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.