Environmental engineer Jacque Comery will swap her hard hat and high-vis vest for layers of thermals when she takes a year off work to lead the Australian Antarctic Division's Macquarie Island expedition.
Temperatures during her 12-month stint at the harsh, remote island will hover between -5 to 3 degrees, but unlike Antarctica, Macquarie Island doesn't have blizzards so the adventurous engineer is looking forward to exploring the island and its wildlife on foot.
"I've always had this fascination with exploration," she said.
"I recently bought a little yacht and sailed it from Thailand to Indonesia just with my partner, no amenities just hand-pumped water."
Using her experience managing engineering and environmental projects at GHD in Canberra for the past 12 years, Ms Comery will lead a team of 12 undertaking science, infrastructure and logistics programs on the "rock in the middle of the southern ocean" halfway between Australia and Antarctica.
"When I saw it advertised I immediately thought what an amazing opportunity to go somewhere in the world that's just not accessible to everybody," she said.
"I think less people have been to Macquarie Island probably than have been on Everest.
"Everything on the mainland goes on hold, but we've got really good connectivity on the base these days, there's Facebook and the internet."
After passing a written application and phone interview Ms Comery attended a four-day camp in Tasmania where she was up against other would-be leaders competing for a position at Antarctica or Macquarie Island.
When staff from the Antarctic division called her to say she was headed for "Macca" not Antarctica, they "were very apologetic", but Ms Comery was thrilled.
"I had no preference and I didn't mind if I'd do summer or winter, I just wanted to get my foot in the door," she said.
"The history of the island is just fascinating with its long history of resource exploitation and the recent success of the Macquarie Island pest eradication program.
"To be able to come in now after that's been done and watch the island re-establish is really exciting, to be one of first ones in to witness that."
Before she embarks on the ship in April to begin the 12-month stint she will spend two months at the division's base in Kingston, Tasmania, where she will bond with her team and learn remote area first aid, field rescue training and even firefighting and rescue training to make the group self-sufficient on the island.
After April, the island won't be resupplied again until at least October before December when the bulk of researchers arrive.
She will coordinate the safety, logistics and keep an eye on the overall sense of community of the staff on the island as they deliver engineering projects and maintain infrastructure managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.
"I'm a really good facilitator of teams so it just seemed like the perfect fit for me to contribute to the program," she said.
Ms Comery hopes to bring the skills she picks up during her time on the island back to her job in Canberra.
"I like a challenge it pushes you to stretch your boundaries and if you can combine some personal challenges like that with team management you come back stronger as a person," she said.