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Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Red Crab Migration

  • Golden Bosun

  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands

  • Christmas Island Rainforest

  • Frigatebird

Indian Ocean Experiences

Christmas Island Birdwatching

From: $2,225 USD

Duration: 8 days/7 nights

Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.

Departs: On Request

Interests: Birds.

Christmas Island is one of Australia's best birdwatching destinations. An internationally renowned seabird rookery, the island attracts about 80,000 nesting seabirds every year. You will have the opportunity to see the world's rarest booby and frigatebird!

  • There are 23 breeding or resident species of birds on Christmas Island, including nine species of seabird (two species and two subspecies are endemic) and 14 land birds (three species and four subspecies are endemic). Birds can be seen and heard all over the island at any time of day and most will let you get quite close to observe them.

  • Target species include the mesmerising Golden Bosun, Christmas Island Hawk-Owl, Abbott’s Booby, Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby, Christmas Island Frigatebird, Christmas Island Goshawk, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Christmas Island Emerald Dove and Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon.

  • Snorkel above untouched corals and hundreds of species of tropical fish, and enjoy visiting the Island’s glorious deserted beaches and fascinating cave systems and geology.

About Indian Ocean Experiences:

Proudly calling herself a local, Lisa Preston founded Indian Ocean Experiences in 2011, being one of the first operators to offer expertly guided land experiences across Christmas Island, centred around sustainable and conservation focussed touring. As specialists in tailor-made itineraries across passion points such as birdwatching, diving, photography, geology and culture, the team prides itself on delivering genuine experiences for guests, connecting with passionate locals who love sharing their stories.

Price is based on 2 adults travelling on the same dates and are subject to availability. Price includes return airfares from Perth including airline taxes, 7 nights accommodation, Orientation Tour, Nature Tour, Full Day Twitch Tour, Hawk-Owl Tour, Snorkelling Tour and 7 days 4WD car hire. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2024) and may differ when you book your travel.

Download Birdlist


Tour day-by-day

  • Orientation Tour

    Christmas Island Birdwatching is a 7 night inclusive package that features a range of tours designed to immerse you in the island’s incredible landscapes, history, culture and of course wildlife! The order of the tours below can be adjusted according to your needs.

    Orientation Tour

    You will discover the rich history, multicultural community and the diverse range of activities available on the island with a two hour orientation guided experience. Aside from covering the places of interest, suitable shopping and eating places, you will learn about the layout of the island, history of settlement, subsequent developments and discussion of activity options according to your passions or interests.

    Nature Tour

    Venturing through Jurassic rainforests, spotting a myriad of bird species and learning about the island's most famous clawed residents are the focus of this tour. Your first stop is The Dales, a highlight on the western side of the island which has been designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

    This network of seven watercourses is characterised by incredible forests, gorges and streams that are sourced from underwater caves that flow into the ocean. Natural springs weave through to a mystical rainforest, canopied by gigantic Tahitian Chestnut trees. This is a terrific opportunity to spot Christmas Island's endemic blue crabs, the Brown Gudgeon (the island's only native freshwater fish), herons, egrets, and tropicbirds.

    The next stop is the The Blowholes. Nowhere else on the island are the forces of nature so evident. You will feel the rhythmic waves, forcing water through the myriad of eroded cliffs that provide a theatrical experience. You will then head to the peace and tranquility of Margaret Knoll to view the rugged coastline from above, giving us stunning views across the Eastern Coast of the island. This is a hotspot for seabirds including frigatebirds, Golden Bosuns and Brown & Red-footed Boobies.

    Departures 9:00am or 2:00pm

  • Full-day Twitch Tour

    On this epic day of birdwatching, you will visit all the mainstay hangouts to identify as many of the endemic and regular visitors as possible with your expert local guide. The itinerary can be adapted depending on which species are on target lists and based upon the window of time guests are prepared to dedicate to finding unusual birds, especially if looking to build an Australian list.

    Typical targets for day include:

    • Frigatebirds (Greater, Lesser, Christmas Island)
    • Boobies (Brown, Abbott’s and Red-footed)
    • Tropicbirds (Red Tailed, White-tailed/Golden Bosun) 
    • Emerald Dove and Imperial Pigeon
    • Christmas Island Thrush & Christmas Island White-eye
    • Common Noddy

    We also look for the more elusive birds such as the Christmas Island Goshawk and any rare or visiting vagrants. To view the full Christmas Island birdlist, please click here.

    Full Day (7 hours)

  • Hawk Owl Tour

    The subject for this experience is one of Australia's rarest raptors, the endemic Christmas Island Hawk Owl. Measuring less than 30cm in height, this bird boasts extremely beautiful plumage and piercing large yellow eyes. These territorial birds only breed once per year, with the current population approximately 1,200 individuals, placing them on the vulnerable bird list.

    The best way to view the Christmas Island Hawk Owl is to go with your local expert guide who knows where this elusive species likes to hang out amongst the dense forests and coastal terraces.

    Please note: rain during the day and into the evening can reduce chances of sightings and the tour may have to be cancelled/rescheduled at short notice.

    Time: Dependent on season and location of owls
    Schedule: Evening
    Places: Dependent on season and location of owls


  • Snorkelling tour

    Snorkelling opportunities are plentiful and spectacular around Christmas Island, with this tour providing you the chance to see the incredible drop offs, a war wreck and countless marine species. You will be mesmerised by the fringing reefs, with 90 coral species and 650 species, including parrotfish, surgeonfish, wrasse, butterflyfish, groupers, angelfish and reef sharks. Dolphins, turtle, Manta Rays and Whale Sharks can also be seen on an opportunistic basis.

    Departures Thursday 2pm


  • Optional extension

    Cocos (Keeling) Islands Birdwatching

    Why not extend your birdwatching adventure to include the Cocos (Keeling) Islands! The Cocos (Keeling) Islands play an important role in the routes that shorebirds take during their annual migration, with 39 breeding or resident species of birds on the atolls.

    The Cocos Islands have one endemic sub-species, the Cocos Buff-banded Rail, and due to a successful translocation program, is now able to be seen foraging on the edge of the vegetation around the picnic area on Direction Island.  North Keeling National Park supports many of the vagrant species as it is remote to the other 26 islands. Cocos (Keeling) has boasted several new sightings for Australia in the last few years, including Mugimaki Flycatcher and Common Teal. 

  • Tour details

    Accommodation: The Sunset Hotel, Oceanview Room. Single premium available on application. Other accommodation options available on request.
    Fitness Requirements: Good mobility and stability essential as walking is required. Swimming experience essential for snorkelling tour. All staff are certified snorkel instructors and guides.
    Flights: Virgin Australia operates flights to Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands twice per week ex Perth. Return flights are included as part of this package.

    How you'll be making a positive impact

    We have aligned our sustainability vision with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    E-WEB-Goal-15Citizen Science with Indian Ocean Experiences

    Guests are able to contribute to a reptile census and hands-on conservation activities for the endemic Blue-tailed Skink and Lister’s Gecko during Citizen Science Week. During Bird & Nature Week, guests work alongside scientists banding birds, collecting data on various endemic species and participating in nightly presentations about restoring the ecology of the island.


    E-WEB-Goal-14Cleaning Up and Making Art from Christmas Island Debris

    Due to surrounding currents and winds, the beaches of Christmas Island are often awash with masses of marine debris. Unfortunately, across locations such as Greta Beach, it is not uncommon to see turtle nesting habitat covered in marine debris. As part of Indian Ocean Experiences’ Dolly Beach Tour, guests are encouraged to grab a bag and search for unusual treasures that the tide has bought in including flotsam carried by ocean currents from regions far away.

    Once educated on the type of marine debris deposited and harmful effect on marine species, almost 100% of guests are eager and keen to pick up bags of rubbish.

    Indian Ocean Experiences’ staff often volunteer during community organised beach clean-ups, with the organisation providing equipment such as bags, gloves and vehicles to ferry volunteers. The team works closely with Tangaroa Blue when on island for Christmas Island Marine Debris Week, promoting the event alongside the Christmas Island Tourism Association. It is estimated that Indian Ocean Experiences removes over one tonne of marine debris every year.

    Guests are actively encouraged to purchase local art made by organisations such as Eco-Crab Industries, which turns plastic and debris into things such as building blocks, bowls, coasters, and other artisan items.

    E-WEB-Goal-17Developing Partnerships To Meet Sustainability Goals

    Indian Ocean Experiences have developed a number of partnerships with key environmental organisations on Christmas Island, including Christmas Island National Park, Tangaroa Blue and Clean Up Australia. Activites include the removal of marine debris from beaches and tree planting as part of Christmas Island Citizen Science Week.


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