Christmas Island National Park

Our tiny island is big on things to do.

Here are some suggestions on how to spend a week or so on Christmas Island.

Only here for a few days? Just mix and match some of these daily itineraries to plan a short break you’ll remember for a long time.

Day 1

Sunset from Martin Point. Photo: Wondrous World Images

Start the day with a walking tour of Settlement, the main part of the Christmas Island town centre.

Check out the former district officer’s residence and the Chinese Museum on Gaze Road before following the waterfront to Tai Jin House. This splendid colonial building was once the Administrator’s house but is now home to a fascinating museum charting the history of Christmas Island. A nearby gun emplacement is testament to the island’s role in World War II.

You should also stop by the Christmas Island Visitor Centre for a friendly chat about other things to do during your stay.

After a leisurely lunch at one of the town’s many eateries, drive through the national park to Hughs Dale, where a short walk in the rainforest takes you to a breathtaking jungle waterfall. This area is a haven for the island’s crustaceans, and you might see blue crabs in the water as well as our famous red crabs.

End the day at Martin Point, the island’s most beautiful sunset spot. Watch brown and red-footed boobies returning to their nests after a day’s fishing as the sun sinks slowly into the Indian Ocean.

Day 2

Flying Fish Cove. Photo: Wondrous World Images

Take a morning drive to Territory Day Park, which offers some of the best views on the island. Soak up vistas of the cove and town as seabirds circle overhead.

From here, walk the 1 km Territory Day Park nature trail through the forest. If you’re feeling energetic, you can keep hiking around the point to explore this beautiful area further.

After lunch, drive east to the Grotto, an atmospheric cave with a refreshing pool where you can swim. Further along the same road is the Mar Chor Nui Temple, a seafront Chinese temple with wonderful ocean views.

Finish your afternoon with a snorkel at Flying Fish Cove, whose calm waters and beautiful corals will delight the whole family.

Stick around at Flying Fish Cove for a sunset beer or barbecue at one of the beachfront picnic tables.

Day 3

Dolly Beach. Photo: Wondrous World Images

Skip the cornflakes this morning and go to a Malay coffee shop for a traditional breakfast of noodles, laksa or Hainanese chicken rice. Make sure you wash it down with a glass of teh tarik – strong black tea sweetened with plenty of condensed milk.

Drive to the national park and Greta Beach, where you’ll descend the steep stairs to a small cove where turtles often nest.

Continue to Dolly Beach, arguably the island’s prettiest. Here you will follow a boardwalk through magnificent forest, emerging onto a Robinson Crusoe–like beach backed by coconut palms and a lovely freshwater stream.

Enjoy a picnic lunch and a paddle at Dolly Beach before heading to Margaret Knoll and taking a short walk to the clifftop lookout. Admire jaw-dropping vistas and an array of seabirds, including the magnificent golden bosun and Christmas Island frigatebird.

Day 4

South Point Temple. Photo: Karenn Singer / Christmas Island Tourism Association

After breakfast, drive to Lily Beach, a beautiful cove that offers a large, calm rock pool for swimming when the tide is out. Bring your swimmers to enjoy a paddle in the shallows.

From Lily, stroll along the raised boardwalk to nearby Ethel Beach, where you can go hunting for coral and fossils in the sand. There is also a shower here if you need to wash off the saltwater from your swim.

Walk back to Lily Beach for a picnic lunch in the gazebo then drive west to the Blowholes. Observe red crabs in the forest, take a selfie beside the iconic strangler fig and watch the spectacle of seawater being forced through the rock and into the air.

Drive on to South Point, where you can visit the old railway station and picturesque temple before watching the sunset.

Day 5

Blue crab at the Dales. Photo: Wondrous World Images

A short but energetic hike takes you up to the Golf Course Lookout, passing by one of the island’s old Chinese cemeteries along the way.

At the top you’ll be rewarded with incredible clifftop views over the northeast coast. Make sure you bring your binoculars – the lookout offers some of Christmas Island’s best birdwatching, with boobies, frigatebirds, and golden bosuns aplenty.

After a well-earned lunch, drive to the Dales and walk to Anderson Dale. This is an adventurous hike through the rainforest that will have you negotiating gorges and enormous tangles of tree roots on your way to the ocean.

Return to town to relax with a swim or snorkel in Flying Fish Cove before heading out to sample some of the island’s authentic Chinese cuisine.

Day 6

West White Beach. Photo: Erica Harrison / Christmas Island Tourism Association

Pack a picnic lunch for a full day exploring Christmas Island’s wild west.

If the tide is out, make your first stop Winifred Beach, a small, hidden cove in the island’s southwest corner that requires a tough walk through rugged forest and a climb down a cliffside staircase. Spend some time here exploring the rock pools or snorkelling (if sea conditions permit).

Winifred Beach is only accessible at low tide, so be sure to check tide times with the Visitor Centre before planning your day.

Continue on to West White Beach, a stunning beach with white sand and a dazzling coral reef. You’ll have to channel a bit of Indiana Jones to get here, trekking through unspoilt rainforest and using a rope to descend a steep cliff face. You won’t regret the effort, though – West White Beach has some of the north coast’s best views as well as superb snorkelling.

Head back to town to take advantage of Christmas Island’s duty-free status with a bit of shopping.

Day 7+

Lionfish on the reef. Photo: Wondrous World Images

Spending a few extra days on Christmas Island? There’s plenty more to do.

Play a round of golf on one of the world’s most isolated courses, where robber crabs stealing your ball are a legitimate concern.

The scuba diving around the island is world class, with healthy corals and plunging drop-offs. There are more than 60 dive sites, so you could dive for weeks without visiting the same place twice.

Never dived before? Take a short course with one of Christmas Island’s professional dive instructors to get certified and start exploring the underwater world.

You could also try a longer walk (or repeat some of your favourites), go fishing, or just chill out and soak up the island lifestyle.