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Territory of Christmas Island
Flag
AnthemAdvance Australia Fair
Capital
(and largest city)
Flying Fish Cove ("The Settlement")
Official language(s) English (de facto)
Ethnic groups  70% Chinese, 20% European, 10% Malay
Demonym Christmas Islanders
Government Federal constitutional monarchy
 -  Queen of Australia Elizabeth II
 -  Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Quentin Bryce
 -  Administrator Brian Lacy
 -  Shire President Gordon Thompson
Territory of Australia
 -  Sovereignty
transferred to Australia

1957 
Area
 -  Total 135 km2 
52 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0
Population
 -  2009 estimate 1,402[1] (n/a)
 -  Density 10.39/km2 (n/a)
26.96/sq mi
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Time zone (UTC+7)
Internet TLD .cx
Calling code 61

The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is located 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, 500 km (310 mi) south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and 975 km (606 mi) ENE of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

It has a population of 1,403 residents who live in a number of "settlement areas" on the northern tip of the island: Flying Fish Cove (also known as Kampong), Silver City, Poon Saan, and Drumsite.

The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism amongst its flora and fauna, which is of significant interest to scientists and naturalists.[2]

Phosphate, deposited as guano, has been mined on the island for many years. 63% of its 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is an Australian national park. There exist large areas of primary rainforest.

Contents

History

Discovery

British and Dutch navigators first included the island on their charts in the early 17th century. Captain William Mynors of the Royal Mary, a British East India Company vessel, named the island when he sailed past it on Christmas Day in 1643.[3] A map by Pieter Goos, published in 1666, was the first to include the island. Goos labelled the island "Mony"; many are not sure what this means.[4]

William Dampier, aboard the British ship Cygnet, made the earliest recorded visit to the island in March 1688. He found it uninhabited.[5] Dampier gave an account of the visit can be found in his Voyages:[citation needed] Dampier was trying to reach Cocos from New Holland. His ship was pulled off course in an easterly direction, arriving at Christmas Island 28 days later. Dampier landed at the Dales (on the west coast). Two of his crewmen were the first humans known to have set foot on Christmas Island.

Daniel Beekman made the next recorded visit, chronicled in his 1718 book, A Voyage to and from the Island of Borneo, in the East Indies.

Exploration and annexation

Poon Saan in the evening
Poon Saan shops

The first attempt at exploring the island was in 1857 by the crew of the Amethyst. They tried to reach the summit of the island, but found the cliffs impassable.

During the 1872-76 Challenger expedition to Indonesia, naturalist Dr John Murray carried out extensive surveys.[6]

In 1887, Captain Maclear of HMS Flying Fish, having discovered an anchorage in a bay that he named Flying Fish Cove, landed a party and made a small but interesting collection of the flora and fauna. In the next year, Pelham Aldrich, on board HMS Egeria, visited it for ten days, accompanied by J. J. Lister, who gathered a larger biological and mineralogical collection.

Among the rocks then obtained and submitted to Sir John Murray for examination were many of nearly pure phosphate of lime, a discovery which led to annexation of the island by the British Crown on 6 June 1888.[6]

Settlement and exploitation

Soon afterwards, a small settlement was established in Flying Fish Cove by G. Clunies Ross, the owner of the Keeling Islands (some 900 kilometres to the south west) to collect timber and supplies for the growing industry on Cocos.

Phosphate mining began in the 1890s using indentured workers from Singapore, Malaya and China.

The island was administered jointly by the British Phosphate Commissioners and District Officers from the United Kingdom Colonial Office through the Straits Settlements, and later the Crown Colony of Singapore.

Japanese invasion

From the outbreak of war in South East Asia in December 1941, Christmas Island was a target for Japanese occupation because of its rich phosphate deposits. A naval gun was installed under a British officer and four NCOs supported by Indian soldiers. The first attack, on 21 January 1942, was carried out by the Japanese submarine I-159, that torpedoed a Norwegian vessel, the Eidsvold, which was loading phosphate in Flying Fish Cove. The vessel drifted and eventually sank off West White Beach. 50 European and Asian staff and their families were evacuated to Perth. In late February and early March 1942, two aerial bombing raids and shelling from the sea led the District Officer to hoist the white flag. After the Japanese naval group sailed away the British officer raised the Union Jack once more. During the night of 10-11 March a mutiny of the Indian troops, abetted by the Sikh policemen, led to the murder of the five British soldiers and the imprisonment of the remaining 21 Europeans. On 31 March a Japanese fleet of 9 vessels arrived and the Island was surrendered. A naval brigade, phosphate engineers, and 700 marines came ashore and rounded up the workforce, most of whom had fled to the jungle. Sabotaged equipment was repaired and preparations were made to resume the mining and export of phosphate.

Isolated acts of sabotage and the torpedoing of the Nissei Maru at the wharf on 17 November 1942 meant that only small amounts of phosphate were exported to Japan during the occupation. In November 1943, over 60% of the Island's population was evacuated to Surabayan prison camps, leaving of total population of just under 500 Chinese and Malays and 15 Japanese to survive as best they could. In October 1945 HMS Rother reoccupied Christmas Island.

[7] [8] [9] [10]

Transfer to Australia

At Australia's request, the United Kingdom transferred sovereignty to Australia; in 1957, the Australian government paid the government of Singapore £2.9 million in compensation, a figure based mainly on an estimated value of the phosphate forgone by Singapore.

The first Australian Official Representative arrived in 1958 and was replaced by an Administrator in 1968. Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands together are called the Australian Indian Ocean Territories and since 1997 share a single Administrator resident on Christmas Island.

Refugee and immigration detention

From the late 1980s and early 1990s, boats carrying asylum seekers and mainly departing from Indonesia landed on the island. During 2001, a large number of mostly Middle Eastern persons landed with the intent to apply for asylum in Australia.

In 2001, Christmas Island was the site of the so-called "Tampa" controversy, in which the Australian government stopped a Norwegian ship, MV Tampa, from disembarking 438 rescued asylum seekers at Christmas Island. The ensuing standoff and the associated political reactions in Australia were a major issue in the 2001 Australian federal election.

Another boatload of asylum seekers was taken from Christmas Island to Papua New Guinea for processing, after it was claimed that many of the adult asylum seekers threw their children into the water, apparently in protest at being turned away. This was later proven to be false. Many of the refugees were subsequently accepted by New Zealand.

The former Howard Government later secured the passage of legislation through the Australian Parliament which excised Christmas Island from Australia's migration zone, meaning that asylum seekers arriving on Christmas Island could not automatically apply to the Australian government for refugee status. This allowed the Royal Australian Navy to relocate them to other countries (Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, and Nauru) as part of the so-called Pacific Solution. In 2007 the Department of Immigration finished construction of an "Immigration Detention Centre", containing approximately 800 beds. Originally estimated to cost $210 million, the final cost was over $400 million.[11]

In 2007, the Rudd Government announced plans to decommission the Manus Island and Nauru centres; processing would then occur on Christmas Island itself.[12]

Demographics

As of 2006, the estimated population is 1,493. (The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports a population of 1,508 as of the 2001 Census.)

The ethnic composition is 70% Chinese (mainly Hokkien), 20% European and 10% Malay. Religions practised on Christmas Island include Buddhism 75%, Christianity 12%, Islam 10% and others 3%. English is the official language, but Hokkien and Malay are also spoken. English, Malay and Hokkien are lingua franca.

Postage stamps

A postal agency was opened on the island in 1901 and sold stamps of the Strait Settlements.[13]

After the Japanese Occupation (1942–1945), postage stamps of the British Military Administration in Malaya were in use, then stamps of Singapore.[14]

In 1958, the island received its own postage stamps after being put under Australian custody. It had a large philatelic and postal independence, managed first by the Phosphate Commission (1958–1969) and then by the Island's Administration (1969–1993).[13] This ended on 2 March 1993 when Australia Post became the island's postal operator: stamps of Christmas Island can be used in Australia and Australian stamps in the island.[14]

Government

Christmas Island is a non-self governing territory of Australia, currently administered by the Attorney-General's Department[15] Administration was carried out by the Department of Transport and Regional Services before 29 November 2007[16]. The legal system is under the authority of the Governor-General of Australia and Australian law. An Administrator appointed by the Governor-General represents the monarch and Australia.

The Australian Government provides Commonwealth-level government services through the Christmas Island Administration and the Department of Infrastructure. There is no state government; instead, state government type services are provided by contractors, including departments of the Western Australian Government, with the costs met by the Australian (Commonwealth) Government. A unicameral Shire of Christmas Island with 9 seats provides local government services and is elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. Elections are held every two years, with half the members standing for election.

Christmas Island residents who are Australian citizens also vote in Commonwealth (federal) elections. Christmas Island residents are represented in the House of Representatives through the Northern Territory Division of Lingiari and in the Senate by Northern Territory Senators.

In early 1986, the Christmas Island Assembly held a design competition for an island flag; the winning design was adopted as the informal flag of the territory for over a decade, and in 2002 it was made the official flag of Christmas Island.

Economy

Phosphate mining had been the only significant economic activity, but in December 1987 the Australian Government closed the mine. In 1991, the mine was reopened by a consortium which included many of the former mine workers as shareholders. With the support of the government, a $34 million casino opened in 1993, but was closed in 1998 and has not re-opened. The Australian Government in 2001 agreed to support the creation of a commercial spaceport on the island, however this has not yet been constructed, and appears that it will not proceed in the future. The Howard Government built a temporary immigration detention centre on the island in 2001 and planned to replace it with a larger, modern facility located at North West Point until Howard's defeat in the 2007 elections.

Geography

Christmas Island

Located at 10°30′S 105°40′E / 10.5°S 105.667°E / -10.5; 105.667, the island is a quadrilateral with hollowed sides, about 19 kilometres (12 mi) in greatest length and 14.5 km (9.0 mi) in extreme breadth. The total land area is 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi), with 138.9 km (86.3 mi) of coastline. The island is the flat summit of a submarine mountain more than 4,500 metres (14,800 ft),[17] the depth of the platform from which it rises being about 4,200 m (13,800 ft) and its height above the sea being upwards of 300 m (980 ft).[18] The mountain was originally a volcano, and some basalt is exposed in places such as The Dales and Dolly Beach, but most of the surface rock is limestone accumulated from the growth of coral over millions of years.[19]

The climate is tropical, with heat and humidity moderated by trade winds. Steep cliffs along much of the coast rise abruptly to a central plateau. Elevation ranges from sea level to 361 m (1,184 ft) at Murray Hill. The island is mainly tropical rainforest, of which 63% is National Park.

The narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard.

Christmas Island is 500 km (310 mi) south of Indonesia and about 2,600 km (1,600 mi) northwest of Perth.

Flora and fauna

Christmas Island is of immense scientific value as it was uninhabited until the late nineteenth century, so many unique species of fauna and flora exist which have evolved independently of human interference. Two species of native rats, the Maclear's and Bulldog Rat, have gone extinct since the island was settled. The endemic shrew has not been seen since the mid 1980s and may be already extinct, and the Christmas Island Pipistrelle, a small bat, is critically endangered and possibly also extinct. Two-thirds of the island has been declared a National Park which is managed by the Australian Department of Environment and Heritage through Parks Australia[20].

The dense rainforest has evolved in the deep soils of the plateau and on the terraces. The forests are dominated by twenty-five tree species. Ferns, orchids and vines grow on the branches in the humid atmosphere beneath the canopy. The 135 plant species include sixteen which are found only on Christmas Island.

The annual red crab mass migration (around 100 million animals) to the sea to spawn has been called one of the wonders of the natural world[21] and takes place each year around November; after the start of the wet season and in synchronisation with the cycle of the moon.

The land crabs and sea birds are the most noticeable animals on the island. Twenty terrestrial and intertidal species of crab (of which thirteen are regarded as true land crabs, only dependent on the ocean for larval development) have been described. Robber crabs, known elsewhere as coconut crabs, also exist in large numbers on the island.

Christmas Island is a focal point for sea birds of various species. Eight species or subspecies of sea birds nest on the island. The most numerous is the Red-footed Booby that nests in colonies, in trees, on many parts of the shore terrace. The widespread Brown Booby nests on the ground near the edge of the seacliff and inland cliffs. Abbott's Booby (listed as endangered) nests on tall emergent trees of the western, northern and southern plateau rainforest. The Christmas Island forest is the only nesting habitat of the Abbott's Booby left in the world. The endemic Christmas Island Frigatebird (listed as endangered) has nesting areas on the north-eastern shore terraces and the more widespread. Great Frigatebirds nest in semi-deciduous trees on the shore terrace with the greatest concentrations being in the North West and South Point areas. The Common Noddy and two species of bosuns or tropicbirds, with their brilliant gold or silver plumage and distinctive streamer tail feathers, also nest on the island.

Of the ten native land birds and shorebirds, seven are endemic species or subspecies. This includes the Christmas Island Thrush, and the Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon. Some 86 migrant bird species have been recorded as visitors to the Island.

Communications and transportation

Telecommunications

Telephone services are provided by Telstra and are a part of the Australian network with the same prefix as Western Australia (08). A GSM mobile telephone system replaced the old analogue network in February 2005. Four free-to-air television stations from Australia are broadcast (ABC, SBS, GWN and WIN) in the same time-zone as Perth. Radio broadcasts from Australia include ABC Radio National, ABC Regional radio and Red FM. All services are provided by satellite links from the mainland. Broadband internet became available to subscribers in urban areas in mid 2005 through the local internet service provider, CIIA (formerly dotCX).

Christmas Island, due to its close proximity to Australia's northern neighbours, falls within many of the more 'interesting' satellite footprints throughout the region. This results in ideal conditions for receiving various Asian broadcasts which locals sometimes prefer to the West Australian provided content. Additionally, ionospheric conditions usually bode well for many of the more terrestrial radio transmissions - HF right up through VHF and sometimes in to UHF. The island plays home to a small array of radio equipment that, evidently, spans a good chunk of the usable spectrum. A variety of government owned and operated antenna systems are employed on the island to take advantage of this.

Container port

A container port exists at Flying Fish Cove with an alternative container unloading point to the south of the island at Norris Point for use during the December to March 'swell season" of seasonal rough seas.

Railways

An 18 km standard gauge railway from Flying Fish Cove to the phosphate mine was constructed in 1914. It was closed in December 1987, when the Australian Government closed the mine, but remains largely intact. Because of its very small population size, Christmas Island has the longest railway per capita in the world, more than 100 times of the average length [22] .

Air travel

There are three weekly flights into Christmas Island Airport from Perth, Western Australia (via RAAF Learmonth) and a weekly charter flight from Malaysia operated by Malaysia Airlines on Saturdays.

Road transport

There is a new recreation centre at Phosphate Hill operated by the Shire of Christmas Island. There is also a taxi service. The road network covers most of the island and is generally good quality, although four wheel drive vehicles are needed to access some more distant parts of the rain forest or the more isolated beaches, which are only accessible by rough dirt roads.

Education

Christmas Island District High School is located on the island.

The island-operated crèche is located in the Recreation Centre.[23]

The island includes one public library.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ Christmas Island entry at The World Factbook, The World Factbook, CIA. Accessed 14 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Save Christmas Island - Introduction". The Wilderness Society. 2002-09-19. http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/marine/christmas_island/save_ci/. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  3. ^ "Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts - Christmas Island History". Australian Government. 2008-07-08. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/christmas/culture-history/island-history.html. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  4. ^ "Digital Collections - Maps - Goos, Pieter, ca. 1616-1675. Paskaerte Zynde t'Oosterdeel Van Oost Indien (cartographic material) : met alle de Eylanden deer ontrendt geleegen van C. Comorin tot aen Iapan". National Library of Australia. http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.map-nk1574-sd&rgn=0.5309855310%2C0.5141004862%2C0.6401856402%2C0.6437601297&cmd=zoomin&width=400&x=200&y=199. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  5. ^ Carney, Gerard (2006). The constitutional systems of the Australian states and territories. Cambridge University Press. p. 477. ISBN 0521863058. "The uninhabited island was named on Christmas Day 1643 by Captain William Mynors as he sailed past, leaving to William Dampier the honour of first landing ashore in 1688." 
  6. ^ a b "History". Welcome to Christmas Island. Christmas Island Tourism Association. http://www.christmas.net.au/history.php. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  7. ^ Public Record Office, England War Office and Colonial Office Correspondence/Straits Settlements
  8. ^ J. Pettigrew: 'Christmas Island in World War II ' Australian Territories January 1962
  9. ^ Interviews conduced by J G Hunt with Island residents, 1973-77
  10. ^ Correspondence J G Hunt with former Island residents, 1973-79
  11. ^ "Detention on Christmas Island". Amnesty International. 10 March 2009. http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/20442/. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  12. ^ "Public release of costing". electioncostings.gov.au. 15 November 2007. http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.electioncostings.gov.au%2F__data%2Fassets%2Ffile%2F0007%2F64519%2FALP032_Public_Release_of_Costing_-_Savings_for_Labors_Better_Priorities_-_Close_Nauru_and_Manus_Island_detention_centres.rtf&ei=RbnzSe-mJ4S8tgO4u93zCg&usg=AFQjCNFosUBX9_Tb45GmYjopv4hufA5cuA&sig2=_0Lp0-EyWjC6jlgPc4-2Mg. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  13. ^ a b Richard Breckon, "Christmas Island's Stamps and Postal History: 50 Years of Australian Administration", Gibbons Stamp Monthly, October 2008, pp. 81–85.
  14. ^ a b Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue Australia, Stanley Gibbons, 4th edition, 2007, pp. 104–112.
  15. ^ First Assistant Secretary, Territories Division (2008-01-30). "Territories of Australia". Attorney-General's Department. http://www.ag.gov.au/territories. Retrieved 2008-02-07. "The Federal Government, through the Attorney-General's Department administers Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Jervis Bay, and Norfolk Island as Territories." 
  16. ^ Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. "Territories of Australia". http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/index.aspx. Retrieved 2008-02-07. "As part of the Machinery of Government Changes following the Federal Election on 29 November 2007, administrative responsibility for Territories has been transferred to the Attorney General's Department." 
  17. ^ "Submission on Development Potential No. 37". Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce. 16 August 2007. http://www.nalwt.gov.au/files/no-37-thomas.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  18. ^ "Christmas island". World Factbook. CIA. 23 April 2009. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kt.html. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  19. ^ Physical Characteristics, Christmas Island National Park, Parks Australia. Accessed 2007-05-13.
  20. ^ Parks Australia
  21. ^ Geoscience Australia on Christmas Island
  22. ^ "(Railways) Total (per capita) (most recent) by country". http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/tra_rai_tot_percap-transportation-railways-total-per-capita. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  23. ^ http://shire.gov.cx/Recreation_Centre/crechemain.html
  24. ^ http://shire.gov.cx/Community_Services/library.html

Further reading

  • CIA World Factbook 2002
  • Charles. W. Andrews, A Description of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). Geographical Journal, 13(1), 17–35 (1899).
  • Charles W. Andrews, A Monograph of Christmas Island, London,1900.
  • National Library of Australia, The Indian Ocean: a select bibliography. 1979 ISBN 0-642-99150-2
  • W. J. L. Wharton, Account of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, 10 (10), 613–624 (1888).

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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.
Flag
Image:kt-flag.png
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%
Calling Code +61 (Australia)
Internet TLD .cx
Time Zone UTC +7

Christmas Island [1] is one of the islands of the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia and some distance northwest of Australia, of which is it a territory.

Regions

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.

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

Understand

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.

Climate

Tropical; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds.

Landscape

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 [2], who also offer a connecting flight to the Cocos Islands. Fare is A$840 one way/1,680 retuirn with advance purchase return tickets available for $1,098.

Australian Indian Ocean Territories Airlines [3] offer the only international flight on a chartered Malaysia Airlines aircraft from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore every Saturday.

Virgin Blue [4] 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.

  • Dales

The Dales comprises of numerous freshwater streams running roughly parallel to each other. The streams originate from underground caves and 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 which is known for its unique fauna, such as the blue crab and blind snake and flora such as giant buttrest root trees.

The Dales area has signage and raised walkways/steps installed by the national parks departmant for visitors.

Located in the national park at the south west portion of the island. The Dales can only be reach via 4WD and trekking 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 past the bathing pool on to the rocky outcrops, as large freak waves have known to swamp the rocky outcrops. Lest you meet the same fate as Lily!

Located in the 'snout of the dog' eastern part of the island, this beach can be accessed by normal 2 wheel drive vehicles when road conditions are dry and only with a 4WD when roads are wet.

Wooden pergola and BBQ facilities are avaliable.

  • Blowholes

A geological feature located along the steep limestones cliffs along the southern coastline of the island, the Blowholes comprise 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.

  • Dolly Beach

An isolated beach, 1 hour drive by 4WD over rocky step tracks and then another 45 minutes trek on foot downhill. 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. The turtles if startled prior to laying their eggs, will return back to the sea. It is recommended you do not shine any torch light in their eyes or make loud noise. Disturbing the turtles or poaching the eggs are illegal.

Other Places (More details to be added):

  • 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
  • Grotto
  • West White Beaches
  • 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.

Talk

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.

Buy

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 :acker@pulau.cx

  • 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 :cipost@cipost.cx

  • 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 :et_cismk@pulau.cx

  • 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

  • Gaseng

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 :tmackie@gaseng.com.au

  • Gold N Things Duty Free

Cosmetics, perfumes, watches, jewellery, sunglasses, leather goods, top shelf liquor, giftware Phone :+ 61 8 9164 8215 Email :sue@goldnthingsdutyfree.com.au 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 :cipharm@pulau.cx

  • 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 :redcrab@pulau.cx

  • 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 :shorefirefishing@bigpond.com.au

  • 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 :wildpapaya@xiv.cx

Listing referenced from Christmas Island Tourism Association website http://Christmas.net.au

Eat

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  edit
  • 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/

Drink

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.  edit

Sleep

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 http://www.christmas.net.au/accommodation.php

Learn

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.

Work

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.

Stay safe

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.

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.

Respect

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 (), [5].  edit

Get out

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

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!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Christmas Island

Plural
-

Christmas Island

  1. non self-governing territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean.
  2. Alternative name for Kiritimati, an island of Kiribati

Translations








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