Visitor Management Plan: Cape Rosa

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(For the Visitor Management Plan disclaimer, copyright and funding click here.)

Download the pdf booklet version of this page here [1MB]. This is best suited for two-sided printing. Note, for a duplex printer, you need to print using 'short edge binding.'

(Revised October 2012)

View of landing site from inside cave
View of landing site from inside cave
Cave Cove
Cave Cove


Download large size jpg here.
Download large size jpg here.

Latitude: 54˚11`S

Longitude: 37˚24’W

(Southern entrance to King Haakon Bay)

Key Features

  • Historical interest
  • Giant petrel and albatross spp.
  • Burrowing petrels
  • Mice infested area


  • Topography:
Cape Rosa consists of a series of low bluffs extending out from the southern entrance of King Haakon Bay backed by extensive rock outcrops and scree slopes. Wave-cut platforms fringe the shoreline which is indented by a series of narrow inlets, of which ‘Cave Cove’ is one of the most distinctive. Nestling on the cape’s plateau area are a number of small lakes. The cove hosts a small cave on its eastern side.

  • Fauna:
Confirmed breeders: wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans), light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata), northern giant petrel (Macronectes halli), Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata), blue petrel (Halobaena caerulea), white-chinned petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis), common diving petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix), Wilson’s storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), brown skua (Catharacta lonnbergi), kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), snowy sheathbill (Chionis alba), Antarctic tern (Sterna vittate georgiae), South Georgia pipit (Anthus antarcticus), elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella)
Introduced land mammals: house mouse (Mus musculus).

  • Flora:
Predominantly tussac, interspersed with areas of moss and Deschampsia grassland and backed by scree slopes above. Rock outcrops support extensive lichen communities.

  • Other:
Extensive kelp beds, hazardous rocks and reefs lie immediately off shore. Landfall of the James Caird. There is a commemorative plaque on the rock face near the cave.

Visitor Impacts

  • Known Impacts:
Trampling impact on tussac slope above beach at ‘Cave Cove’ and on moss at the saddle, compounded by recent fur seal trampling.

  • Potential Impacts: Disturbance of wildlife, including crushing of petrel burrows.

Landing requirements

  • Ships:*
Ships carrying 200 or fewer passengers. One ship at a time. Maximum 2 ships per day (midnight to midnight).

A ship is defined as a vessel which carries more than 12 passengers.

  • Visitors:
No more than 100 visitors ashore at any time, exclusive of expedition guides and leaders. 1 experienced guide per 20 visitors. Visits to the saddle must strictly follow restrictions below.

Visitor Areas

  • Landing Area:
Cobbled beach at back of inlet.

  • Closed Areas:
Closed Area A: all land on the cape with the exception of the designated walking route to the saddle.

  • Guided Walking Areas:
Visits to the saddle above the cove through Closed Area A are restricted to one group at a time of no more than 20 persons including guide. If it is not possible to follow the measures listed then visitors must remain on the shore.
Every group must be led by an experienced guide with local knowledge.
Access to the saddle must be made by ascending and descending the gully/stream bed, strictly adhering to the directions given on the oblique aerial photograph provided. Visitors must not wander from this area.
Extreme care must be taken to avoid disturbing the giant petrel nests. Guides must ensure that visitors keep at least 10m from the nesting birds.
Remain on the saddle and avoid walking through burrowing petrel nesting areas in the tussac.

  • Free Roaming Areas:
Cobbled beach area, including the cave.

Visitor Code of Conduct

  • Behaviour Ashore:
Walk slowly and carefully. Maintain a precautionary distance from wildlife and give animals the right-of-way. Increase this distance if any change in behaviour is observed.

  • Cautionary notes:
King Haakon Bay is exposed to the west. Strong winds, swell and katabatic winds can make landings difficult.
Minimise use of ship lights at nightfall to reduce risk of bird strikes.

  • Biosecurity:
All landings must comply with GSGSSI biosecurity measures and self-audit checks carried out prior to landing.
Cape Rosa is infested with mice. Stringent measures must be taken to ensure that no rodents are carried in or out of the site. Guides MUST inspect boats and visitors’ bags before landing and departing from the site.
Visitors should at no time leave their bags unattended and no food should be brought ashore.

View from saddle looking back to Cave Cove
View from saddle looking back to Cave Cove
  • © Copyright GSGSSI 2013. (Click here to read GSGSSI Disclaimer)