Christmas Island is a remote, dog-shaped tropical island located 1550 kilometers northwest of the Australian mainland and south of Java. It is an Australian external territory, also called “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”. 2/3 of the island is covered by a National Park so it is a gorgeous destination to visit for a remote feel where you are surrounded by breathtaking nature, friendly locals and unique sights. The easiest way to get here is from Jakarta, Indonesia (it only takes a 45 minute plane ride).
Now you may be wondering where Christmas Island got its name…when new territories were being discovered, it was not uncommon for territories to be named after the day they were first sighted. Christmas Island is one of those territories, named on Christmas Day, 1643 by an English sea captain.
How to get to Christmas Island
Christmas Island is part of Australia and is far removed from the standard travel and tourist track. There are flights only from Australia and Indonesia to arrive here and only three airlines service the Island, including Virgin Australia, Garuda and Malindo Air.
Since Christmas Island is an external territory of Australia, the same immigration rules apply to as they do for Australia. Therefore you will need to get a visa before your departure. You can request a visa for Australia online on websites like auvisa.org.
What to do on Christmas Island
- See the red crabs
To see the annual crab migration on Christmas Island is an incredible experience. It is said to a be a ‘natural wonder’ as 60 million red land crabs make their way to the coast.. and it is something you can only see on Christmas Island. It is one of the main yearly attractions on Christmas Island and generally happens in October or November.
- Diving and snorkeling
Diving and snorkeling are popular activities on the island, as it has over 60 dive sites and clear warm waters all year long. You can see over 575 species of tropical fish and experience the underwater world unique to the Christmas Island area.
- Boulder Track
To get to the center of Christmas Island National Park, take the Boulder Track for a walk and incredible viewpoints.
- Accommodation options
There are various types of accommodation you can find on Christmas Island. Flying Fish Cove is the largest settlement in the region with approximately 1600 inhabitants (about a third of the population on the island). It is here that you
Swell Lodge is a secluded eco-chalet with stunning views as it has the forest on one side and the ocean on the other.
- Bird Watching
On Christmas Island you can see a number of beautiful and rare birds, including golden bosuns, frigatebirds, red and brown-footed boobies and more. If you are already a bird lover, each September there is the Bird’n’Nature Week hosted on the island that is a major draw for people from all around the world. Margaret Knoll is another great spot for bird watching.
Other helpful information for Christmas Island
- How to get around the island
The best (and really) only way to get around Christmas Island is by car since so much of the island is covered by the Christmas Island National Park. You can rent a car from the airport where you will land. There is also no public transportation, but this just adds to the charm of visiting a remote place.
The Aussie Dollar is the local currency on Christmas Island and cash is very much so appreciated here.
- Where to Eat
There are a few lovely bistros and cafes spread around the island, however keep in mind that this is a remote place and fresh fruit and vegetables come with a price. Our advice is to pack some things along with you, especially if you are a foodie and can not live without your favorite snacks for a few days.