Cocos is comprised of a chain of islands located 2750km northwest of Perth, and 970km southwest of Christmas Island. Although it's closer to Indonesia, Cocos is an Australian Territory with only two of the islands (Home and West Island) being inhabited. West Island has mainly an Australian population while Home Island is populated by around 450 Malays.
A Green Turtle resting in the shallow waters of the coral reef.
Our large family group arrived on West Island after a 4 hour flight from Perth and were immediately struck by the brilliant colours of the coral lagoon. In fact the colours of the surroundings leap out as you view the pure white beaches and lush vegetation comprised largely of coconut palms contrasting with the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
We quickly assimilated to the relaxed island life either fishing or reading during the day while the children went surfing at a nearby break. Our self contained accommodation at the Cocos Castaway was literally a stones throw from the ocean and provided a comfortable setting complete with the sound of crashing surf.
A ferry runs daily to Home Island, where you can catch a glimpse of the Malay community life and visit the Cocos museum with interesting artefacts and history of the island. You can also arrange to tour Oceania House which was the residence of the Clunies- Ross family who governed the island for many years. Their dynasty presided over the production and trade in Copra employing Malay people brought to the island specifically for this industry.
If you are after a resort experience with all the trimmings Cocos is probably not for you. However if you are happy to rest in a very casual environment where you can go for a walk along the reef, go fishing or just do nothing under a palm tree then this place deserves serious consideration.
Virgin runs flights three times a week and more information is available at the Cocos Visitor Centre, including a variety of options for accommodation. Cocos is also becoming a destination for many kite-surfers around the world as conditions are ideal within the lagoon all year round.
This article needs a serious update, it is over 8 years old and some information is not correct.
Virgin no longer fly to Cocos-Keeling Islands 3 days a week. There are only 2 flights a week, and this has been the case for several years.
I see no mention of the very limited food and dining facilities on Cocos-Keeling Islands.
Food supplies are often very limited at the single store, and very, very expensive! Like, $8 for a single lettuce! - because very little fruit and vegetables are grown locally, and nearly every perishable food item has to be flown in from Perth.
The dining facilities are limited to one part-time small cafe, and the Motel. Even then, the menus are very limited.
For a stay of any more than a few days, it pays to take an Esky (cooler) of food with you, to keep your food costs down - and find accommodation that has cooking facilities.
The only food available that's plentiful and cheap, is local fish. If you take an Esky, you can pack it with frozen fish to take home (this is legal).
Car hire is available, but is fairly expensive. Fuel is expensive, but West Island is only 15kms long, so you won't spend a lot on fuel!
Bicycles are popular for getting around - but be aware the wind is constant and strong! - making pedalling, hard work!
The coral is sharp on most beaches, and you need to take rubberised coral shoes with you, or you end up with cut feet.
The crabs rule the islands, they are everywhere! Be careful of them, they bite hard!
One enjoyable thing to do, is to go out at night to the big jetty and watch for green turtles.
There are tame big Wrasse fish at one of the beaches that will swim really close to you in the ocean pools.
Jellyfish are rare, but there are small reef sharks who can pose a threat if you go fishing in shallow water.
I have wanted to go here for a while now, it looks amazing. My partner has run beachside resorts in remote locations around the world and he loves untamed beauty, Like Tanzania before they built all the big beachfront resorts. Are the beaches kid safe? Jelly fish? Are there restaurant/s? Can I see inside your accom? More photos pls :)