Located 2600km off the coast of Western Australia, Christmas Island is a dog-shaped speck in the middle of the Indian Ocean. A sea cliff dominates the 80km coastline, only broken up by small sand and coral beaches with shallow bays. A narrow coral reef rings the island, with a steep drop-off 200m from the shore.
Christmas Island is the epitome of ‘where the forest meets the sea’. The northern tip of the island is the only inhabited area, and Flying Fish Cove is the main settlement. The rest of the island is the Christmas Island National Park – a rich, lush swathe of rainforest sweeping down towards the sea. Living in this rainforest is an array of endemic species including the Christmas Island Flying Fox, Christmas Frigatebird, the critically endangered Blue Tailed Skink, and the renowned Christmas Island Red Crab.
The Red Crab Migration is a phenomenal annual event that sees millions of red crabs leave their forest homes with the first rains of the wet season and make their way with gusto towards the ocean to mate and spawn.
Dive along pristine reefs supporting over 88 species of coral and 650 different kinds of fish life. From the smallest shrimp to the biggest fish in the ocean, Christmas Island has something special to offer all divers.
Christmas Island enjoys a tropical equatorial climate with a distinct wet and dry season.
Wet Season: November to April is governed by the north-west monsoons which bring heavy rainfall, high temperatures and humidity, and strong winds. Expect average daytime temperatures of 27.5°C, dropping to a more comfortable 23°C at night.
Dry Season: From May to October the south-east trade winds help to lower the humidity. Even though the average temperature doesn’t really change, the ocean breeze definitely helps to make it a lot more comfortable. Expect daytime temperatures of 26.5°C during the day, dropping to 23°C overnight.
Christmas Island has some breathtaking dive sites that are well worth a visit.
Being located at the edge of the Indian Ocean’s deepest trench, this small island plays host to some thrilling drop-offs and wall dives, just 20m from the shoreline, with visibility ranging from 30 to 50 meters. The colourful coral gardens, captivating caves and caverns, and gorgeous grottos make Christmas Island a diverse divers paradise just waiting to be explored.
The pristine coral reefs support healthy populations of surgeonfish, wrasse, angelfish, butterflyfish, groupers, and parrotfish, to name a few. Macro lovers can go searching for all sorts of colourful critters hiding out in the corals, including nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish, dragon moray eels, and various species of crabs.
The drop-offs provide the perfect playground to interact with dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and reef sharks, including silkies, white-tips, and greys. Marvel at the massive schools of yellowfin tuna, swordfish, trevally, marlin, and barracuda.
If you’re lucky, you might even have the opportunity to encounter a gentle hammerhead shark, a massive mola-mola, or a majestic whale shark!
28.5℃ during the wet season, 3mm to 5mm wetsuit
27℃ during the dry season, 3mm to 5mm wetsuit
Christmas Island is good to dive all year-round; however, the wet season can bring strong winds and choppy seas. The northern dive sites tend to be avoided during this time, and the more sheltered dive sites along the western side of the island are frequented more. Migrating whale sharks can be seen from November to April. Dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and sharks can generally be spotted throughout the year.
As the name suggests, this is a vertical wall that falls to 36 meters, teeming with brightly coloured fans and corals that reach out as far as possible to catch the rays of the sun filtering through the crystal clear waters. Take the opportunity to be surrounded by bustling schools of fish of all varieties, take in the overhang covered in sea fans waving in the current, and perhaps you might even get the chance to swim with some very friendly dolphins. Keep on the look-out for manta rays and sharks swimming among the larger oceanic fish out in the big blue.
Flying Fish Cove
Flying Fish Cove is perfect for beginners or those just wanting to have a relaxing, easy dive surrounded by up to 90% of the fish species that grace the waters of Christmas Island. Enjoy up to 60 meters of abundant, brightly coloured corals playing host to pufferfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, hawkfish, and much much more. The diversity that you encounter on this dive is second to none, and it is undoubtedly one of the best shore dives available on the island.
Christmas Island is honeycombed with caves, and when conditions are just right, this is one of the best dives on the island. Thundercliff Cave welcomes you with a stunning coral garden that is home to a resident population of batfish. As you make your way through the cave system and further into the core of the island, you will come to a cathedral-like opening which opens up into a large cave chamber. Hop out of the water, leave your scuba gear behind and go for a wander through this fascinating cave system. Or, stay in the water and explore this series of interconnecting caves and the charming inhabitants that call the reef beyond the cave home.
Red Crab Migration
As soon as the first rains of the wet season arrive, usually late October or early November, millions of red crabs come out of their forest habitat and march down to the ocean to mate and lay eggs. To get to the sea, they swarm in a thick, undulating, bright red mass that blankets roads, streams, rocks, and beaches. Watch this incredible spectacle from Flying Fish Cove, Greta Beach, and Ethel Beach.
Christmas Island is a world-renowned bird-watching destination. With over 80,000 nesting seabirds coming to the island every year, and 15 species endemic to Christmas Island, you can see and hear birds from anywhere on the island throughout the day. For one week in September, the island hosts Bird ‘n Nature week, dedicated to an array of fascinating bird watching activities.
The small size of the island makes walking the best way to explore the forests, beaches, and wetlands. There are walking and hiking trails available for all levels of fitness, and most walks end in a spectacular look-out over the island and the surrounding ocean.
Nesting green and hawksbill turtles and hatchlings can be seen on Dolly Beach and Greta Beach throughout the year. You can also see both species of turtles swimming in the waters surrounding the island all year-round. Please follow the rules governing turtle watching and looking for nests to keep these magnificent marine creatures safe, healthy, and thriving.
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