Island nations : Islands of the Indian Ocean : Christmas Island
Christmas Island rises to a central plateau of stands of rainforest. Its 80km 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.
Settled Areas on Christmas Island
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 UK transferred sovereignty 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the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, which now looks unlikely to proceed after funding was withdrawn.
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.
Twice weekly flights from Perth, Australia with National Jet Systems, who also offer a connecting flight to the Cocos Islands. Oneway/return is A$840/$1680, with advance purchase returns available for $1098.
There is no passenger chartered boat services to Christmas Island, however Flying Fish Cove are frequented by yachts and cruise ships as a stop off.
The Dales comprises of numerous freshwater streams running roughly parallel to each other. The stream source originate from underground caves 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, vistors are often fond of taking showers under the waterfall.
The Dales are located in lush tropical rainforest and is well known for it's unique fauna, such as the Blue Crab and Blind Snake and flora such as giant buttrest root trees.
The Dales areas have signage and raised walkways/steps installed by National Parks for vistors and tourists.
Located in the national park at the south west portion of the island. The Dales can only be reach via 4-Wheels Drive and treking by foot.
Tragically named after a girl which was swept off the rocks at the beach never to be found. The beach comprises of a sandy area running down to a bathing pool, the pool is seperated 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 pass the bathing pool on to the rocky outcrops, as large waves have known pass over the rocky outcrops. Least you meet the same fate as Lily!
Located in the 'snout of the dog' eastern part of the island, this beach can be access by normal 2 wheel drive vehicles when road conditions are dry and only 4 Wheel Drive when roads are wet.
Wooden pagola and BBQ facilities are avaliable.
A geological feature located along the steep limestones cliffs along the southern coastline of the island, the Blowholes comprises of 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. Distinctive sound of gushing air can heard from the holes when the waves crash onto the cliffs.
Other Places (More details to be added):
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 are in English.
The Island has "duty free" status, and shop prices for perfume and alcohol are very low compared to the Australian mainland.
There are several restaurants on Christmas Island serving Western and Asian cuisine.
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 Huge range of burgers, rolls, sandwiches, delicious meals and fresh salads, Fresh coffee and cakes BYO - Eat in or Take away Open :6 days 7:30am - 1:30pm (closed Sunday) Phone :+ 61 8 9164 7688
RUMAH TINGGI TAVERN AND 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 - 9 pm. 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:
Seven possibilities for accommodation exist on the island, five of which are in the main settlement. Of the other two, 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:
For further details, bookings or enquiries visit the Christmas Island Tourist Association website on http://www.christmas.net.au/accommodation.php
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.
The island is safe all times of the day in the populated areas, locals usually leave their houses and car unlocked. There is 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 sighting 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 sharks 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 National Park areas.
It is recommended that you bring a local or get local advice before heading off to any unpopulated national parks areas.
Wear loose fitting clothing suitable for humid tropical climates. A hat and suncream is recommended if you're intending to be under the sun at the beach or fishing.
Bring water with you, as in a humid environment 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 by locals when driving.