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> Christmas Is. - Useful information for Visitors
introducinlyric
post Aug 21 2009, 11:30 PM
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Christmas Island



Geography
Christmas Island is the summit of a submarine mountain, rising steeply to a central plateau dominated by stands of rainforest. This plateau reaches heights of up to 361 metres and consists mainly of limestone and layers of volcanic rock.
Geologists believe that about 60 million years ago the cone of an undersea volcano surfaced, forming a basin on which a coral atoll then began to form. More then 20 million years ago, the atoll appears to have sunk slowly and limestone was deposited as the coral began to build up. Ten million years later, this process stopped and an island began to emerge from the sea in a series of uplifts. Each of the island terraces was formed by the development of the fringing reef and sea cliff erosion before being uplifted. The lagoon drained and the central plateau was formed. Evidence of these volcanic origins can be seen at The Dales, and Dolly Beach where the basalt rock is exposed, forming the bed of freshwater streams.

The island's 80 kilometre coastline is an almost continuous sea cliff, of up to 20 metres in height. In a few places, the cliff gives way to shallow bays with small sand and coral shingle beaches. The largest of these bays forms the island's only port; Flying Fish Cove.
The island is surrounded by a narrow encircling coral reef. There is virtually no coastal shelf, and the sea plummets to a depth of about 500 metres within 200 metres of the shore.

* did you know 63% of Christmas Island is considered a National Park

Climate
Christmas Island experiences a tropical equatorial climate with wet and dry seasons. The wet season is from December to April when the island comes under the influence of the north-west monsoons. During the rest of the year, the south-east trade winds bring slightly lower temperatures and humidity with much less rain.
Tropical cyclones occasionally pass close to the island during the monsoon season, bringing strong winds, rain and rough seas. Since settlement, no cyclone has been recorded passing directly over the island.
The mean annual rainfall is 1,930 millimetres. Most of this rain falls between November and May. February and March are usually the wettest months.
Because of the oceanic influence, the relative humidity does not vary seasonally as much as rainfall. Humidity usually ranges between 80 - 90%. Temperatures on the island vary little from month to month. The average daily maximum temperature reaches a high of 28° Celsius in April and the average daily minimum temperature falls to 22° Celsius in August.


Location
Christmas Island is a dot in the Indian Ocean, located 2600km north-west of Perth, Western Australia. Even though it is an Australian Territory, its closest neighbour is Java, 360km away.


People
The diversity of the settlers' native tongues and cultures has influenced the island's own culture, as evidenced by the range of ethnic festivals held throughout the year. Today most residents are Chinese followed by Australian / Europeans and Malay. All are permanent residents of Australia and the majority hold Australian citizenship.

Language
Though English is the official language there are many residents who generally communicate in Malay or one of the four Chinese dialects. The earliest settlers spoke English and Cocos Malay, a unique version of Bahasa Indonesia which has been isolated from the mainstream language for over 150 years. Early arrivals from China mainly spoke Cantonese. Many early place names around the island are Cantonese words - such as Poon Saan- literally meaning half way up the hill.

Post war arrivals who came from Penang introduced other Chinese languages including Hakka, Hainese, Hokkien and Teochew, whilst those from Singapore introduced Mandarin. Bahasa Malayu is widely spoken by the Malay Community.
Because English was not a prerequisite for employment, a sizeable proportion of todays community is not fluent in English and many residents still converse in their native tongue. The influx of tourists has had an impact on the island's language. Indonesian is frequently spoken along with many of the Chinese languages. Thai, Japanese, German and a few other Europen languages are sometimes heard.



Religions
Despite its mixture of races, languages and religious beliefs, the community works in harmony, freely sharing and borrowing from each others cultures. Religious tolerance is evident from the number of Chinese temples-Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and others as well as a Christian church, Muslim Mosque and a Baha'i Centre. Many religious and cultural festivals are observed including Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.
The cultural diversity of the island has resulted in an adaptation and blending of ideas. People are always happy to tell you why things can sometimes be different on Christmas Island!

Cultural Tips
*It is suggested that ladies should dress modestly out of respect in the Kampong area.
*Shoes should be removed before entering a house, temple or mosque.
*Muslims use their right hand for eating, giving and receiving and will appreciate if you do the same when meeting them.
*There are dietary requirements which some of the different religions must adhere
Refrain from touching a persons head.

Getting There
Flights
You can fly to Christmas Island from either Perth direct or via Cocos Islands as well as direct from South East Asia. Obtaining a visa from most countries is now as easy as buying your ticket - your travel agent can assist you. For Australian immigration information, go to:
Immigration
alternatively you can visit there by way of cruise usually through P&O cruises
P & O Cruises

TAXIS
As there is limited public transport on Christmas Island, Island Taxis are available for airport transfers on request.

HEALTH
The Indian Ocean Territories Health Service offers a wide range of medical, nursing and ancillary health service. Qualified medical, nursing and ancillary health workers provide these services. The health facilities are modern and well equipped, and include accidents and emergency department, consulting rooms, laboratory, dental clinic, operating theatre, 8 inpatient beds, x-ray and ultrasound facilities. Patients requiring specialist care are assisted in their travel to Perth, and emergency cases are evacuated to Perth through the RFDS. It is important that visitors to the Island have appropriate travel insurance to cover emergency evacuation from Christmas Island. Obstetric patients are referred to Perth for delivery in Perth during the last four weeks of pregnancy. These patients and their spouses are assisted their travel to Perth.
Health services include:
• Outpatient GP Service
• Inpatient cares
• Emergency 24 hour cares
• Visits by medical specialists and ancillary health workers
• Women s' health
• Child health and immunization
• Health promotion activities
Routine medical services are provided free to Australian citizens & permanent residents. Private billing applies to workers' compensation, insurance examinations, etc. Dental services are available at the hospital for a scheduled fee. The dentist also operates a school dental health clinic. A voluntary St Johns Ambulance service also operates on the island.Contact the Indian Ocean Territories Health Services on Ph: +61 (0)8 9164 8333 or Fax: +61 (0)8 9164 8338


CUSTOMS
The Australian Customs Service operates the Indian Ocean Territories Customs Service and is responsible for undertaking border related functions on Christmas Island including the arrival and departure of aircraft, ships, yachts, launches and accompanying passengers, crew and cargo. Operators and owners/masters of arriving and departing craft are required to report certain information to Customs, within specified time periods, prior to the actual arrival or departure occurring. Customs on Christmas Island can be contacted via email on dmwaci@customs.gov.au or
Telephone +61 (0) 8 91647228 or Fax: +61 (0)8 91648440


QUARANTINE
Christmas Island is an island with some unique endemic species of wildlife. It is also free of many pests and diseases that are found in other parts of the world. Quarantine is the border agency charged with the task of protecting the environment and human health from pest or disease incursions. The department's objective is to facilitate the movement of passengers, cargo, aircraft and vessels in a way that minimises any inconvenience to the people involved while maintaining the quarantine integrity of the island. This is achieved through various reporting, screening, inspection and treatment mechanisms. Certain products are prohibited on the island while other items may require some form of treatment before they may be released.
Any persons wishing to know more about the quarantine requirements on Christmas Island should contact the Christmas Island Quarantine Service on Tel: +61 (0)8 9164 7456 or
Fax: + 61 (0)8 9164 7468 or via E-mail on Christmas.Island@aqis.gov.au


POSTAL SERVICES
You should not miss a visit to the Christmas Island Post Office as they have a range of unique Christmas Island stamps & philatelic items and provide "Australia Post" postal services. The Christmas Island Post Office is a Commonwealth Bank Agency and provides services for many other banks including Citibank, Statewest, Bankwest, Metway, Hong Kong Bank of Australia & Adelaide Bank. EFTPOS & EPOS are available as well as cash advances from credit cards of up to AUD$800 per day. The Christmas Island Post Office also has a retail area stocking Christmas Island books, maps, postcards, souvenirs, Perth Mint & Royal Australian Mint products as well as most stationery needs. The friendly staff are always happy to assist.
Contact the Christmas Island Post Office on Ph: +61 (0)8 9164 8495 or Fax: +61 (0)8 9164 8494
E-mail: cipost@pulau.cx


BANKING SERVICES
Westpac Banking Corporation have a branch located at Canberra Place, Settlement. This branch offers full banking services & can exchange foreign currency.
Opening Hours are Monday - Friday 9.30am - 3.00pm.
Contact Westpac-Christmas Island on
Ph: +61 (0)8 9164 8221 or Fax: + 61 (0)8 9164 8241



ELECTRICITY
The island electricity (consumer voltage 240V, 50 cycles) is generated by deisel plants in the power station located on the island.

WATER
Water is pumped from several springs and underground streams. The water is treated and supplied in accordance with West Australian standards and is tested periodically by hospital staff. The water is safe to drink.

TELEPHONES
There is full STD access by phone or fax to and from the Australian mainland. A Telstra GSM Mobile Telephone Service operates on the Island and a Telstra dealership is available for new, postpaid or prepaid products. All Telstra facilities and services are available to island residents. Contact IOCOMM Technologies on (08) 9164 8505 for further information. Christmas Island numbers are listed in the "Great Northern WA" phone book.

TV/RADIO
Christmas Island recieves Golden West Network (GWN) - a commercial TV network broadcast from West Australia as well as ABC & SBS & WIN TV. As stations are broadcast through a satellite service, interference may occur due to rainfall. Many residents have also had their own small satellite dish installed to receive other stations. Radio 6RCI is the local radio station, transmitting on 105.3FM from Rocky Point and 102.1FM from Drumsite. Transmissions in English, Malay and Chinese. Staffed by volunteer announcers. Christmas Island also receives Red FM - a commercial station based in West Australia as well as ABC Classical Radio and JJJ FM.

*All information sourced from Christmas island
you can also visit Christmas Is. Airport and Christmas Island for more info


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dreamybd
post Dec 11 2011, 12:24 PM
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Thanks a Best Destinations for Christmas:

A Christmas vacation is a great way to spend the holidays. At a time of year when we all feel pulled in different directions, taking the time to travel as a family will help everyone to reconnect while building lifelong memories. The biggest challenge will be figuring out where you want to go – are you looking for something tropical or traditional?

1.Bethlehem
The destination for the first Christmas, it’s still among the most popular places to visit during the holiday season. Pilgrims arrive in droves to midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity. The nearby grotto marks the spot where it is believed Jesus was born, helping travelers recall the reason for the season.
2.Lapland, Finland
Known as home to a certain Jolly Old Elf, this village is an arctic oasis for those in search of a postcard-perfect holiday scene. A white blanket covers the ground as reindeer move quietly through the forests. Whether you visit Santa Claus Village or simply enjoy a hot cup of cider at a local bed and breakfast, you’ll enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
3.Caribbean
You could almost throw a dart at a map and find a great place to go for a Caribbean Christmas. The abundance of islands and coastal destinations will ensure you and your family get plenty of sun on your holiday. Check out St. Lucia and St. John if you’re looking for luxury or think about Cancun and Cozumel if you’re traveling on a budget.
4.Quebec City
The classic French architecture in this Canadian city gives a classic air to festivities. The bright lights and romantic native tongue will make you feel like you’ve flown to the heart of Europe. However, with dog-sledding and Nordic spas – as well as an ice hotel – it’s definitely got a feel all its own.

5.San Francisco
Cultures of all kinds mix in this popular destination. Famous for its Great Dickens Christmas Fair, you’ll find gorgeous Victorian homes decorated to match both past and present. After you’ve enjoyed the displays, drive an hour to the north into the renowned Napa and Sonoma wine country.
6.Boston
The New England area is one of the most likely places to find a White Christmas. Whether you’re at a country inn or walking the historic streets of this city, you’ll find charming restaurants and belly-warming food. Take a stroll through Boston Common and get a cup of lobster bisque – the time-honored soup locals enjoy most during the festive period.
7.Santa Cruz, California
This picturesque beach town is a haven for surfers – even St. Nick arrives on the waves! Though not quite as sunny and warm as destinations in the Caribbean Sea, you’ll enjoy time on the boardwalk and the laid back pace this former hippie enclave. Plus, with stunning redwood forests nearby, it’s ideal for those who enjoy time in nature as much as time on the waves.
8.Nuremberg, Germany
The Germans have a rich tradition of turning city squares into holiday markets filled with hand-crafted toys and ornaments. Nuremberg, in particular, attracts visitors to its Christkindlesmarkt with dozens of small shops and customary mulled wine. Grab a bratwurst and stick around until after dark, when the strands of colored lights give the area a romantic glow.
9.Bondi Beach
If you want to party on Christmas, then you’ll want to go to Bondi Beach just outside of Sydney, Australia. Because it’s the summertime Down Under, there will be plenty of sun and surf, but visitors flock to the area for music from local bands and DJs. Be sure to bring a towel and sunscreen!
10.New York City
Arguably the most festive American city, walking the streets of the Big Apple during Christmastime is a treat. Stores create intricate window displays and Christmas lights adorn all sorts of surfaces, adding a festive glow to the many public ice skating rinks. Visit Macy’s on 34th Street and Rockefeller Center to get yourself in the mood.
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jenconcepcion
post Jun 10 2012, 09:00 AM
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WOW, theres so much information here! i have always wanted to go to Christmas Island but now i definitely will, that too ASAP!
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mkeylianos
post Oct 2 2013, 12:43 AM
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You can have a look at the 'Accessories' section to get an idea of the different existing gears. However, it is worth knowing that on a sunny day you might as well be able to ski in T-shirt! The sun can beat down even in winter so make a point at putting some sunscreen and wearing sunglasses.

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