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Christmas Island

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Island nations : Islands of the Indian Ocean : Christmas Island
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Christmas Island

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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.
Quick Facts
Capital The Settlement
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)
Internet TLD .cx
Time Zone UTC +7

Christmas Island [2] is one of the islands of the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia and some distance northwest of Australia, of which is it a territory.


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

  • Settlement
  • Kampong
  • Silver City
  • Poon Saan
  • Drumsite

Other destinations


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the creation of a commercial space-launching site on the island, which now looks unlikely to proceed after funding was withdrawn.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.

Get in

By plane

There are twice weekly flights from Perth, Australia with National Jet Systems [3], who also offer a connecting flight to the Cocos Islands. Fare is A$840 one way/1,680 return with advance purchase return tickets available for $1,098.

Australian Indian Ocean Territories Airlines [4] offer the only international flight on a chartered Malaysia Airlines aircraft from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore every Saturday.

Virgin Blue [5] will commence services from Thursday 1 April 2010 with twice weekly flights to Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island and an additional third weekly flight to Christmas Island only which will be reassessed after six months, subject to demand. This service will be underwritten by the Federal Government.

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.


  • 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 are in English.

01946 64878 call me ma name is sam robson ive got a magget!


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


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
  • Sunset
  • VQ3 Lodge

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


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 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 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.

Stay healthy

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.


  • Christmas Island Tourism Association, PO Box 63, Christmas Island, Western Australia 6798, +61 8 9164 8382 (), [1].

Get out

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

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!