Amazing facts

  • How much of Christmas Island is national park?

    Eighty-five square kilometres in size, Christmas Island National Park makes up almost two thirds of the island, covering 85 square kilometres.

  • What is the island's land mass made of?

    Christmas Island is the peak of a basalt volcanic seamount which rose steeply 5,000 metres from the ocean floor about 60 million years ago. The highest point of the island is Murray Hill, which rises to 361 metres above sea level.

  • When was the island first settled?

    The human settlement of Christmas Island had its origins in 1887, when a small party of British explorers made their way through dense jungle and collected rock specimens of almost pure phosphate of lime.

    In November 1888 George Clunies-Ross, owner of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands some 900 kilometres to the south west, sent his brother Andrew and a small party of Cocos Malay workers to form a settlement at Flying Fish Cove to pre-empt any other claim to the Island's resources.

  • How many crabs are there on Christmas Island?

    More than 20 land crab species live on Christmas Island including an estimated 45 million red crabs who shape and maintain the health of the island's unique rainforests.

  • How many invertebrates live on the island?

    Christmas Island's invertebrates include 14 types of snail, 28 types of butterfly, some 70 types of moth, 90 types of beetle, 30 types of spider, one species of scorpion, five species of false scorpions and one species of amphilicid. This number is likely to grow , with several hundred invertibrates collected that are yet to be formally identified by scientists.

  • Is there any unique plant life?

    About half of Christmas Island's unique plant life is not found anywhere else in Australia.

  • How many reptiles are found on the island?

    Christmas Island is home to six native land-based reptiles. Five species are endemic, which means they aren't found anywhere else on earth. They are: the blue-tailed skink; the forest skink; the giant gecko; Lister's gecko and a burrowing snake, the pink blind snake. The sixth native reptile, the foreshore skink is common on oceanic islands.

  • How many seabirds nest on the island?

    The island is one of the world's truly spectacular tropical seabird rookeries, with around 80,000 seabirds nesting here each year. Download our bird app to hear the birds of Christmas Island and find out more about them.