The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean, composed of one island. It has a population of 2,072 residents who live in a number of “settlement areas” on the northern tip of the island: Flying Fish Cove (also known as Kampong), Silver City, Poon Saan, and Drumsite. The majority of the population are Chinese Australian of Malaysian Chinese descent. It was named “Christmas Island” because it was discovered on Christmas Day (25 December 1643).
The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism among its flora and fauna, which is of interest to scientists and naturalists. Sixty-three percent of its 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is an Australian national park. There exist large areas of primary monsoonal forest.
Christmas Island is well known for its biological diversity. There are many rare species of animals and plants on the island, making nature-walking a popular activity. Along with the diversity of species, many different types of caves exist, such as plateau caves, coastal caves, raised coastal caves and alcoves, sea caves, fissure caves, collapse caves and basalt caves; most of these are located near the sea and have been formed by the action of water. Altogether, there are 42 caves on the island, with Lost Lake Cave, Daniel Roux Cave and Full Frontal Cave being the most well-known. The many freshwater springs include Hosnies Spring Ramsar, which also has a mangrove stand. The Dales is a rainforest in the western part of the island and consists of seven deep valleys, all of which were formed by spring streams. Hugh’s Dale waterfall is part of this area and is a popular attraction. The annual breeding migration of the red crabs is a popular event. Fishing is another common activity. There are many distinctive species of fish in the oceans surrounding Christmas Island. Snorkeling and swimming in the ocean are two other activities that are extremely popular. Walking trails are also very popular, for there are many beautiful trails surrounded by extravagant flora and fauna. Sixty-three percent of the island is national park making it one of the main attractions to experience when visiting.
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