Christmas Island – Flying Fish Cove (Image from CITA)
An Australian island territory that lies just south of Indonesia’s island of Java, Christmas Island is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. It was named after the date of its discovery, the 25th of December, in 1643.
A spectacular island that boasts glorious secluded beaches, dense rainforests, abundant wildlife, and diverse cultures, it also offers plentiful adventurous activities combined with opportunities for blissful relaxation. Amongst the world’s finest places to visit, here’s why you should add Christmas Island to your travel wish list:
Most of the island is covered with verdant rainforest, which forms a national park. Rich with wildlife, a lot of which is endemic to the area, the rainforests are terrific for hiking and exploring. Cascading waterfalls, such as the scenic Hugh’s Dale that falls onto step-like rock terraces, punctuate the rocky terrain.
A combination of sandy and rocky beaches, along with towering craggy cliffs, can be found around the island’s perimeter, although many of the beaches are difficult to access. This means, however, that if you make the effort, you can be rewarded with almost solitude on many of the beaches. Flying Fish Cove is the easiest beach to reach, along with Isabel, Lily, and Ethel Beaches, whilst more remote beaches include Winifred Beach, Dolly Beach, and West White Beach.
The southern coastline features several blowholes. Waves cause water and air inside coastal caves to be forced upwards through holes in the cave roof, resulting in powerful jets accompanying by whooshing sounds. It’s a spectacular natural phenomenon to witness.
The Grotto, close to Settlement, is a small cave with a sparkling pool inside. Take a dip in the mixture of fresh and salt waters and listen to the crashing ocean.
The Margaret Knoll Lookout is one of Christmas Island’s splendid viewpoints. Fairly easy to reach, you can soak up the stunning vistas of the land and sea.
The land and surrounding waters are home to many diverse creatures. Christmas Island is especially known for the land-dwelling red crab. If you visit at the start of the wet season you may be fortunate enough to witness the annual red crab migration, where the majority of the adult crabs march to the sea from the forest in order to mate and discharge eggs into the waters. The blue crab and the robber crab are other Christmas Island residents.
Keen ornithologists will be delighted; seabird species that live around Christmas Island’s waters include golden bosuns, brown boobies, red-footed boobies, frigatebirds, brown noddies, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare Abbott’s booby. There are plenty of land birds too, and endemic species include the Christmas Island goshawk, the Christmas Island thrush, the Christmas Island imperial pigeon, and the Christmas Island hawk owl. Australian kestrels are commonly spotted too.
Numerous insects and butterflies can be found all around the island. Lizards scuttle through the undergrowth and snakes slither across the ground. The Christmas Island flying fox is an impressive sight.
Excellent Diving and Snorkelling
Surrounded by reefs, Christmas Island is a prime destination for diving and snorkelling. Explore the underwater world, which is teeming with marine life, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The calm and sheltered waters at Ethel Beach and Flying Fish Cove are ideal for snorkelling, and you can feast your eyes on schools of vibrant tropical fish right under your nose.
Meet even more aquatic life when you go scuba diving around Christmas Island. You could encounter pods of dolphins or come face to face with a ferocious-looking but harmless whale shark. Large fish include tuna and rainbow runner, and smaller species, such as butterfly fish and surgeon fish, are sure to delight. Don’t forget your underwater camera!
In addition to snorkelling and diving, adventurous souls can enjoy a range of other exciting activities on Christmas Island. Hiking trails of varying difficulty levels can be found throughout the rainforests, with some places offering easy-to-follow boardwalks and paths. Most of the trails are well marked. Exploring caves is also fun. Fishing is growing in popularity, with large tropical fish living in the waters. Test your angling skills and you might just catch dinner! Fish include tuna, sailfish, and wahoo.
If you want to take it easy, the sandy beaches are great for sunbathing and relaxing, or you could paddle and swim in the warm waters. Golf is loved by locals and visitors alike, and the nine-hole course provides stunning views.
Practical Information for Visiting Christmas Island
Christmas Island has a tropical climate. There is little variation in the average temperature throughout the year, though there are distinct dry and wet seasons. The dry season is typically between July and November, whilst the wet season usually falls between November and May.
The currency used is the Australian dollar and the official language is English. As a territory of Australia, the visa requirements for Christmas Island are the same as for Australia. Singaporeans can, therefore, apply online for an ETA.
The island is served by Christmas Island Airport (XCH). Regular direct flights connect with various airports around mainland Australia. There are also connections with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For Singaporeans, the easiest way to access Christmas Island would likely be to transit through Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), or alternatively via Australia’s Perth Airport (PER).
For a fantastic trip filled with myriad wondrous sights and exciting activities, why not visit Christmas Island?