Start and end in Perth! With the Photography tour Christmas Island Photo Tour, you have a 8 days tour package taking you through Perth, Australia and Christmas Island,.
2,600km northwest of Perth lies Australia’s best-kept secret Christmas Island: ‘The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’ – a stunning tropical paradise full of rare and unusual birds, incomprehensible numbers of crabs, waterfalls, turtle-nesting beaches and some of the world’s best snorkelling over crystal-clear, warm, tropical reefs. This excitingly unique and completely unrivalled week-long photography tour includes 4WD-ing, boat trips, snorkelling,
Day 01: Welcome to Christmas Island
Perth to Christmas Island
On Tuesdays, Virgin flies directly to Christmas Island from Perth, touching down in the late afternoon. Once landed we’ll pile into our three 4WD vehicles and head down to ‘The Sunset’, our beautiful ocean-front, air-conditioned hotel accommodation for the week, located in the main settlement on Christmas Island. We won’t stay long because the sun will be just about to set so we’ll whisk you off to the historic Taj Jin House at Smiths Point, the grounds of the former British District Officers Residence and now the community museum and function room. We’ll have welcome drinks out on the balcony before a quick introductory slide show and photography crash course inside. After the slide show the local catering company will provide an amazing roast dinner as we celebrate the start of what will be an amazing week ahead of us!
Day 02: Lily and Ethel Beach, Snorkel
Those keen for a sunrise shoot can come with us down to the cove just before dawn to capture the flowing movement of the ocean as it swirls past the unique rocky outcrops in the shallows. We’ll then enjoy breakfast together before heading off to Lily Beach & Ethel Beach for this morning’s photography adventure! It’s a short 4WD trip to get to the start of the boardwalk, but on the way we know of a place where Red-footed Boobies nest in trees beside the road, and if we’re lucky they may even be hopping awkwardly around on the ground looking for nest-building sticks, completely oblivious to us as we walk right up to them to photograph their colourful faces. The boardwalk itself is lovely, but hop off part way (we’ve got special permission) and carefully follow us through the maze of limestone, punctuated by erupting blow-holes, around to where scores of fearless Brown Boobies and Red-tailed Tropicbirds nest right on the ground, oblivious to us and our cameras beside them. Some will have eggs and even chicks! We’ll have lunch back at Settlement and in the afternoon we’ll wander down to flying fish cove, don our mask and fins, and slip into the 28 degree, crystal clear water. Few places on Earth can boast a snorkelling ‘house-reef’ as incredible as this, and surely none so accessible, with a kaleidoscope of colourful fish and coral all around. Later, we’ll try for a shot of the sunset colours behind silhouetted palm trees at the nearby Rocky Point at sun-down, and then finish up with an amazing dinner at the lively ‘Golden Bosun’ pub on the corner.
Day 03: National Parks tour
This morning we’ve organised a very special experience for you: a rare photographic opportunity and a chance to help save a species. As a treat this morning we’ve organised one of the National Park rangers to present an exclusive slideshow for us, teaching us about Christmas Island’s endemic species and their conservation. After a quick break we’ll then take a look at the photo organising software Adobe Lightroom, showing how you how to use this program to get the most out of your photos. Following a picnic lunch we’ll then drive out to ‘The Pink House’ – a research centre in the middle of the rainforest, where CI National Parks have just finished building a series of big enclosures for the release of their captive-bred population Blue-Tailed Skink, an endemic species which is now believed to be extinct in the wild. Apart from a small population held in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo for safekeeping, the lizards here in this breeding program are the only ones left on the planet. We’ve negotiated a great opportunity here: if we all spend a couple of hours helping National Parks with their current projects like collecting bugs, cleaning enclosures and whatever other jobs need doing when we visit, we’ll have access to get some fantastic shots of these impossibly rare, colourful skinks as they scamper around their enclosures. We’re even allowed to climb into the enclosures to get some great macro close-ups! Part of the deal is we offer any cool skink shots to NPW to help their conservation efforts and Chris Bray Photography will also donate $1000 to help National Parks continue the project. All in all an exciting, hands-on, and helpful day of conservation & photography! This evening’s sunset shoot will be at Rocky Point before dinner at a different local restaurant.
Day 04: Greta and Dolly Beach
We’ll shoot the sunrise through the cliff-sided walls of Lily Beach before another pool-side breakfast. You’ll need some energy as today we’re driving the jaw-clenching 4WD track down to Greta Beach, halting every couple of minutes for one of you to hop out and usher red crabs off the road. The beach is amazing with Noddy Terns nesting in the surrounding cliffs, thousands of adorable little hermit crabs clambering around rocks, and for those who love beach-combing, the amount of stuff that ocean currents wash up onto this remote beach is unbelievable. After Greta Beach, we drive onwards to the start of the 2km track (most boardwalk) through the rainforest to Dolly Beach. The walk itself is wonderful, leading around the huge trees, vines and fungi and filled with a variety of crab species. Dolly Beach is one of the prettiest and most secluded beaches on Christmas Island. Deserted most of the time, it has the whitest sand on Christmas Island, a fresh water stream, and is overhung by idyllic coconut palms. Turtles nest on the beach year-round too – look for the tracks of nesting adults and emerging hatchlings amongst the drifted logs and coconuts! It was ranked Australia’s 7th best beach in 2016 (and if you are staying on with us for Cocos (Keeling) Island tour you’ll be able to check out Australia’s #1 beach ‘Cossies Beach’). Tonight we’ll head to a breathtaking lookout at Territory Day Park to enjoy sunset drinks and a BBQ dinner while gazing out over the bay far below. With frigate birds, boobies, bats and tropicbirds (including the stunning, endemic Golden Bosun variety) soaring majestically right past at eye-level, and the Christmas Island famous red crabs munching on the leaf-litter at your feet, the magic of this incredible place will capture your heart.
Day 05: Blowholes and Lookout
After sunrise and a hearty cooked breakfast down at the waterfront of Flying Fish Cove, this morning we’ll divide our time by finishing our 1-on-1 sessions with you all and snorkeling down at the cove before we have lunch at a lovely local cafe and set off for the afternoon activities. This afternoon we’ll first drive out to Margaret Knoll Lookout where Christmas Island’s many and varied bird species soar past at eye level. We’ll then continue onwards towards Christmas Island’s Blow Holes, but on the way we’ll hopefully be able to stop and crouch, cameras in hand, beside some natural pools of water as flocks of soaring frigate birds swoop down right in front of us and dramatically scoop up beakfulls of water to drink on the wing! Amazing! Our next stop will be at the most beautiful strangler fig on Christmas Island. Red crabs will be crawling around it’s roots, the vibrant green moss will sparkle like an emerald in the forest, and the twists and turns of it’s trunk system will have you mesmerised! As we drive closer to the Blow Holes you’ll start to hear the roar of the ocean being pushed up through the narrow tunnels in the limestone rocks. It’s a beautiful boardwalk and viewing platform where, depending on what the ocean swell is doing, the explosive spouts of water can tower up to 20 meters high. It is quite a spectacle in the late afternoon when the sinking rays of sun highlight the mist and spray. It’s ‘movie night’ tonight and we have sponsored it! All the locals gather at the outdoor (and only) cinema on Christmas Island to watch the latest movie – if the plane delivers it in time! We’ll shout you tickets and one of the homemade choc-tops too!
Day 06: Boat Excursion and the Dales
Boat Excursion & the Dales After another pool-side continental breakfast at ‘The Sunset’, today we’re splitting the group in half. Half of you will go with Jess to visit a few local favourites: the ‘Sitting Room’ and ‘The Grotto’. You’ll head down a secret path where, perched on rocks above the waves, you can photograph birds in the air as well as nesting tropicbirds and boobies in the surrounding shrubs. After sitting here a while you’ll understand why it’s called the ‘Sitting Room’. After this, Jess will guide you along a little crab-covered track to ‘The Grotto’ – a wonderfully secluded, flooded cave opening with a white sandy bottom glowing blue. The rise and fall of the ocean swirls through it like a refreshing, mid-jungle spa, so make sure you bring your swimmers! Meanwhile, the other half of you will accompany Chris for a morning out with Hama, the best dive-boat operator on Christmas Island. You’ll explore the coastline from the sea and scoot around to the NW corner of Christmas Island to a number of stunning snorkelling sites. The water is the clearest you’ll ever see! Depending on the weather there’s the possibility of snorkelling over shipwrecks and maybe even swimming with Spinner Dolphins up close in the clear blue water! Chris can teach you how to duck-dive under for some close-up underwater photos if you’re keen. After our adventures we’ll all reunite for a late picnic lunch before setting off on our 4WD trip across to ‘The Dales’ on the far side of Christmas Island. As the saying goes, “up-hill and down-dales”, this corner of Christmas Island has several little gullies through which streams gently meander amidst what looks like an enchanted forest of trees with ornate buttress roots and fungi. The boardwalk leads us in and around beneath a jungle canopy filled with bird-calls and up to a picturesque waterfall. Be careful not to tread on any of the thousands of big red crabs – or the slightly shyer blue ones – dotting the landscape and pathway. If we keep our eyes open we might even spot the largest land-living arthropod in the world – a giant Robber Crab (aka Coconut Crab) – with a leg span of almost 1m! Christmas Island has the world’s largest and densest population of these colourful giants, and to be able to walk right up to them and macro photograph their alien-like features is simply amazing. We may even get to enjoy the sun setting over the ocean from Martin Point Lookout, beside a spectacular blowhole, and when we’re done photographing we’ll head back to our town for a hearty dinner.
Day 07: Boat Excursion and the Grotto
This morning is the reverse of yesterday morning, where those who went snorkelling now go to ‘Sitting Rock’ and ‘The Grotto’, and the others go on the boat to the dive sites, reuniting again for lunch. This afternoon we’ll be checking in with National Parks for a unique and close up experience with orphaned birds like the Abbots Boobies, tropicbirds and Frigate birds. We’ll arrive at feeding time so you can photograph them as well as hear about all their conservation and the effort being made to release these birds back into the wild. This is not something that is available to the public and we are very fortunate for Parks to allow us into the enclosure to photograph these endangered species up close! We’ll enjoy a gourmet meal as the final farewell to what has been the most amazing week.
Day 08: Fly home
We’ve organised a great cooked breakfast for our last morning. We’ll head off after we have checked out mid-morning to photograph any places we might have been unable to tick off until now, and visit the Christmas Island Museum and visitors center for any scriveners. Afternoon go to the airport. Today’s flight goes back to Perth via Cocos (Keeling) Island.
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– Meeting and assistance by our representative.
– 07 nights accommodation as per program
– Meals: Breakfasts & Dinners
– All activities during the tour as per mentioned
– All present government taxes.
• International Flights.
• Personal Expenses.
• Camera / Video Camera Fees.
• Medical Aid.
• Travel Insurance.
• Accommodation in good hotels.
• Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.
• Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost. – Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.
• A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.
• If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.
• Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.
• In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.
• In Asia, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.
• While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.
• Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.
• In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.