Island nations : Islands of the Indian Ocean : Cocos Islands
The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands (or simply Cocos Islands or Keeling Islands) is in the middle of the Indian Ocean some 2750km north-west of Perth, and 900km west south-west of Christmas Island.
For information on Cocos Island a nationally protected jungle-covered island and national park, 300m off the coast of Costa Rica. please see Cocos Island National Park.
Passenger ferries run to Direction Island every Saturday.
There are several uninhabited islands.
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean some 2750km north-west of Perth, and 900km west south-west of Christmas Island, its closest neighbour. Cocos lies approximately 12° south and 96.5° east, locating the islands in the humid tropical zone.
There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William Keeling discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. Annexed by the UK in 1857, they were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
Grown throughout the islands, coconuts are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
Cocos experiences two main seasons which tend to overlap: the trade wind season from April / May to September / October and the calmer doldrum season from November through to April. Expect higher rainfall during March through to July. January through to August, may also generate the occasional low pressure system (usually between February and April). However these systems do not normally interfere with holiday plans. Rain usually falls in the evenings, bringing glorious sunny days! The average annual rainfall is 2000mm! Temperatures are fairly consistent no matter what the season, remaining around a comfortable 29°C with a minimum evening temperature rarely dropping below 20°C.
Flat, low-lying coral atolls, thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation.
Monday: 0800 to 1700 Tuesday - Thursday: 0800 - 1430 Friday: 0800 - 1600 Saturday (early flight): 1300 - 1600 Saturday (late flight): 1400 - 1700 Sunday & Public Holidays: Closed
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Tourism Association Inc. PO Box 1030 Cocos (Keeling) Islands Indian Ocean WA 6799 Ph: +61 8 9162 6790 Fax: +61 8 9162 6696 [email protected]
There are no harbours.
A local bus service from West Island Settlement to the jetty operates approximately 20 minutes prior to the departure of the ferry to Home Island. On Saturday the ferry diverts to Direction Island to allow tourists and locals access to this remote paradise. The ferry returns in the afternoon to return you to West Island. Timetables are available from the Tourism office or the Duty Free Shop.
Take cultural tours with some of the local tour operators or guide yourself around the islands to explore why they call the Cocos Islands a "nature and water lover's paradise".
During the year, as well as the traditional events such as Easter, New Year, Christmas etc, Cocos hosts a number of unique events. These include the annual Lagoon swim, where competitors swim from Home Island across the lagoon to West Island. Individuals or teams may enter and whether you are a serious contender or wish to join in with the Hash House Harriers (who always seem to get themselves disqualified for one thing or another), everyone has a load of fun. It finishes in the evening with dinner and presentations to the winners and boat drivers.
Other unique events are the mid-year Cocos Ball, quiz nights, Music & Wine festival, Ardmona Cup and Cocos Olympics. All visitors are encouraged to join in with these festivities and activities. Exact dates vary from year to year. Please check with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Tourism Association before booking for particular events.
Don't forget visitors to the Island are also welcome to participate in the School Fete, Sports Carnival and concert events.
There are two restaurants on Cocos. The Tropika Restaurant is on West Island, whilst Bunga Melati is on Home Island.
Malay cuisine is a selection of rice, noodles, curry and chilli, featuring chicken, beef, lamb and seafood dishes. Food is prepared to be flavoursome and not particularly hot, unless requested. The Tropika caters to western style meals with a selection of meats, vegetables and salads available from the bistro. In the case of all three restaurants, meals are reasonably priced and rarely exceed AUD20.00 per person.
Don't want to eat at a restaurant? Usually, every third Friday, the different social clubs of Cocos prepare a "food night" at the Cocos Club. Excellently priced meals are offered along with raffles and good natured fun. Come along, share a meal. The Cocos Club also offers visitors a great venue to get to know the locals and join in with any activity that is happening.
This 28 room motel is centrally located right in the middle of town, right on the beach and only across the road from the Cocos Club, airport and a short walk to the supermarket. Many of the rooms have direct views to the Indian Ocean. Ideally suited to couples, singles or twin. Private ensuite and air conditioned. Three family rooms are available. On site restaurant: The Tropika.
Cyclone season is October to April.
Fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs.