Though Christmas Island earned its name accidentally when William Mynors, the captain of the Royal Mary vessel under the English East India Company, sailed past it on December 25, 1643, it is a name deserved by this jewel of an island in the Indian Ocean.
The Island is geographically closer to Java in Asia, but, it is within the Australian Territory in the Indian Ocean. Parks Australia described it as “An Indian Ocean jewel – majestic rainforests, stunning marine life and a birdwatcher’s paradise.” It is a paradise for naturalists’ with the unique habitats that harbor a lot of unique wildlife, including the red crab. Watching about 50 million crabs during the spring-summer migration surge out of the rainforest to spawn in the coastal waters can be the highlight of your notable experiences,
The Main Attractions
Main Attractions (Wonder Mondo, )
- Biological diversity: A significant “part of the island still is covered with primary monsoon forest.” It is home to a number of rare and endemic species of flora and fauna.
- Features of karst processes: The “island contains interesting caves and springs.”
Most Fascinating Landmarks
- Christmas Island subtropical forest and red crabs: A subtropical forest covers almost the entire island, which is dominated by the endemic crab species (Gecarcoidea natalis Pocock), estimated to be somewhere between 50 to 100 million. Their migration to the sea offers a natural spectacle unique to this island.
- Hosnies Spring mangroves: These old growths rise 24 to 37 meters above the sea level in the eastern part of the island are estimated to be about120,000 years old. The mangrove forest has attained this climax development because the environment has remained pristine throughout the years. In addition to the seawater, these were fed bywaters from the nearby springs.
- The Dales: There are seven deep valleys in the western part of the island. These were “formed by spring streams, closer to the sea turning into deep ravines cut in limestone.” One of these is the Hugh’s Dale Waterfall (Hughe’s Tufa Waterfall).
- Caves: “There are some 30 caves on island, containing at least 12 endemic species of animals.” The three of the most impressive ones – Lost Lake Cave (3,500 m), Full Frontal Cave (more than 1,560 m) and Daniel Roux Cave (560m) – are located in the northern part.
- Cliffs at Steep Point: These upright cliffs in the eastern section of the island are made of coral limestone, loftily rising up to 60 m in height. The wave action has been causing the coralline cliffs massive erosion.
- Submarine spring at Grotto: The one in the north-eastern section near the shore is among the island’s powerful submarine springs. Flying Fish Cove in Steep Point is another spot in the island where there are a number of springs.
Parks Australia’s Top Five Things To Do
- Crab migration: The millions of red crabs are Christmas Island’s keystone species. The crab migration is among the highlight of your visit to this island turning the season into one “red Christmas” from October to December.
- Scuba diving & snorkeling: In an island as beautiful and unspoiled as Christmas Island, the main attraction would be its crystal clear waters. “The seas around Christmas Island provide a meeting place for Indian and Pacific Ocean fish species – one of the few places you’ll see these fish swimming side by side.” If you’ll visit during the Christmas season, you may even chance upon the gentle giants in this part of the Indian Ocean – the whale sharks. No wonder it has several spots perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.
- Bird Watching: “Christmas Island is one of the world’s most spectacular seabird rookeries. Birds here come in number, variety and visibility! With about, 80,000 seabirds coming here to nest, it is not surprising to see and hear them all the time. Have fun bird watching the Abbott’s booby, Christmas Island hawk-owl, Great frigatebird, Red-tailed tropicbird, etc.
- Golf: If you are looking for a great place to play golf, you’ll find it here in this island. “The nine-hole golf course and clubhouse is in a scenic setting on the north-east coast. It’s also a great location to head to the Golf Course Lookout to take in the panoramic views and do some Birdwatching.”
- Cultural events: The island is a quixotic destination not only for Christmas, but Chinese New Year, the Mooncake Lantern Festival, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Deepavali as well. “The celebrations are an unforgettably festive and colourful experience – and there are other festivals and events throughout the year that can also be enjoyed.”
In addition, naturalists and nature lovers will have a great time turtle spotting in the island. The hawksbill sea turtle and the green sea turtle, two vanishing turtle species may be sighted during their nesting seasons, which is year-round on Greta and Dolly beaches. Enjoy the sceneries on foot; hit the popular tracks/trails such as Hugh’s Dale, West White Beach and Winifred Beach. Finally, cap the experience by buying local ingredients and eating in a picnic grove or a barbeque venue.