Answers to some
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Christmas Island?
During this pandemic, the only way to Christmas Island is from Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia flies to Christmas Island twice weekly on Tuesdays (direct to CI, via Cocos Keeling Islands on way back to Perth) and Fridays (via Cocos Keeling Islands, but direct to Perth on way back). Book with Virgin Australia. We can organise a private charter flight for you (just ask).
All guests require a travel permit to enter Christmas Island, but if you’re allowed into Western Australia without quarantining (or have been in WA for 14 days) then you are allowed to get this permit. Getting the permit is easy, online and usually takes less than 3 days. Our WA traveller info sheet contains all the links, and we’re here to help.
How much does it cost?
Please check our Book Now page for current pricing.
Can I bring my kids?
Absolutely! Swell Lodge is great for kids aged 5 years or older, and many families have stayed at Swell Lodge and loved it. Some parents have come without their kids, only to return with them a few months later to share the magic of the up-close wildlife, introduce them to snorkelling in the cove and so on. It’s wonderland for kids.
For kids aged between 5 and 7, you’ll need to bring a suitable child seat as they can not be hired on-island. Maximum 3 guests per eco-chalet (including kids): Our king bed can swap for 2 single beds and the couch folds into a third bed. Kids are charged full adult price. Booking for more than 3 guests requires booking both eco-chalets, even if all staying together.
If you have kids under 5 years old, you can still stay at Swell Lodge, however to prevent annoyance to other guests, we require that you book both eco-chalets so you have the whole lodge to yourself. Our king bed can swap for 2 single beds and the couch folds into a third bed. Kids are charged full adult price. Booking for more than 3 guests requires booking both eco-chalets, even if all staying together.
When is the best time to travel?
While a lot of guests come to see the red crab migration, it’s important to realise that Christmas Island is full of red crabs, every day of every year, and all-year is a good time to visit. While red crabs are more prolific in the wet season, even during the dry season you will still see plenty of them, so you don’t have to come ‘during crab migration’ just to see our famous crabs. While a spectacular event to witness, it is hard to predict when the migration will occur (sometime between October and January, lasting for about 6 weeks), and there are drawbacks like road closures, rain etc which may affect your stay during this time.
The wet season is typically between November and April, with the highest rainfall generally occurring in February/March. This coincides with crab season and whale shark season, so Nov-Jan are some of our busiest months, however April-August is another peak tourist season as the weather is lovely and the jungle is still green from the recent rains. Sept-Oct is getting drier so the vegetation becomes a little browner but the weather is generally sunny and perfect.
Read our ‘Booking during Red Crab migration‘ sheet for more info.
When is whale shark season?
Whalesharks are more common between November and February, but there’s never any guarantee – some years there are huge numbers, sometimes not that many. 2019-20 was an amazing whaleshark season and some have already been seen this year so fingers crossed it’s another winner! Imagine swimming with a whale shark in crystal clear, warm waters, where the whale shark is just relaxed and feeding, hanging around curiously for 30-min+ sometimes, rather than trying to keep up with it as it migrates up the Australian coast!
Can I book private tours?
Your included daily guided tours will usually be shared with other Swell Lodge guests, however we can organise a guide and vehicle just for you, subject to availability and at an additional cost.
If you’re looking for something extra-special, we can also organise exclusive booking of both eco-chalets and hand-craft a unique, unforgettable itinerary for celebrities, royals and other VIPs.
Is there phone reception?
Happily, there is no mobile cell phone coverage at Swell Lodge, so you won’t be getting any unwanted work calls. There is an internet VoIP phone in each eco-chalet however, from which you can make and receive calls if you’d like, and if you choose to connect your smartphone to the complimentary Wi-Fi, then you’ll also be able to send messages and place calls using apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and so on. We suggest not to though – it’s a rare and precious opportunity to truly disconnect out here and unwind.
In and around the township there is limited Telstra mobile phone coverage for voice and sms only – no data.
Is there power in the eco-chalets?
What do you think this is? Camping? Of course there is power, courtesy of the solar panel array mounted on the roof of each eco-chalet feeding that beautiful clean sunlight into a bank of super-high-tech lithium batteries for your usage day and night.
Do keep in mind that being solar-powered, excessive use – especially during extended periods of cloudy weather – can deplete the battery reserves. It is theoretically possible to even run out. However, you are able to track power usage and battery levels using the Swell Lodge app on the complimentary iPad so you’ll be able to see if you are running low on power and perhaps turn off or unplug a few things before that happens. We can always come out and connect up a portable generator to top-up your battery if required, but we really shouldn’t need to.
What's the climate like?
Christmas Island is a tropical paradise where the temperature and humidity doesn’t vary much throughout the year. It never gets cold, nor uncomfortably hot: It’s T-shirt and shorts weather all year. August/September are our coldest months where the temperature could drop as low as about 23 degrees Celsius. April/May are our warmer months but even then the temperature rarely climbs above 29 degrees Celsius, and the ceiling fan and ocean breeze at Swell Lodge is more than adequate for keeping guests cool.
Humidity usually stays between 80% to 90%, and the island experiences both wet and dry seasons. The wet season is typically between November and April, with the highest rainfall generally occurring in February/March. As the wet season coincides with the famous red crab migration and is also peak whale shark season, it is still a popular time to visit Christmas Island.
The crystal-clear ocean surrounding Christmas Island remains the perfect temperature to swim, snorkel and dive in all year round, always a balmy 26-29 degrees Celsius.
What level of fitness is required?
That depends on what activities you want to do while you’re here.
Part of the joy of this secret paradise is that so few tourists visit each year – just a couple of hundred! So while we have some really easy walking tracks, others can be a little more rustic with tripping hazards like tree roots or limestone rocks to tread carefully over. We’re very mindful of our guest’s abilities however, and can tweak the daily program to suit – i.e. if you’re less steady on your feet then we won’t do some of the more adventurous walks, and all our guides are super-patient and happy to take as much time as needed and can offer alternative activities if required.
Getting to your eco-chalet itself involves a flat 100m walking trail through the jungle from the car park, however your guide will take your luggage down for you in a trolley.
During the red crab migration (sometime between November and January and can last for up to 6 weeks), many roads are closed and so to reach some locations can require more walking if you still wish to visit them.
It’s best if you can let us know ahead of time about any physical limitations you might have so we can tailor your program accordingly.
Are there beaches close to Swell Lodge?
Merrial’s Beach is a beautifully secluded little low-tide beach about 15 minutes walk from the lodge which our guides can show you. It’s a nice spot to cool off but unless it’s very calm, snorkelling is best done back in the main cove.
Is there air conditioning at Swell Lodge?
No. Each eco-chalet is equipped with a super-modern, high-efficiency Haiku celing fan above the bed delivering a strong cooling breeze even if the ocean doesn’t. We’ve never had a guest complain that it’s too hot, and we have had several request thicker blankets!
Can I surf at Swell Lodge?
No. There are no surfable wave breaks at Swell Lodge.
How far is Swell Lodge from town?
Swell Lodge is siutated on the pristine west coast of Christmas Island, inside the national park, a pleasant half hour drive from town (more if there’s a lot of crabs out).
What if I can't come due to COVID-19?
We understand that coronavirus can make you a little uneasy about booking travel, so we’ve made our bookings 100% refundable up to 14 days before arrival and 100% transferable right up until your scheduled arrival if government coronavirus regulations prevent you from being able to get to Christmas Island.
Travellers still need ‘approval’ to travel here from our local administration and to return to WA without having to quarantine, but it’s an easy, online form and usually takes less than 3 days to gain approval. Download our WA traveller information sheet.
Christmas Island is coronavirus-free, and we have a strict Covid-19 safety plan in place at Swell Lodge, as well as heightened disinfection cleaning, hand sanitisers in all vehicles and eco-chalets etc.
No refund will be given for events beyond our control, such as non-arrival, unused services, unused nights, itinerary changes, or additional expenses incurred as a result of airline or weather disruption. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance when travelling to Christmas Island to cover contingencies.