Cocos (Keeling) Islands
The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands (or simply Cocos Islands or Keeling Islands) is in the middle of the Indian Ocean some 2750km north-west of Perth, and 900km west south-west of Christmas Island.
- Direction Island
- Home Island
- Horsburgh Island
- North Keeling Island
- South Island
- West Island
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean some 2750km north-west of Perth, and 900km west south-west of Christmas Island, its closest neighbour. Cocos lies approximately 12° south and 96.5° east, locating the islands in the humid tropical zone.
There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William Keeling discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. Annexed by the UK in 1857, they were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.
Grown throughout the islands, coconuts are the sole cash crop. Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but additional food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia. There is a small tourist industry.
Please note, this island is sometimes confused with Cocos Island a nationally protected jungle-covered island and national park, 300m off the coast of Costa Rica.
Cocos experiences two main seasons which tend to overlap: the trade wind season from April / May to September / October and the calmer doldrum season from November through to April. Expect higher rainfall during March through to July. January through to August, may also generate the occasional low pressure system (usually between February and April). However these systems do not normally interfere with holiday plans. Rainfall usually visits this sandy atoll in the evenings, bringing glorious sunny days! The average annual rainfall is 2000mm! Temperatures are fairly consistent no matter what the season, remaining around a comfortable 29°C with a minimum evening temperature rarely dropping below 20°C.
Flat, low-lying coral atolls, thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation.
- There is one airport that receives two National Jet  flights a week from Perth, usually stopping over at Christmas Island on the way. Oneway/return is A$840/$1680, with advance purchase returns available for $1098.
- Every second Saturday, an additional flight from Nation Jet departs to the Islands operating every two weeks. Flight departs Perth at 0945 (WST) on an alternating schedule. More information can be obtained through your travel agent.
- The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are one and a half hours behind Western Standard Time (WST) and three and a half hours behind Eastern Standard Time (EST).
- Australian citizens do not need a passport, but must carry some form of photographic identification.
There are no harbors.
A local bus service from West Island Settlement to the jetty operates approximately 20 minutes prior to the departure of the ferry to Home Island. On Saturday the ferry diverts to Direction Island to allow tourists and locals access to this remote paradise. The ferry returns in the afternoon to return you to West Island. Timetables are available from the Tourism office or the Duty Free Shop.
- A Car Rental, ☎ +61 8 9162 7646. Contact Geof Christie for availability and rates.
- Cocos Autos, ☎ +61 8 9162 7661.
- AW & KJ James Car Hire, ☎ +61 8 9162 7717. Quality vehicles available for hire. Contact Ash or Kylie for availability and rates..
- Cocos Surf Shop, In the Aiport Complex, ☎ +61 8 9162 6768.
- Supermarket, Clunies-Ross Avenue, ☎ +61 8 9162 6676(fax: +61 8 9162 7605).
- Telecentre, (Administration building), ☎ +61 8 9162 7707. Open 5 days a week.
- Australia Post, ☎ +61 8 9162 6645(fax: +61 8 9162 7500).
- Cocos Club, ☎ +61 8 9162 6688. Open 7 days a week.
There are two restaurants on Cocos. The Tropika Restaurant is located on West Island, whilst Bunga Melati is located on Home Island.
Malay cuisine is a selection of rice, noodles, curry and chilli, featuring chicken, beef, lamb and seafood dishes. Food is prepared to be flavoursome and not particularly hot, unless requested. The Tropika caters to western style meals with a selection of meats, vegetables and salads available from the bistro. In the case of all three restaurants, meals are reasonably priced and rarely exceed AUD20.00 per person.
- Tropika, (Located on West Island in the Cocos Beach Motel), ☎ +61 8 9162 6672.
- Bunga Melati, (Located on Home Island in the small business centre), ☎ +61 8 9162 7633. The restaurant will open for lunch or dinner on request.
Don't want to eat at a restaurant? Usually, every third Friday, the different social clubs of Cocos prepare a "food night" at the Cocos Club. Excellently priced meals are offered along with raffles and good natured fun. Come along, share a meal. The Cocos Club also offers visitors a great venue to get to know the locals and join in with any activity that is happening.
This 28 room motel is centrally located right in the middle of town, right on the beach and only across the road from the Cocos Club, airport and a short walk to the supermarket. Many of the rooms have direct views to the Indian Ocean. Ideally suited to couples, singles or twin. Private ensuite and air conditioned. Three family rooms are available. On site restaurant - The Tropika.
Architecturally designed cottages, purpose built tourist accommodation, overlooking the golf course and the lagoon. They offer spacious bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, large undercover deck areas and on site BBQ area. Located within easy walking distance of the supermarket, Cocos Club, tennis courts, golf club, restaurants and other facilities.
Take cultural tours with some of the local tour operators or guide yourself around the islands to explore why they call the Cocos Islands a "nature and water lover's paradise".
During the year, as well as the traditional events such as Easter, New Year, Christmas etc, Cocos hosts a number of unique events. These include the annual Lagoon swim, where competitors swim from Home Island across the lagoon to West Island. Individuals or teams may enter and whether you are a serious contender or wish to join in with the Hash House Harriers (who always seem to get themselves disqualified for one thing or another), everyone has a load of fun. It finishes in the evening with dinner and presentations to the winners and boat drivers.
Other unique events are the mid-year Cocos Ball, quiz nights, Music & Wine festival, Ardmona Cup and Cocos Olympics. All visitors are encouraged to join in with these festivities and activities. Exact dates vary from year to year. Please check with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Tourism Association before booking for particular events.
Don't forget visitors to the Island are also welcome to participate in the School Fete, Sports Carnival and concert events.
- COCOS DIVING, Cocos Dive, PO Box 1015, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean WA 6799,Australia, ☎ +61 8 9162 6515(email@example.com), . AUD $200-2320.
- 2ND WIND SAILBOARDS, . July through to August only.
- KEBUDAYAAN & HOME ISLAND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE TOUR. 7:30AM-2:30PM. $15 per adult, $10 per child 5-12 years.
- WEST ISLAND ORIENTATION TOUR, Bookings are essential at the CKI Tourism Visitor's Centre. AUD $12.00 per adult, children below 16yrs free.
- PULU KEELING NATIONAL PARK, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cyclone season is October to April.
Fresh water resources are limited to rainwater accumulations in natural underground reservoirs.
Did you know?
HORSBURGH ISLAND or PULU LUAR was almost continuously inhabited from 1826 until after World War II. Initially Alexander Hare put people on the island to grow vegetables and fruit for other islands. This tradition was maintained by the Clunies-Ross proprietors and George Clunies-Ross kept deer on the island for hunting. In 1941, gun emplacements were installed on the southern point of the island and manned by Ceylonese troops. A feature of this island is the small lagoonlet which occurs within the interior of the island to the north east. A stand of mangroves grow here and were reputedly planted by George Clunies-Ross.
DIRECTION ISLAND or PULU TIKUS (Malay for Rat Island) appears to have been the first island to be inhabited, for it was on Direction island that the crew, together with rats, of the Mauritius were marooned after their ship was wrecked in 1825. The island was also inhabited for a short time by Alexander Hare and his followers in the same year.
This island was the site of the Cable Station, with undersea links to Australia, Singapore and South Africa which came into operation in 1901 and ceased in 1966. In the late 1960's buildings on the island were either translocated to Home and West Islands, or bulldozed into the sea along the ocean ward margin, and considerable building rubble is conspicuous along the ocean ward shore.
PRISON ISLAND or PULU BERAS (Malay for Rice Island) or PULU TUAN (Master's Island) is the tiny island to the north of Home Island. It is now considerably smaller than when Alexander Hare moved his house there from Home Island in 1827. He had a number of buildings constructed for him on the island. Some were used to store the settlement's provisions. He lived in a two storey residence, and smaller huts housed the children of his "family" (harem). When Hare left the atoll in 1931 the housing was abandoned.
HOME ISLAND or PULU SELMA has been a centre of habitation since Alexander Hare chose it for his first permanent settlement in 1826. The burial island, PULU GANGSA, was artificially joined to Home Island by placing coconut logs and concrete-filled drums across the channel in the late 1940's. Parts of the island have been reclaimed from the sea; the landing area north and south of the present jetty, and part of the kampong baru, reclaimed by teams of women earlier last century. Oceania House was designed and built by George Clunies-Ross in 1893.
SOUTH ISLAND or PULU ATAS (Malay for Top Island, in reference to it being upwind). It was the site for the first settlement by Captain John Clunies-Ross in 1827, who dredged a boat channel through the southern lagoon to the centre of the island. The long lagoonal shore is a popular site for a number of Home Islanders pondoks (week-ender shacks) and was also home to a regiment of Kenyan soldiers, the Fifth African Rifles, who were stationed at the south-western end near the highest point called "Gunong", as coast watchers in World War II.
WEST ISLAND or PULU PANJANG was settled in 1826 by some of Alexander Hare's followers probably in the vicinity of Rumah Baru, and has been inhabited continuously ever since. It was home to more than 7,000 troops from Britain, Canada, Australia and India in 1944. The airstrip was built initially in1944, but seeing little action in the war, was revamped for use by Qantas in 1951.
PULU MARAYA - just east of the southern end of West Island, is named after one of the two European children who disappeared without trace from the island shores in the 1860's. The island now has a pondok which is used as a weekender by one Malay family.
Monday: 0800 to 1700 Tuesday - Thursday: 0800 - 1430 Friday: 0800 - 1600 Saturday (early flight): 1300 - 1600 Saturday (late flight): 1400 - 1700 Sunday & Public Holidays: Closed
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Tourism Association Inc. PO Box 1030 Cocos (Keeling) Islands Indian Ocean WA 6799 Ph: +61 8 9162 6790 Fax: +61 8 9162 6696
This page was last edited at 16:41, on 26 August 2008 by Wikitravel user Ecophoto. Based on work by Hamish Moffatt, Daniel, Joanne Woo, Jani Patokallio, Todd VerBeek, paul and Evan Prodromou, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme, InterLangBot and CIAWorldFactbook2002 and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.