The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust, 1871 - 1922

Christmas Island


Christmas Island

Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.


Christmas Island is one of the islands of the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia and some distance northwest of Australia, of which is it a territory.

Read more about Christmas Island in our Christmas Island travel guide »

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Christmas Island

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Christmas Island

Full name
Territory of Christmas Island
Flying Fish Cove

Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia

Geographic coordinates

10 30 S, 105 40 E

Area comparative

about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC


138.9 km


tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds


steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau

Lowest point

Indian Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Murray Hill 361 m

Natural resources

phosphate, beaches


1,402 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%


Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)


English (official), Chinese, Malay

Government type



none (territory of Australia)

National holiday

Australia Day, 26 January (1788)

Chief of state

Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by the Australian governor general

Head of government

Administrator Brian LACY (since 5 October 2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

464 (2001)


1 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Flying Fish Cove

Other countries in the region