Location – Cocos Keeling Islands
Made up of two coral atolls that were closely studied by Charles Darwin, the Cocos Keeling Islands is perfect for a relaxing tropical break.
How to get there
From Australia, there are flights to Cocos Keeling Islands twice a week with Virgin Australia. These flights run in a loop with Christmas Island, making it perfect to combine the two islands in one holiday.
While Cocos Keeling Islands are part of Australia, the flights to depart from the Perth International Airport which means that all travelers must have the appropriate identification – be sure to speak to us for the most up to date information.
For those coming from overseas, there is the option to fly from Jakarta to Christmas Island, then continue on to Cocos Keeling Islands. These flights run once a week.
You won’t find any large hotel chains or resorts on Cocos Keeling Islands. Instead, you have the option of renting a unit or entire home for your stay. Most accommodation options include everything you need to self-cater, including a kettle, microwave and fridge, while some properties will have full kitchen facilities.
Most accommodation is located on West Island, where the Cocos Keeling Airport is. All properties are in the centre of the island and are walking distance to the supermarket, restaurants, cafes and bars and the Visitors Centre.
Meanwhile, the historic Oceania House is located on Home Island. The colonial mansion is part of Cocos history and was built in 1887 for the Clunies-Ross family. It is currently being restored, but three guest rooms are open to those who love history and antiques.
Getting around West Island
While all the facilities are in walking distance of the accommodation, the best swimming and snorkelling beaches are a little further out.
Some properties offer free bike hire, which is perfect for anyone who is fit and doesn’t mind the sun.
We recommend hiring a car for the duration of your stay so that you can easily get around. As there are a limited number of cars on the island, prebooking is strongly recommended.
Exploring the islands
While you will probably be based at West Island, there are 27 islands that make up Cocos Keeling Islands just waiting to be explored.
Home Island is where most of the Cocos Malay community reside. The ‘Cahaya Baru’ ferry runs between West Island and Home Island daily from 6am to 4.30pm. Later departures run on Thursdays so everyone can go to the Rasa Di Sayang dinner on Home Island (booking required). The ferry costs $2.50 each way – payable onboard.
Home to Australia’s Best Beach, Cossies Beach, Direction Island is great for swimming, snorkelling and exploring. The ferry stops at Directions Island every Thursday and Saturday. Be sure to bring your own food and drinking water as there are no facilities on the island (which is part of their appeal!)
There are plenty other islands to be visited. The easiest way is to join a motorised canoe tour where a guide will take you to some of their favourite islands. You’ll get the chance to snorkel, explore the islands and try some fresh coconut.
During low tide, it is possible to walk between many of the islands and follow Charles Darwin’s footsteps. Preparation is required anyone looking to undertake this trip must speak to the Cocos Keeling Islands Visitors Centre beforehand.
What to see and do
Water sports are very popular, with kite surfing, windsurfing and plain old surfing being best from July to October, but still great all year round. You can also hire stand up paddle boards and kayaks. Even during busy periods, the water is uncrowded with plenty of space to learn or perfect their skills.
You can spend just as much time under the water with great snorkelling and diving with wrecks and reefs. There are plenty of great snorkelling sites for beginners and families and you’ll be sure to spot clams, urchins, angelfish, parrot fish and plenty more.
Home Island is the heart of the Cocos Malay community so be sure to catch a ferry across to try your hand at weaving, cooking Malay food and possibly even join a cultural ceremony held in homes along the island.
Try a round of golf with stunning water views and the airport runway right through the middle of the course. Or perhaps you prefer to fish, with bonefish, trevally, sailfish and tuna to be caught from the beach, jetty and boat. At the end of the day, barbecue your catch as you watch the sun set.
Take the ferry to Direction Island, home to Cossies Beach which was voted number one in the 101 Best Australian Beaches. Relax on the sand or in one of the hammocks and snorkel “The Rip” where you’ll spot reef sharks, tropical fish and colourful coral.