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Christmas Island

Christmas Island is one of the islands of the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia and some distance northwest of Australia, of which it is a territory.


Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement was begun by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The island was initially administered as part of the Straits Settlements, and subsequently as part of the colony of Singapore. Sovereignty was subsequently transferred to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.

The Australian Government in 2001 agreed to support the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, which now looks unlikely to proceed after funding was withdrawn.


Christmas Island rises to a central plateau of stands of rainforest. Its 80-km coastline is an almost continuous sea cliff up to 20 metres high, with a few shallow bays of small sand and coral shingle beaches. The largest of these forms the island's only port, Flying Fish Cove, which is also called "The Settlement". Other settled areas, all in the north east, are Poon Saan, Silver City, Drumsite and Kampong.


Tropical; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds.


Steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau. Rain forest covers the majority of the island, with small areas of the island under rehabilitation from mining. Sandy to rocky beaches scattered along the coastline of the island separated by steep limestone cliffs.

Get in

By plane

Australian Indian Ocean Territories Airlines (+ 61 8 9164 7096, enquiries@travelxch.com.cx) offer the only international flight on a chartered Malaysia Airlines aircraft from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore every Saturday.

By boat

There is no passenger chartered boat services to Christmas Island; however, Flying Fish Cove is frequented by yachts and cruise ships as a stop off.


  • Dales

The Dales comprise numerous freshwater streams running roughly parallel to each other. The streams originate from underground caves and eventually flows into the ocean. The streams over the length of time, have worn out gullies between the cliff walls of the coast, and have created unusually step-like formations (terraces). There is a waterfall above the terrace formations, visitors are often fond of taking showers under the waterfall.

The Dales are located in lush tropical rainforest which is known for its unique fauna, such as the blue crab and blind snake and flora such as giant buttrest root trees.

The Dales area has signage and raised walkways/steps installed by the national parks department for visitors.

Located in the national park at the south west portion of the island. The Dales can only be reach via 4WD and trekking by foot.

  • Lily Beach: Named after a girl who was swept off the rocks at the beach never to be found. The beach comprises a sandy area running down to a bathing pool,which is separated from the open ocean by rocky basalt/limestone outcrops. The pool is constantly fed sea water from the gullies leading to the ocean and the whitewash generated from the waves hitting the cliffs and outcrop.
Caution is advised when venturing past the bathing pool on to the rocky outcrops, as large freak waves have known to swamp the rocky outcrops. Beware, lest you meet the same fate as Lily!Located in the 'snout of the dog' eastern part of the island, this beach can be accessed by normal 2 wheel drive vehicles when road conditions are dry and only with a 4WD when roads are wet. Wooden pergola and BBQ facilities are available.
  • Blowholes: A geological feature located along the steep limestone cliffs along the southern coastline of the island, the Blowholes are holes in the ground where air and seawater are blown out due to waves crashing into caves formed along the bottom of the cliffs. Depending on wave conditions, the water and trapped air in the caves are forced out from the holes formed at the top of the cliff caves, leading to spectacular plumes of water thrown up into the air. The distinctive sound of gushing air can heard from the holes when the waves crash onto the cliffs.
  • Dolly Beach: An isolated beach, 1-hour drive by 4WD over rocky step tracks and then another 45 minutes trek on foot downhill. Well worth the trip.
A white sandy beach sheltered and ringed by black basalt outcrops 5 meters from the shoreline. The rear of the beach is lined with overhanging coconut trees, and there is a clear stream flowing through the middle of the beach from the cliffs above.A fairly scenic beach, this is a favorite camping site for locals and visitors alike, due to the availability of drinkable freshwater from the stream and 'exotic secluded beach paradise' ambiance.Dolly Beach is also a favourite nesting location for endangered sea turtles. It is very common on most nights to have one or more turtles make their way up onto the beach from the sea, and lay their eggs into holes dug by the turtles themselves. After laying the eggs, the turtle refills the hole with sand and makes her way back to the sea. Witnessing this event is magically and memorable. If a turtle if startled prior to laying her eggs, she will return to the sea. Therefore, do not shine any torch light in their eyes or make loud noise. Disturbing the turtles or poaching the eggs is illegal.

Other places (More details to be added):

  • Margaret Knoll
  • Nursery Lookout
  • Flying Fish Cove
  • Administrators House known locally as "Buck House"
  • Historical World War Ii Artillery Bunker past the Buck House
  • South Point
  • Greta Beach
  • Freshwater Caves
  • Grotto
  • West White Beaches
  • Ethel Beach
  • Waterfall/Casino


  • View the spectacular world-famous Christmas Island Red Crab Migration during the December - February months.
  • Diving or snorkeling off the 'Drop Off' at Flying Fish Cove
  • Whale shark watching
  • Game Fishing on chartered boat
  • Rock Fishing
  • Caving (warning - seek local advice before setting out to any caves)
  • 4- Wheel Driving, known locally as 'Bush bashing'
  • Mountain Biking
  • Relax by the beach or on the patio with a cold beer
  • Duty-Free cheap drinks at numerous bars and taverns on the island
  • Historical trail self tours
  • Hiking

Get around

Walk, ride, or hire of cars/4WD/SUV. You can hike around the settled areas of island, as most locals are happy to give a ride to visitors.


As a territory of Australia, English is the most common language spoken on Christmas Island, but is not universal. Many senior residents speak dialects of Chinese and Malay as a first language. All signs, however, are in English.


The official currency of Christmas island is the Australian dollar.

The island has "duty free" status, and shop prices for perfume and alcohol are very low compared to the Australian mainland.

  • Acker Trading: Gas refills M-F 9AM-11AM (+61 8 9164 7575, acker@pulau.cx).
  • Christmas Island Post Office: Australian Postal Services, Commonwealth Bank agency, stationery, philatelic, passport photos, souvenirs. Contact Michelle or Carolyn (+61 8 9164 8495, cipost@cipost.cx).
  • Christmas Island Supermarket: Gaze Road, Settlement. Groceries, fresh bread, fruit and vegetables, wine, beer and spirits.

M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM Contact Eddie Tan (+61 8 9164 8370, Mobile 043 921 5370, et_cismk@pulau.cx).

  • Christmas Island Visitor Information Centre - Gift Shop: Run by the Christmas Island Tourism Association located at the Visitor Information Centre, Gaze Road, Settlement. They sell a range of souvenirs from Australia and Christmas Island, including local craft, T-shirts, Christmas Island Books, posters, maps and videos, jewellery, pottery, and postcards. (+61 8 9164 8382)
  • Gaseng: Australian standard diesel automotive fuel and unleaded petrol, 2-stroke mix for outboard motors, 20L jerricans for loan to refuel yachts, free transport to and from the jetty and able to fuel larger yachts on application. Contact Craig Albanus (+61 8 9164 8313, tmackie@gaseng.com.au).
  • Gold N Things Duty Free, ? +61 8 9164 8215, e-mail: sue@goldnthingsdutyfree.com.au. Cosmetics, perfumes, watches, jewellery, sunglasses, leather goods, top shelf liquor, giftware.
  • Island Pharmacy and News: Dispersing of prescriptions and supply of vitamins, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, make-up, first aid items, suncare and sunglasses. M-F 9AM - 5PM, Sa Saturday 9AM - noon. (+61 8 9164 8337, cipharm@pulau.cx).
  • Lattitudes 11

Family Hair Design "Service with Style" Open :Tuesday - Saturday or by arrangement Phone :+61 8 9164 7061 Mobile :0412 536 263

  • Lintex Marketing

Whitegoods, stereo equipment and accessories. Music CDs, DVDs, PC and other console games. Open: M-W 10AM-3PM, Th F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM Ph / Fax :+61 8 9164 8184

  • Lucky Lukes

Range of clothing and unique giftware from around the world. Open: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-1PM Contact Bridgette or Ron Lines : Ph / Fax :+61 8 9164 8297

  • The Red Crab Surf'n'sound

ShopSurf wear and accessories, sunglasses, shoes range of music CDs Phone :+61 8 9164 7176 Email :redcrab@pulau.cx

  • Shorefire Fishing Shop

Reels, rods, lures and expert advise for your fishing trip. Surf and sportswear, camping equipment, ice. Phone :+61 8 9164 8925 Email :shorefirefishing@bigpond.com.au

  • Westpac Bank

All your banking or money changing needs. Open M-F 9AM-3PM Contact :+61 8 9164 8221

  • Wild Papaya

Gallery, Gifts and Homewares. Unique Gift Ideas, Handcrafted Australian Jewellery, Christmas Island Photography and Art. Located in the Temple Court. Open :Tu-F 11AM - 5PM; Sa 9AM - noon Ph / Fax :+61 8 9164 8882 Email :wildpapaya@xiv.cx


There are several restaurants on Christmas Island serving Western and Asian cuisine.

  • Lucky Ho Restaurant, Lot 236 Poon Saan Rd, ? +61 8 9164 8813. excellent value
  • Christmas Island Resort - Waterfall Restaurant

Western Food and Asian Food - Modern International - Steaks, Pasta, Pizza. Located at the Christmas Island Resort. Open :Everyday for breakfast and dinner with Sunday Roasts. Phone :+61 8 9164 8888

  • Emayson's Cafe

Western and Asian Food - Coffee, milkshakes and cool drinks. Located at the Christmas Island Recreation Centre. Open :Everyday Phone :+61 8 9164 8106

  • Golden Bosun Tavern

Rocky Point Complex, Gaze Road Settlement. Modern International fare, with a dessert selection and coffee. Uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean from the restaurant verandah Dinner served 6 nights per week, closed Monday. Restaurant : 5:30PM - 8:30PM Bar : 4PM till late Phone :+61 9164 7967

  • Longs Bakery

Mon - Fri :Fresh bread daily including white, wholemeal, wholegrain and 6 cut rolls Red bean paste; Kaya paste; Coconut and Sambal Prawn buns Chicken and Beef Sausage Rolls Sat :Closed Sun :Fresh bread and french sticks Available from Boong Trading, Meng Chong Trading, and Metro Enterprises.

  • Rockfall Cafe, ? +61 8 9164 7688. M-Sa 7:30AM - 1:30PM. Huge range of burgers, rolls, sandwiches, delicious meals and fresh salads, Fresh coffee and cakes. BYO - Eat in or Take away.
  • Rumah Tinggi Tavern & Restaurant

Gaze Road Settlement. The Rumah Tinggi offers modern Australian fare, fine wine and cocktails. With uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean and a spacious open air verandah - the perfect location to watch the sunset or the moon rise over the Indian Ocean. Bar open 5PM till late - Dinner - 9PM. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Contact :Mark or Kaz on +61 8 9164 7667

  • Season's Palace

Poon Saan area - upstairs from the Poon Saan Shops. Offers authentic Chinese dishes in air conditioned comfort. Phone :+61 8 9164 7688


As Christmas Island is duty-free, alcohol is usually lower priced than the Australian mainland. Some of the bars and taverns are:

  • Tracks at Drumsite
  • Golden Bosun
  • Pool Hall at Poon Saan
  • Rumah Tinngi, coconut grove, settlement, ? +61 891647667. TH-M 4PM-. Fantastic ocean view restaurant and bar.


Most possibilities for accommodation are in the main settlement, one is located next to the island's waterfall whilst the other is further out in an area called Poon Saan.

List of accommodation available:

  • The Cabin
  • Captain's Last Resort
  • Christmas Island Lodge
  • Hibiscus House
  • Mango Tree Lodge
  • The Retreat
  • Rumah Biru Cottage
  • The Sanctuary
  • Sea Gazin
  • Sunset
  • VQ3 Lodge

For further details, bookings or enquiries visit the Christmas Island Tourism Association website.


Christmas Island District High School is the main school on the island, Year 1 to Year 10 is taught based on the Western Australian Curriculum.


It is difficult for non-locals to find employment on Christmas Island. The largest employers on the island are the small scale phosphate mining and federal/local government.

The most common way of obtaining employment on Christmas Island for non-locals is to check government positions advertised on the Australian mainland (Federal Government Employment Gazette), there are occasionally posting for teachers on several years contract from Australia.

National Parks, Federal Police and positions related to the Detention Center are occasional advertised on Newspaper and Government Gazette.

Also check http://apsjobs.gov.au online for posting at Christmas Island.

Stay safe

The island is safe all times of the day in the populated areas, locals usually leave their houses and car unlocked. There are no poisonous or dangerous animals/insects on the island.

The most likely danger is large waves at cliffs and coastal waters during the monsoon (October - February).

There are occasional sightings of reef and hammerhead sharks off the coast near the 'drop offs' (underwater coastal shelf which drops off into the ocean depths, usually 5 - 30 meters offshore); however, there have been no reported shark attacks on Christmas Island in recorded history.

Some 4-wheel drive tracks are steep and slippery during the wet season; caution is advised when driving in national parks areas. Many tracks are 4-wheel drive only, in particular Dolly Beach track and Dales and Blow Holes National Park areas. 4-wheel driving experience is required when venturing into these areas.

It is recommended that you bring a local or get local advice before heading off to any unpopulated national park areas.

Stay healthy

Wear loose fitting clothing suitable for humid tropical climates. A hat and sunscreen is recommended if you're intending to be under the sun at the beach or fishing.

Bring water with you, as in humid environments you will tend to perspire more than normal.

Mosquito repellent should be brought on trips to rain forest areas, no instances of Malaria have ever been reported in recent history.

There are rare occurrences of Hepatitis A & B. However there is no particular vaccination required when visiting the island.


Nudity is not permitted at beaches; normal beachwear applies.

It's good manners to wave back if waved at by locals when driving.


  • Christmas Island Tourism Association, PO Box 63, Christmas Island, Western Australia 6798, ? +61 8 9164 8382, e-mail: cita@christmas.net.au.

Go next

Cocos Islands is the closest land to Christmas Island and there are weekly connecting flights which take about 1 hour.

One can also take a charter flight to Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur.

An Island Called Christmas: A Narrative History

Lester Gaynor

A romantic desert island... Who first saw and went ashore on Christmas Island will never be known. Where these people came from and when is conjecture though we are almost certain they were Polynesians. Seafarers, either castaways, hopeful colonizers, passers-by, or perhaps all of these, were the first to land there probably as early as the eighth or ninth century A.D. Random voyagers travelling north or south between Hawaii and the Marquesas may have used Christmas as a reference island and thus would in all likelihood have steered to the east. Others may have island hopped through Palmyra, Washington and Fanning Islands on a deliberate voyage. Archaeological remains are few and scattered but definite enough to show that people lived here at one time, perhaps at different periods, however briefly. If any attempt at colonization was actually made it was fore-ordained to failure by the scarcity of coconut palms, the atoll staff of life. The aligned stones at a number of sites could also have been placed by castaways caught in the treacherous currents of the east coast and the Bay of Wrecks and doomed to live out their lives there unable to leave the island. But all this is conjecture and when Europeans first saw the island in late 1777 it was literally a “desert island.”

Christmas Island

Naira Matevosyan

There is a tiny land in the Indian Ocean, populated with c. 2000 residents, where, with the start of rainy season all the crabs are steadily heading the ocean to dive and lay eggs. The journey takes nearly a week, and is perilous. Afterwards, the male and female crabs mate. The male then returns to the forest, and the female waits for the moon and tide to be just right so she can lay eggs in the ocean. The female crab returns to the rainforest and the eggs immediately hatch. Those that are not eaten by fish grow for one month in the ocean, and then instinctively head the forest. Such a brilliant display of the crustaceans' keen sense in the earth's magnetic field! Yet, this mysterious land has more amazing events and sights to offer for the scientists, explorers, and eco-tourists. And the name of the land is Christmas Island, baptized after Captain James Cook's visit on Christmas eve (December 24, 1777). Check the content of this surrealistic pourquoi-diary for the information you need to make your unique trip happen.

Christmas Island History, Travel and Tourism: Environmental Information

Edwin Cory

Christmas Island History, Travel and Tourism. Environmental Information, A Book on Christmas Island, Even though 63 per cent of Christmas Island's 135 square kilometres is protected as a National Park most people only know Christmas Island as a place for people seeking asylum. Few people know it as a place of natural beauty, where a unique ecosystem of plants and animals has developed over millions of years. Today Christmas Island has a laid back atmosphere that has come from many cultures blending together harmoniously. Since its discovery the island has had an interesting history. The first written record of the existence of the Island was made in 1615. Captain William Mynors of the Royal Mary passed the Island and named it on Christmas day 25 December 1643.

Holiday World (IN) (Images of America)

Pat Koch

Louis J. Koch had a dream―one of family, fun, and Christmastime year-round. And so he created Santa Claus Land, the nation’s first theme park, in Santa Claus, located in the gentle rolling hills of southern Indiana. Now, six decades later, Koch’s legacy lives on at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. Still owned and operated by the Koch family, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari are consistently voted the friendliest and cleanest parks in the country, and their wooden roller coasters are rated in the top ten list among coaster enthusiasts. The Koch family members treat visitors to the park as family and welcome everyone into what has become a true extension of their home.

Truncated Travel: Life in the Migration Exclusion Zone on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Australia

Simone Dennis

Christmas Island is a small territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean. It is home to three main ethnic groups, the smallest of which are European Australians. Christmas Island is also where those who arrive "illegally" to seek asylum in Australia are accommodated. Christmas Island has played a key role in Australian security, located as it is at the northern extremity of Australian territory; much closer to Indonesia than to the nation to which it belongs, and from whose territory it has recently been excised for migration purposes. As a migration exclusion zone, Christmas is both within and without of the nation, and has gone from a place known among nature lovers for its unique red crabs and bird life to the highly politicised subject of national concern and heated debate. But what is it like to be at home on Christmas Island? How do locals make and come to be at home in a place both within and without of the nation? This anthropological exploration--the very first one ever undertaken of this strategically important island--focuses closely on the sensual engagements people have with place, shows how Christmas Islanders make recourse to the animals, birds and topographic features of the island to create uniquely islandic ways of being at home--and ways of creating "others" who will never belong--under volatile political circumstances. This original ethnography reveals a complex island society, whose presence at the very edge of the nation reveals important information about a place and a group of people new to ethnographic study. In and through these people and their relationships with their unique island place, this ethnographic exploration reveals a nation caught in the grip of intensive national angst about its borders, its sense of safety, its struggles with multiculturalism, and its identity in a world of unprecedented migratory movement. As the first book in the discipline of anthropology to study Christmas Island in ethnographic terms, Christmas Island is a critical work for all collections in anthropology and Australian Studies. "Christmas Island is described by Simone Dennis as 'the last outpost of the nation', that is, a multicultural microcosm of contemporary Australia, worried by a search for a national identity in touch with the past but not limited by it...In Simone Dennis, Christmas Island has its consummate ethnographer and analyst." - Professor Nigel Rapport, University of St. Andrews

Christmas Island Travel Journal, Pop. 1,496 + Me

Dragon Dragon Travel Journals

There is always room for you in Christmas Island!

Here’s the Dragon Dragon Travel Journal deal.

You wander the world having adventures, and such. Dragon Dragon offers you 200 pages to document your travels, and such. That’s it. Simple. Beautiful. True.

To help keep things organized, we’ve given each journal a unique continent, country or city name.

Wherever you go in this life, a Dragon Dragon Travel Journal can help make the going better and the remembering easier!

The Christmas Island Travel Journal

Younghusband World Travel Journals

"I don't always design travel journals, but when I do they are the kind of travel journals that people throw parades for." - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad

THE CHRISTMAS ISLAND TRAVEL JOURNAL has been carefully crafted by the legendary nomad Cormac Younghusband to help make your trip unforgettable, fun and organized—with plenty of room to help spur spontaneity and document new discoveries.

This journal can help you plan, live out and record every stage of your journey to Christmas Island—from pre-trip, to getting there, to being there, to getting home, and afterwards.

"Christmas Island food is among the world's finest. They do this thing with the thing!" - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad

The first part of the journal is for PRE-TRIP PLANNING and contains sections for important information, a page to write about what inspired you to make the trip, a page to write about the who, where, what, when, how of the journey, a page to make note of your travel companions, a number of pages to organize your travel research.* Plus, you will find sections for drafting an itinerary and keeping a journey to-do checklist.

The second part of the journal deals with GETTING THERE, containing sections to describe getting there and arriving.

The third part of the journal is all about BEING THERE. There are sections for: tracking the stuff you buy and for your daily adventures there are 50 two-page daily records to keep notes on: day #, date, weather, places visited, what happened today + thoughts on what happened, the highlight of the day and extensive notes (with a handy reminder list of things to write about). Because there are about 1,496 people in Christmas Island, there's also a section to record the names and contact info of the people you meet along the way.

The fourth part of the journal is for GETTING HOME, that fateful day you depart and the days that follow. There are sections for describing your departure, for making your own top 10 highlights lists, a country radar to help you create a signature review of the country, and an afterwards where you can sum up the meaning of your trip.

When a trip is over, Cormac Younghusband recommends you start planning your NEXT TRIP. To help, there is a section where you can make a travel wish list.

Also included is a COUNTRY BRIEF to give you important info on the destination and a MAP to give you an idea of the lay of the land. Plus, at the back of the book there are sections for: generic packing ideas, measures and conversions, and pages for notes, sketches, maps and such

"Find a place in the world you haven't been, and go there. Keep on trucking, my friends" - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - * Research Such As: places to go / explore, places to stay, places to shop / must have souvenirs, cultural / sporting events to attend, historical / religious sites of interest, pubs-bars-places-to-party, beaches / forests / natural wonders to see, parks & gardens to wander through, things to eat and drink / dining experiences, festivals & events to attend, stuff for kids - seniors - and such, experiences to experience, important local customs, etiquette, laws, and such.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Why visit Christmas Island? Because, it's there." - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Travel Journal Christmas Island

Good Journal

This journal is the perfect traveling companion for anyone visiting Christmas Island. Plan and record all details of your trip, includes lined and blank pages for writing your daily diary and holiday planning, with handy information tailored for travelers. Lists to help you pack, plan and set budgets are included in this journal. The perfect gift for anyone visiting Christmas Island.

21st Century Complete Guide to Kiribati and Christmas Island (Kiritimati), Tarawa - Encyclopedic Coverage, Country Profile, History, DOD, State Dept., White House, CIA Factbook (Two CD-ROM Set)

U.S. Government

Completely updated and revised for this new edition, our unique electronic book on two CD-ROMs has an amazing collection of the finest federal documents and resources about Kiribati, providing encyclopedic coverage of all aspects of the country. This disc set provides a truly fantastic reference source, with over one hundred thousand pages reproduced in Adobe Acrobat format! There is complete coverage of newsworthy material about Kiribati, including extensive USAID coverage, Peace Corps, Battle of Tarawa in World War II, Tarawa memorial, USS Tarawa, agriculture, Kiritimati (Christmas Island), and more. This incredible and comprehensive series on the countries of the world contains material from the State Department, Department of Defense, White House, and cabinet agencies including Agriculture, Energy, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There is complete information about geography, people, government, the economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. In addition to the nation-specific material, as a bonus we have included reports about every country on the globe, with 271 nations, dependent areas, and other entities identified by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA World Factbook is considered an invaluable "world encyclopedia" reference book. This incredible two CD-ROM set is packed with over 100,000 pages reproduced using Adobe Acrobat PDF software - allowing direct viewing on Windows and Macintosh systems. The Acrobat cataloging technology adds enormous value and uncommon functionality to this impressive collection of government documents and material.

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