Description of Christmas Island
Christmas Island is an island in the Indian Ocean. It is located northwest off the coast of Australia and is a territory of the country. The coastline of 80 kilometers is almost a continuous cliff ranging in heights of up to 20 meters. There are several shallow bays that offer coral shingle beaches and small sandy areas. The only port on the island is the Flying Fish Cove.
Christmas Island was named in the year 1643 because of the day it was discovered. It was annexed and settled by people from the United Kingdom starting in 1888. During the 1890s phosphate mining started. The main reason for the island being settled during the 19th century was because of this mining. It remains one of the major contributors to the economy today. Sovereignty of the island was transferred from the United Kingdom to Australia in the year 1958.
The island is a place of entry for immigrants who are seeking asylum in Australia. Many migrants from the southeastern part of Asia will often make the journey by sea. They typically come on boats that are overcrowded and quite rickety. These boats are often weighed down by personal belongings as well as passengers. The trip is dangerous and often times the boats will capsize before they make it to the island. There is a detention center operated on the island for those who are seeking asylum.
In the year 2001, the Australian government agreed to support creating a commercial space launch site on Christmas island. However, this commercial space has not been started and it is unlikely that it will ever happen because of a lack in funding.
Landscape and Climate
The climate of Christmas island is tropical. The weather is typically hot and humid, but is moderated by the trade winds that come through.
The landscape of the island is dotted with steep cliffs. These cliffs rise well above the coast and then abruptly into a centrally located plateau. Most of the island is covered by a rain forest. There are small areas on the island that are currently being rehabilitated from the time that the island was used for mining. There are sandy and rocky beaches that are scattered all over the coastline and separated by steep cliffs made of limestone.
Things to See and Do
The Dales are made out of several freshwater streams that run nearly parallel of each other. They come from caves and then flow to the ocean. These streams have worn out gulches from the cliff walls on the coast and created step like formations. Above the terraces a waterfall sits and here you will find visitors taking showers.
The Dales are a part of a lush tropical rainforest that is known for the unique fauna including a blind snake and blue crab and the wonderful flora including the buttress root trees. There is signage for the Dales and there have been walkways and steps that were put in by the national parks department that visitors can use.
Another popular destination is Lily Beach. This area was named after a young girl who was swept away from the rocks and never found. There is a sandy area on the beach that leads to a pool. This pool is separated from the ocean by limestone outcrops. Sea water constantly feeds into the pool from gullies that lead to the ocean. It is important to be careful when leaving the pool as there are large freak waves that appear, which is what happened to Lily.
The blowholes are perhaps the most popular destination. These are made up of holes in the ground where seawater and air are blown out because of the waves that crash into the caves that are located below. Water conditions determine how and when the water and the air are pushed through the holes.
Dolly Beach is another great area to visit. This isolated beach will take an hour to get to using 4WD plus another 45 minute walk downhill. It is well worth the long trek as you will be gifted with a white sandy beach with the back of the beach lined with coconut trees and there is a lovely stream of clear water that flows through the beach from cliffs that rise above.
Some facts about Christmas Island
Gallery of Christmas Island
Christmas Island video guide
More information about Christmas Island
Climate of Christmas Island:
Top cities of Christmas Island
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