maintained a permanent base, the Macquarie Island Station, on the isthmus at the northern end of the island at the foot of Wireless Hill. The population of the base, the island's only human inhabitants, usually varies from 20 to 40 people over the year. A heliport is located near the base.