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Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Atoll

November / December 2023

This website shows you pictures of my visit to Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Atoll in Australia.

I first spent 2 weeks on Christmas Island to experience the crab migration. Unfortunately, it hardly ever rained, so there were only a few crabs on the move. I then traveled to Cocos Keeling Atoll for 10 days and returned to Christmas Island again to see the crab migration after all. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the second time either.

Muscat – Oman

On my way to Australia, I made a short stop in Oman.

The Sultan’s two beige ships. The Sultan is extremely rich. But the inhabitants receive hardly any of it and have no say in decisions.

The Sultan’s palace on the right, the Al Jalali fortress on the left

An entrance to the Mutrah Souq, in the background a mosque



Elizabeth Quay

C Restaurant in the sky

This restaurant is the only rotating restaurant in Western Australia. It is located on the 33rd floor. The food was excellent.



Christmas Island

The crab migration has not yet taken place due to a lack of rain. When it starts, the roads will be closed.

A lone crab has strayed into the village.

On a hike in the forest in the far west of the island

Blue crab

A Robber Crab, the largest crab specie on earth

View over the coast. The island is the tip of a 4,200-metre-high volcano that rises from the seabed.

Snorkeling in the Flying Fish Cove

The Grotto

Ethel Beach

The beaches on the island were named after the wives of the directors of the phosphate mine.

This crab is hiding under a stone.

A Booby

Lily Beach


I took this picture from my hotel. No wonder it’s called “The Sunset”.

The Golden Bosun Restaurant

There is a good restaurant right next door.

Dolly Beach

After an hour’s hike, you reach Dolly Beach, home to many robber crabs.

Robber Crabs

Snorkeling trip around Christmas Island

Dolly Beach

As I didn’t have much time on the last hike to Dolly Beach because it was so close to nightfall, I set off earlier this time.

Blue crabs

This crab has lost a claw.

A turtle recently laid its eggs here.

This robber crab is bluish in color. The coloration has nothing to do with age or sex, but is a color variation, comparable to the different hair colors in humans.

Here are four crabs in one picture.

The loading station of the phosphate mine

A very young booby

The only red light on Christmas Island regulates access to a steep one-way street near the main village.

The post office

Over time, laborer from Asian countries with various religions moved to the island which is reflected in the different temples and cemeteries.

Chinese cemetery

Mar Chor Nui Nui Taoist Temple

Zhen Jian Tong Xiu Hui Buddhist Temple-Complex

Of course, crabs on lotus flowers are also essential.

View over the golf course

Open-air cinema

Every Saturday at 19:30 there is a movie screening.

Phosphate mine facilities

Territory Day Park

View from the park to Flying Fish Cove, where I mostly snorkeled.

A bridge for crabs over an important road

The endemic Christmas imperial pigeon

South Point

Significant phosphate deposits were discovered in the very south of the island in 1910. A village was established for the workers and a railroad line was built across the entire island to the port. By 1987, the phosphate deposits had been mined and the village and railroad line were dismantled.

A strangler fig that sucks out and strangles its host tree so that it eventually dies and only the strangler fig remains.

This locomotive is still standing on the tracks, but is becoming increasingly overgrown by the jungle.

Snorkeling in the Flying Fish Cove

Blue-tailed skink

These reptiles and the Lister Gecko are bred on a research station because they cannot survive in the wild due to introduced predators (cats, giant millipedes, wolf snakes and a species of ant) and would therefore already be extinct without this protection.

Greta Beach

Due to special currents, this beach receives a lot of plastic waste, especially from Southeast Asia.

Nevertheless, I liked it.

On the hike back I came across a few crabs again, like this blue crab.

This crab was exceptionally red.

Crab migration

As it had rained during the night, some crabs were already on the move. However, this is only a small vanguard compared to the millions of crabs that move during the great migration.

Crabs on the crab bridge

West White Beach

On the hike to the beach I saw these epiphytes growing on a liana.

The hike was difficult, as you have to abseil over the sharp lava rock.

When I arrived at the beach, I saw these crabs crowded together in a crevice.

This purple shore crab is rarely found on Christmas Island.

Snorkeling tour with a boat

GT Farm: Giant trevally

The tourist information office drew my attention to a place where giant trevally are regularly found. I had a boat take me there and it was indeed a special experience to observe the over one meter long predators in large numbers at close range.

As I continued snorkeling, they even followed me!

Another highlight on Christmas Island!

Cocos Keeling Atoll

This atoll is located 1,000 km west of Christmas Island and also belongs to Australia. It is particularly popular with sport fishermen, as large fish can be caught from the shore here.

Flight approach

Home Island

I stayed at Oceania House. This was the house of the former owner family of the atoll.

Queen Elizabeth II visited Home Island in 1954. On her right is the son of the owner family Clunies-Ross.

My room

A beach on Home Island

Houses on Home Island

Direction Island

This uninhabited island with a long beach is served by a ferry twice a week.

The best part of the island is ‘The Rip’, a strong current south of the island. Many big fish can be found there, making this the best snorkeling area in Cocos Keeling Atoll.

Snorkeling at ‘The Rip’

West Island

After 4 days on Home Island, I headed to West Island, where I stayed for another 6 days.

View of West Island from the ferry.

My new home

I was lucky because the annual Barefoot Ball, the social event on Cocos Keeling Atoll, was taking place on the same day.

I discovered the island by bike.

Atoll hike through the shallow water at low tide.

to South Island

The motorized canoe tour

Snorkeling around South Park and Maraya Island

Christmas Island

After 10 days on Cocos Keeling Atoll, I spent another week on Christmas Island to increase my chances of seeing the crab migration after all. To say it straight away, we had the best weather every day this week, so that only a few crabs made the journey to the sea. Some males were already waiting on the beaches for the females, but there were only a few. I also saw a lot of dead crabs that were migrating towards the sea despite the dry weather, but dried out on the way.

Snorkeling in the Flying Fish Cove

This was the first time I saw a shark at Flying Fish Cove. It was a Whitetip reef shark.

Hosnies Spring Track

By chance, a woman who has lived on the island for some time told me about this hike to a spring. It is not marked on the map.

I saw a whole group of the endemic Christmas imperial pigeon. I had to sneak up on them to get that close to these shy birds.

I also encountered a few robber crabs …

… and blue crabs. They liked the humid area around the spring.

On the Dales hiking trail

The blue crabs clustered around the water.

This crab specie is called ‘Little nipper’.

Dolly beach

This time I hiked to Dolly Beach again to see the robber crabs.

These are roots!

Once again there were coconut robbers on the beach!

This is how they look from behind.

This time, too, there were traces of turtles that had recently laid their eggs.

Christmas lights on Christmas Island

A police car decorated for Christmas

Temple festival at Soon Tien Kong Temple in South Point

Once a year, the temple festival takes place in the Taoist temple at the southernmost end of the island. Tourists were also invited and were generously fed free of charge.

This praying mantis lived in the bush just outside my room.

Ethel beach

On the morning of my departure, I learned that despite the absence of mass migration, some male crabs had made it to Ethel Beach and were waiting for the females. I immediately drove to this beach and there were indeed some crabs waiting for their honeymoon.

This concluded a 6-week trip to two extraordinary Australian territories. Although I wasn’t able to experience the great crab migration, the islands were surprisingly diverse, so the visit was still worthwhile. I traveled on to Tasmania.