Any trip through the Indian Ocean isn't complete without visiting the charming archipelago of Cocos Islands, here are the best 5 things to do in Cocos Keeling Islands.
Situated halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka, the Cocos islands are indeed remote. All the better for that holiday escape you've been dreaming of.
Well known for its water-based activities, this paradise isn't limited to magnificent beaches, but has so much to offer everyone that visits.
If you aren't already in love with the idea of visiting the Cocos Keeling Islands, take a look at these 5 fun and unique things to do while you're there.
The island offers various snorkelling areas to cater to all experience levels. Considered as the most popular snorkelling spot, 'The Rip' is situated at the southern tip of Direction Island.
The shallow, safe and protected azure water allows you to gaze at colourful corals and amazing underwater creatures like sea stars, angelfishes, sea urchins and many more.
Kids will absolutely love it when fishes swim around them. If you need to stand while on shallow waters, look for sandy stretches of sand as you don't want to get hurt by accidentally stepping on a spiky coral.
You can bring your own snorkelling gear, or you can rent it from the Visitor's Center.
You don't have to be an expert golfer to join a game of Scroungers. This is not your typical golf course, as The Cocos Keeling Island golf course is the only course that is located across an international runway, what a sight, huh?
You'll get to see the plane taking off and landing while you make bogey on the second hole over the nine-hole course.
To play Scroungers, it's best to socialise with the locals and make your way to Donga to sign up for the game. Club hires are available at the golf club upon request.
3. Home Island Eco Tour
Learn about the unique culture of the Cocos Malay people at Home Island, a residential area which is home to more than 450 Cocos Malay people.
The earliest group of settlers were brought to Cocos Island in 1826 as workers by the trader, Alexander Hare. They were of Chinese, Papuan, Indian but mostly Malay heritage.
During the tour, you'll discover about the Cocos Malay's tradition and their beautiful culture. You'll learn how to weave coconut leaves to make baskets, get to try the local delicacies and learn some basic Malay words taught by the elderly in Home Island.
Make sure to wear proper attire and ask for permission before photographing when visiting.
2. . Visit the Big Barge Art Centre
The Big Barge Art Centre is a restored old barge - exhibiting local artworks made from wreckage or cargo that washed ashore from the east wind currents. The owner of this rustic art gallery is Cocos' local talent, Emma Washer.
She restored the Big Barge, which is West and Home Island's former ferry that used to connect the two locations a while ago.
Now the barge sells a vast collection of art pieces from local talents including acrylic paintings, carvings, and textiles.
The Big Barge Art Centre organises workshops for local artists and outdoor movie screenings throughout the year.
Cocos island is an ideal location for kitesurfing. Visitors can learn correct techniques from local experts on how to kitesurf safely while having fun.
Cocos Islands have an average of 20 knots in winter and sit right in the middle of the winter trade winds, which is why between July, August and September of each year is a perfect time to kitesurf.
In the warm cerulean tropical waters of Cocos island, you can see reef sharks and turtles. And if you're lucky, you'll get to meet the beautiful giant manta rays - make sure to say hi to them!
How To Get To Cocos Keeling Islands?
Currently the only way to get to the exotic cocos keeling islands is by flying with Virgin Australia, using your own private jet or hitching a ride on a sailing boat heading that way or one of the infrequent cargo vessels departing from Australia.
Virgin Australia operates two flights per week to the Cocos Keeling Islands, one on a Tuesday and the other on a Saturday. One flight goes via Christmas Island while the other is direct.
This means if you want to stay less than a full week, one of your flights will be via Christmas Island thanks to the triangular route.
Getting to Cocos can be an expensive flight, costing at least $1,000 per passenger from the East of Australia. The best way to fly more affordable is to use your Virgin Velocity points with a return ticket costing around 18,000 points and $100 in taxes.
Currently Qantas doesn't provide service on this route.
Do I need a passport for Cocos Island?
Part of Australia, no passport or visa is required when travelling from the mainland. You will however need to provide identification such as an Australian drivers license or proof of age card. International travellers will need to show their passport to ensure they have a valid visa for staying in Australia.