Island nations : Islands of the Indian Ocean : Christmas Island
- This article is about the Indian Ocean territory of Australia named Christmas Island. For the island of the same name also known as Kiritimati in the Line Islands of the Pacific Ocean, see Kiribati.
|Government||territory of Australia|
|Currency||Australian dollar (AUD)|
|Area||135 sq km|
|Population||1,493 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||English (official), Chinese, Malay|
|Religion||Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21%|
|Country code||+61 (Australia)|
|Time Zone||UTC +7|
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
- Silver City
- Poon Saan
- Cocos Keeling Island (Closest land to 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the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, which now looks unlikely to proceed after funding was withdrawn.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.
Island Explorer Holidays Manager: Angela Turner
Phone: Australia Toll Free: 1300 884 855 International: + 61 8 9322 9561 Fax: 08 9 321 5433 Email: [email protected]
Address: Suite 16 / 102 Railway Parade, corner of Plaistow Lane City West Complex, West Perth 6005
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.
- Lily Beach
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 freak waves have known to swamp 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):
- Dolly Beach
An isolated beach, 1 hour drive by 4 Wheel Drive over rock step road, and then another 45 minutes trek downhill, however it's 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 are lined with overhanging coconut trees, 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 availability of drinkable freshwater from the stream and 'exotic secluded beach paradise' ambiance.
Dolly beach is also a favorite nesting locations for endangered sea turtles, is it 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 make their way back to the sea. Witnessing this event is magically and memorable.
- Margaret Knoll
- Nursery Lookout
- Flying Fish Cove
- Administrators House known locally as "Buck House"
- Historical World War 2 Artillery Bunker past the Buck House
- South Point
- Greta Beach
- Freshwater Caves
- West White Beaches
- Ethel Beach
- 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
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.
- Acker Trading
Gas refills Open :9am - 11am Monday to Friday. Phone :9164 7575 Email :[email protected]
- Christmas Island Post Office
Australian Postal Services, Commonwealth Bank Agency, Stationery, Philatelic Passport Photos, Souvenirs. Contact Michelle or Carolyn Phone :+ 61 8 9164 8495 Email :[email protected]
- Christmas Island Supermarket
Gaze Road, Settlement - Usual Supermarket lines / groceries, fresh bread, fruit and vegtables, wine, beer and spirts. Open :Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm, Saturday 9 am - 1 pm. Phone :Eddie Tan on + 61 8 9164 8370 Fax :+ 61 8 9164 8374 Mobile :043 921 5370 Email :[email protected]
- Christmas Island Visitor Information Centre - Gift Shop
Run by the Christmas Island Tourism Association located at the Visitor Information Centre, Gaze Road, Settlement. A range of souvenirs from Australia and Christmas Island, local craft, T-shirts, Christmas Island Books, posters, maps and videos, jewellery, pottery, postcards and much, much more. To contact the Visitor Information Centre: Phone :+ 61 (0)8 9164 8382 Email :Christmas Island Tourism Association
Australian standard Diesel Automotive fuel and unleaded petrol: 2 stroke mix out board 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: Phone :+ 61 8 9164 8313 Email :[email protected]
- Gold N Things Duty Free
Cosmetics, perfumes, watches, jewellery, sunglasses, leather goods, top shelf liquor, giftware Phone :+ 61 8 9164 8215 Email :[email protected] Website :www.goldnthingsdutyfree.com.au
- Island Pharmacy And News
Dispersing of prescriptions and supply of vitamins, pharmaceuticals, toiletries, make-up, first aid items, suncare and sunglasses. Open :Mon to Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm and Saturday 9:00am - 12 noon. Phone :+ 61 8 9164 8337 Email :[email protected]
- 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 :Mon, Tue, Wed 10:00am - 3:00pm, Thu, Fri 10:00am - 6:00pm, Sat 9:00am - 12:30pm Ph / Fax :+ 61 8 9164 8184
- Lucky Lukes
Range of clothing and unique giftware from around the world. Open :Mon - Fri 9am till 5 pm and Sat 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 (0)8 9164 7176 Email :[email protected]
- 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 :[email protected]
- Westpac Bank
All your banking or money changing needs. Open :9am - 3pm Monday to Friday 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 :Tuesday - Friday 11am - 5 pm; Saturday 9am - 12 pm Ph / Fax :+ 61 8 9164 8882 Email :[email protected]
Listing referenced from Christmas Island Tourism Association website http://Christmas.net.au
There are several restaurants on Christmas Island serving Western and Asian cuisine.
- Lucky Ho Restaurant, Lot 236 Poon Saan Rd, ☎ (08) 9164 8813. excellent value
- 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 & 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
List referenced from Christmas Island Tourism Association website http://www.christmas.net.au/
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, ☎ 0891647667. Fantstic ocean view restaraunt and bar, open thursday-monday 4p.m.
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:
- The Cabin
- Captain's Last Resort
- Christmas Island Lodge
- Hibiscus House
- Mango Tree Lodge
- The Retreat
- Rumah Biru Cottage
- The Sanctuary
- Sea Gazin
- VQ3 Lodge
For further details, bookings or enquiries visit the Christmas Island Tourism 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 Dales and Blow Holes National Park areas. 4 Wheel driving experience 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.
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.
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