Christmas Island – the one in the Indian Ocean, not the Pacific – is one of the most unexpected scuba diving destinations you will ever visit. Closer to Indonesia than any other country, it became an Australian territory for purely practical reasons.
Only 360 kilometres from Jakarta, the island looks and feels far more Asian than Australian. But like Australia, it is crammed with natural resources. Covered in dense rainforest, there are indigenous birds (the Christmas Island Frigate and the Abbott's Booby), indigenous flora and the island's most famous residents, land crabs. There are 18 different land crabs including the ubiquitous red crab whose mass migration makes the news annually.
The marine realm is just as bountiful with huge schools of tropical fish, interesting critters – this is one of the few places where you can see the spectacular dragon moray eel – fabulous cave systems that are shallow and safe for divers to explore and masses of pelagics. There are spinner dolphins, bronze whaler sharks and if you go in the right season, there are whalesharks.
But more than any of that, Christmas Island has pristine reefs with some of the most perfect hard corals we have ever seen and, for much of the year, 40 metre plus visibility.