The remoteness of some of Christmas Island’s beaches makes the effort of the hike worthwhile.
Christmas Island is a remarkable island paradise, with exceptional hiking opportunities.
With no exceptions, every hike offers something unique and a reason to undertake it. Beautiful vistas, wildlife, pristine and secluded beaches, and jungle waterfalls await.
Terraced in appearance and stepping up in stages, elevation equals outstanding rainforest and subsequently more impressive hikes.
Lay of the land on Christmas Island.
For the most part, Hiking trails descend on the way in and therefore are uphill on the way out. What’s more, all are one-way hikes, consequently, you return to your vehicle along the same track.
Furthermore, all hikes conclude at a point of interest, with outstanding lookouts and remote beaches being the most popular.
Constructed boardwalks are a feature of some trails, others are just natural surfaces and some are a combination of the two.
With no exceptions, every hike offers something unique and a compelling, reason to undertake it. There are beautiful vistas, wildlife, pristine and secluded beaches, jungle waterfalls and secret swimming hideaways just waiting to be found.
Not to mention a rainforest that could be Jurassic Park, filled with enormous figs and delicate bioluminescent fungi, the diversity will captivate.
Rugged and isolated but always beautiful, Christmas Island beaches are stunning.
With over 60% of the island-designated national park, it’s the perfect place to grab your hiking boots and a backpack, charge your lungs with fresh air and explore the pristine landscapes and environment of Christmas Island.
For The Adventurous.
Distance: 4km return
How to get there: Via Murray Road, approximately 25km/30min from The Settlement.
This hike is purely for the adventurous, this jungle trek leads you through some of the thickest, oldest and most dense rainforests on the island.
Finally, ending in a small gorge, a freshwater stream trickles into a small pond with breathtaking views of the ocean beyond.
Halfway along the boardwalk that leads you to Hughs Dale waterfall is the junction of the Anderson Dale track.
Venturing off the main boardwalk you commence your advance through the pristine rainforest. Subsequently, the trail is now completely natural and unmade, following the pink ribbons attached to trees you’ll eventually arrive at a freshwater stream.
This stream flows between limestone cliffs, carving a passage to the ocean, herewith becoming your new trail, follow it to its end.
Along this section of the trail, you will plunge deeper into the gorge, eventually, a small cove will appear as you wander as you wander at the enormity and somewhat eerie tangles of tree roots from the strangler figs above.
This section of the hike is rough and slippery furthermore expect to get your feet wet and be mindful of where you place your hands as this is a Blue Crab stronghold, they can be cranky.
The compact cove is the end of the hike it often holds water, but how much depends largely on tides and rain, wander past the pool, and it opens up, as platforms of rock present great vantage points in which to enjoy the marvellous view.
Gazing out to sea, destination reached.
Where the Dale meets the sea.
Negotiating the last slippery descent.
Extreme caution is required at this location, large unpredictable waves often crash around here. Having explored, start your climb back up through the gorge to the junction in the track that will lead you back to the main boardwalk.
In addition, you could quite easily combine this hike with Hughs Dale Falls.
Provided you have enough energy left after completing it, wander up to the falls via the boardwalk instead of returning to your vehicle, be aware it’s all uphill from this junction.
Refresh under the cool jungle waterfall returning via the boardwalk to the carpark.
West White Beach
Distance: 3km Return
How to get there: Via Murray Road, approximately 25 minutes/18km, a car park is situated just off the road with 2wd access.
Walking away from your vehicle you’re instantly consumed by the rainforest. This trail meanders off into the haze of green foliage as you quickly lose sight of the car park.
You’ll find yourself negotiating rough natural rainforest ground in large sections of this track.
The majority of Christmas Island’s walking trails descend to their destination, the trail to West White Beach is no different, completely natural, and it’s boardwalk free.
West White lets you enjoy first and pay later, the trail is uneven, and there are many obstacles to trip up the unsuspecting sole who might be struggling a little.
In addition, rocks, tree roots, vines and loose gravel surfaces can all add to the difficulty and risk of coming to grief for the walker not fully concentrating.
Before departing for this walk be sure of your ability to complete it. Despite the fact, this walk is only a 3km return, the walk-in is all downhill and taxing on knees and hips.
The walk-out is all uphill and makes your heart race, moderate upper body strength is needed to complete the rope and ladder section. What’s more, should you encounter a misfortune it is a tough uphill walk for you to hobble or for others to carry.
Ladders aid in negotiating tricky climbs.
Ropes help support tricky sections, moderate strength is required.
Ropes and ladders are used together to make things manageable.
Once at the beach, it’s an astonishingly lovely white strip of coral coastline, fringed by a wonderful coral reef, snorkelling awaits equally important, beach cliffs and their overhangs provide the only shade.
Snorkelling is good at West White, pack a mask & snorkel in your backpack.
Access: 4wd vehicle
Distance: 4km return
How to get there: Approximately 20km / 30min drive from The Settlement via the North-South Baseline Road.
The adventure begins with a 45–minute jungle walk along a trail that is a primarily constructed boardwalk, with sections of the trail being of natural surfaces.
Uneven in places with varying degrees of gradients, this track has nothing overly hard to negotiate. At the conclusion of the boardwalk is a set of well-constructed stairs which make an otherwise tricky section manageable.
The concluding section from the stairs to the beach is the trickiest segment of the entire trail. As you negotiate an uneven often slippery downhill section through the coconut palms to the beach.
Section of Boardwalked track.
Sections of natural earth track.
Set of stairs at the end of the trail.
Emerging from the jungle a sandy beach fringed with overhanging Coconut Palms greets you, a more idyllic picture an artist couldn’t paint.
Shallow rockpools dot the water’s edge, momentarily you’ll be caught in a pause of indecision as you process the beauty before you while trying to decide which comes first sitting under a palm or jumping in the water.
The last section is uneven & always slippery.
Dolly Beach is a delight.
Dolly Beach is a great place to spot Robber Crabs.
Amid this hike, you will walk through some of the island’s oldest and untouched portions of rainforest.
Strangler Figs soar above while the artistic mess of Pandanus roots is ever-present. Giant Stags appear to cling precariously to towering trunks above, all the while a myriad of different critters scurry on the forest floor.
Robber crabs are easily spotted during the hike and regularly spotted on the beach. Blue crabs scuttle in every direction during the rainforest section of the hike, whilst turtles are seen all year round, best spotted on nights with a bright, guiding full moon.
Dolly Beach is Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and Castaway all rolled into one secluded and remote day at the beach.
Unquestionably the prettiest of the beaches, my favourite.
A Little Less Adventurous
Hughs Dale Falls
Access: 4WD Vehicle
Distance: 2km return
How to get there: From Flying Fish Cove (Kampong) or the Settlement travel up the hill along Murray Road. The Dales area is roughly 20km away or a 30min drive.
Hughs Dale waterfall is within The Dales area of Christmas Island, deep within the Christmas Island National Park.
Leaving the sealed section of Murray Road you will require a 4wd vehicle to proceed and access this area.
The track into this waterfall is largely on the raised boardwalk, the boardwalk is well constructed and for the most part, an even-level surface to walk on.
Notwithstanding, the boardwalk makes this walk achievable for most it does have a few sections that are natural earth segments.
Rocks and tree roots create obstacles that have to be observed and negotiated, those not concentrating will be tripped up.
In addition to this be aware this walk involves stairs, the stairs are well-constructed and sturdy complete with handrails they are reasonably steep in places, and care should be taken.
The staired section of track leading up to the waterfall
Humans are not the only creatures who enjoy the waterfall
Well-constructed stairs help with the gradient, it’s steep in places.
Numerous large Tahitian chestnut trees can be appreciated along this walk, the rainforest is emphatically pristine. Many crabs can be spotted Red, Blue and Robber the most common.
The cascading water of this waterfall is for the best part gentle and cool it’s a delightful place to soak up the peacefulness of this special nook of Christmas Island.
The cool water of this jungle waterfall is a delightfully tranquil place for both humans and creatures to take a moment and cool off.
Golf Course Lookout
Access: 4WD Vehicle
Distance: 2km return
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
How To Get There: The trailhead is off Quarry Road. Access Quarry Road via Lily beach road. Either the Golf course links road or Phosphate hill road, will get you to Lily beach road.
This is not a very long walk, however, it will get your heart pumping and legs working.
Two steep sections dot this hike, leaving the carpark you will descend a steep section, which of course will be uphill on your return. The second section leads up to the lookout itself.
Further, the middle section is quite flat and easy to walk.
During this middle segment of the hike, you will pass a Chinese cemetery an interesting point of interest, and a great place to catch a glimpse of some Robber Crabs.
Upon reaching the summit take time to enjoy the view.
Fantastic views of the northeast can be experienced along with the golf course below from which the lookout took its name.
Wide varieties of birds can be witnessed here, many at eye level as they glide contently on the thermal updrafts.
Red-footed boobies, frigate birds and golden bosuns are common.
This headstone marks the beginning of the trail.
Stunning views are enjoyed from the Golf Course Lookout.
Finally, the last three walks are great options for those who are time-poor, perhaps are not physically able to complete the long walks or who just want a taste of what’s on offer.
They are short and relatively flat, however, both do have some stairs to access them which could make things a little harder for those who struggle physically.
Territory Day Park
Access: 2wd Vehicle
Distance: 1km loop
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
How To Get There: From The Settlement or Flying Fish Cove (Kampong) follow Murray road up the hill, and turn right at the Parks Australia headquarters.
Territory Day Park is a wonderful space complete with picnic tables, nice grassed areas and a killer lookout over Flying Fish Cove.
The trail commences adjacent to the car park, it’s a 1km loop which follows an unmade natural earth track. Regardless of which way you complete this walk, there are stairs to be negotiated.
The stairs are well-made and sturdy complete with good handrails, however, the gradient is quite steep in places.
Although the nature trail circuit itself is quite achievable the stairs at each end have to be factored in, for some with mobility issues they might be too much.
This nature walk lets walkers explore a wonderful cross-section of Christmas Island’s majestic and pristine rainforest in one small easy-to-get-to location.
Huge Strangler Figs dominate the landscape
The staircase down into the nature trail.
Christmas Island’s crabs are good climbers.
Enormous Strangler Figs are a highlight, Red & Robber Crabs are easily spotted and after dark, some of the island’s best bioluminescent fungi can be found here.
It also provides an opportunity to view the island’s rainforest birds such as Island Thrush, Christmas Island Imperial pigeons and Emerald Doves not seen around water or from the lookouts.
Checking out some of the island’s fungi along the nature trail.
The trail has numerous information boards full of interesting facts about the environment you’re walking through.
This walk could be part of a fabulous morning incorporating a picnic morning tea or lunch in the park. Don’t leave the park without taking in the view from the lookout over Flying Fish Cove.
It’s a particularly good location for spotting the island’s birds as they glide often at eye level.
View from the lookout at the Territory Day Park.
Lily Beach Boardwalk
Access: 2wd Vehicle
Distance: 1km return
How To Get There: From The Settlement take Murray Road up the hill and turn right onto Phosphate Hill Road. Proceed to the end and turn left onto Lily Beach road following to the carpark.
Subsequently, the walk between Lily and Ethel Beaches can be broken up into several smaller parts. The entire walk between the two beaches is approximately 1km one way, not taking into account how far you might stroll along Ethel Beach.
There are stairs at both ends of the walk, these staired sections will be the hardest part of the walk for those with low fitness or mobility issues.
Once on the boardwalk at the Lily Beach end the walking is easy on a level and flat surface.
The boardwalk proceeds through some lush coastal forest and glimpses of Blowholes are possible on larger swells.
Brown Boobies can be seen both on the wing and the ground and it’s not unusual to spot Red Crabs and Robber Crabs.
The stairs up to the first lookout and boardwalk at Lily Beach
A lush forested section along the boardwalk
The Lily Beach Boardwalk
After the boardwalk conclusion, you’ll arrive at a lookout, with uninterrupted views of the coastline in both directions towards Lily and Ethel Beaches.
From here, you could return to Lily Beach via the boardwalk or you could proceed further to Ethel Beach.
Lookout at the end of Lily Beach boardwalk.
Lush jungle forest along the Lily Beach boardwalk.
The boardwalk finishes at the lookout, to get to Ethel Beach proceed along the dirt track directly adjacent to the lookout.
A short walk of 100m gets you back to the road that links Lily and Ethel beaches. Venture right, in approximately 200m you will have the Ethel Beach carpark and stairs straight ahead, the boat ramp on your right.
Viewing platform at Ethel Beach
Strolling along Ethel Beach
Meander to the bottom of the boat ramp, the viewing platform, it’s well worth a look. Alternatively, continue through the carpark to the stairs proceeding to Ethel Beach.
Stairs down to Ethel Beach
Stairs to get on and off Ethel Beach.
Remember the return walk from Lily to Ethel Beach is 2km, the walking you complete on Ethel Beach will be additional.
Access: 4wd Vehicle
How To Get There: The Blowholes are located off the East-West Baseline road, access this via the North-South Baseline road. Departing, from The Settlement or Flying Fish Cove, travel up the hill via Murray road, turning onto Phosphate Hill road.
Follow the signs to the airport, and continue on, follow the signs to the Blowholes. The journey is 20km providing you don’t detour or stop anywhere it will take 30-40min.
The raised boardwalk over the Blowholes.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are essential to gain access to this area, especially after rain. Travelling along the track to The Blowholes two enormous fig trees are essential stops.
The first big Fig you’ll see as you drive through the gate – eyes to the right.
The second and biggest of the two, this Strangler Fig is enormous.
One is close to the entrance and the other roughly halfway along, they are marvellous opportunities to explore and photograph, and crabs of all varieties are often seen hiding amongst the tangle of roots.
From the carpark, it’s only a short walk to the beginning of an elevated boardwalk that takes you directly over the top of the action and very close to the ocean.
The noise of the blowholes is at times a roar as ocean swells smash into the coast, you’ll have one of the best seats in the house to observe the dramatic collision of land and sea.
Timing is everything
Enjoying the front-row seats
The ruggedness of the jagged coastline
On days of a large swell, the crashing waves spray high into the air, saturating all who are on the boardwalk, great on a hot day.
The sights and sounds of this location combine to make it memorable.
In brief Christmas Island is incredibly diverse offering plenty for the keen walker or hiking enthusiast. There is much to be explored, discovered and experienced so grab your hiking boots and go and find your special part of Christmas Island.
You May Also Enjoy Reading