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 ParkClimate
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
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 CruisesTAXIS
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 8338CUSTOMS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Telephone +61 (0) 8 91647228 or Fax: +61 (0)8 91648440QUARANTINE
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.auPOSTAL 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: email@example.com 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 8241ELECTRICITY
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