Thinking of A Winter Getaway?... Christmas on Christmas Island

Photo: www.underwater.com.au
Discover natural wonders at a tropical rainforest island National Park...

At this hectic time of year, with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, my thoughts often turn to leaving winter behind and travelling to someplace warm and tropical. Sun, sand and nature come to mind. Imagine an island where 63 per cent of its land is a tropical rainforest National Park. A place that offers visitors an adventure that invites them to walk through the rainforest to discover and experience first hand the lush flora and fauna surrounding them. Where pristine beaches and warm welcoming ocean waters invite you in to play and explore. Welcome to Christmas Island.

You might not even see it, as Christmas Island is merely a dot in the Indian Ocean, located 2600 kilometres north-west of Perth, Western Australia. Although it is an Australian Territory, its closest neighbour is Java, 360 kilometres away. The island is known as one of the world's significant seabird islands, with thousands of seabirds including the endangered Abbott's booby. It is the only nesting site in the world for the Christmas Island frigate bird as well. Christmas Island also supports over 20 land crab species, including an estimated 50 million red crabs who continue to shape and maintain the health of the island’s unique rainforests.

For nature lovers, the island’s National Park offers visitors a unique natural environment with unparalleled choices. There are roads and trails to help you get around, whether you choose to walk or drive. With so many endemic species, the island is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. There are reportedly 253 endemic animals and plants, and another 160 that don’t occur anywhere else in Australia. No other land area or reserve in Australia supports so many internationally and nationally significant species in such a small area. It is an island that is, in fact, full of natural wonders: from the unique annual red crab migration to rare birds and glorious deserted beaches where “the only footprints in the sand are those made by nesting turtles.” Ecologists describe the annual red crab mass migration to the sea to spawn as one of the wonders of the natural world. The migration takes place yearly, after the start of the wet season, synchronized with the cycle of the moon. It’s a stunning visual you can catch a glimpse of here — truly an eco-experience provided by nature.

For those who enjoy the ocean and snorkeling or scuba diving, Christmas Island offers magnificent underwater wonders for visitors to explore, with coral reefs, tropical fish and a steep drop-off which plunges into the abyss 5000 metres deep. Dolphins and whalesharks are common visitors to many of the diving spots. The waters also offer excellent fishing, with sailfish, tuna and wahoo among some of the biggest fish available to catch. The clear, warm water and diverse marine life also offer excellent opportunities for diving too - sounds like an ocean paradise.

Christmas Island is quickly becoming a must-see destination for eco-travellers. This short National Geographic video gave me a visual taste of what is so enticing about Christmas Island. With a myriad of natural wonders, coupled with lush vegetation and warm temperatures that offer seemingly endless experiences, I might just continue to dream of a green Christmas on Christmas Island.