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The Islands With just 144 visitors at any one time, you’re more likely to see a turtle in the lagoon than another pair of fins.

It’s a simple, laid-back way of life here. A place where time seems to slow down with idyllic natural surrounds and friendly locals who love to host. Of the 27 islands, just two are inhabited – West Island and Home Island. The rest are waiting to be explored. The Cocos Keeling Islands have a total population of 600 people, including around 450 Cocos Malay. 


West Island Covering a 10 km stretch end-to-end, West Island is best explored by car. Or if you're game, by bike.

Explore palm jungle tracks, while away hours on endless white-sand beaches or spot tropical marine life at Trannies and Pulu Maraya.

For birdwatchers, West Island has some amazing spots to see special vagrant species. And you can’t forget the beautiful blue-tailed endemic skinks on neighbouring islands Pulu Belan and Pulu Belan Madar.

West Island Freshwater Lake Drone Shots - Credit Rik Soderlund1

A day on Cocos Keeling Islands

Join Strick & Fran for a look at island life.

Adventure travellers can use West Island as a base for some of the best fishing and snorkelling in Australia, to kite surf during the trade wind season, and to explore the fascinating remnants of historical wars. There’s also the world’s only golf course set over an international runway.

West Island Dine under the stars, try traditional Cocos Malay cuisine or pick up made-with-love takeaways.

Choose from a handful of small, family-run eateries and join the locals for a cold one at the Cocos Club.

the islands 3

Home Island

Home of the Cocos Malay people, Home Island offers a cultural world away from West Island.

Home Island Experience the unique Cocos Malay culture, which follows the Sunni branch of Islam.

Jump on a buggy and explore Home Island’s stunning foreshores and surrounding lagoon, and bring your reef shoes to take a short walk over to Prison Island on low tide. 

Visit the Museum and Visitor’s Centre to learn about the remarkable history of Cocos Keeling Islands and the war-time dramas that played out here, including Sydney’s defeat of the Emden in the Battle of Cocos which was the Royal Australian Navy’s first victory and the end to the Emden’s dominance in the waters surrounding the islands. 

Home Island History lovers will also enjoy a stroll through the palm jungle to tour or stay at Oceania House.

The 1893 federation style mansion offers a fascinating look at the Clunies-Ross dynasty, and offers visitors the chance to wander the halls as Queen Elizabeth II did on her visit in 1954. 

Home Island has a small shopping precinct with oriental and western groceries, fishing gear, hardware and local products. When visiting, please dress with respect to the local culture with your shoulders and knees covered at all times. Home Island is a short 20-minute ferry ride away from West Island, with ferries running six days a week.

Two Jukong boats on turquoise waters

It is rare, in this day and age, to come upon a place so delightful in both looks and temperament that, on the very first sighting, one’s jaw does genuinely drop.

Georgia Rickard Australian Traveller

If going with the flow is how you roll, you will love the Cocos Keeling Islands. They have a small – very small – country town vibe. Your activities revolve around the exquisite lagoon whether they be snorkelling, diving, fishing, parasailing, or just relaxing under a coconut palm reading a book while inhaling the frangipani infused air

Steve Klein Curious Campers

Scuba diving at Cocos Keeling islands is nothing short of spectacular. Fabulous visibility, pristine coral reefs, abundant marine life and all the trappings of a tropical paradise without the flashy resorts. Yes, it is isolated and it takes some effort to get there, but this is more than offset by the quality of the diving, the friendly locals and the very laid back and relaxing ambience of the entire place. It is quirky, fun and a great place for a holiday. We will return and soon

Phillip Tubb Melbourne

Don’t miss this place. My wife and I recently spent a fantastic week on Cocos Keeling Islands. We took the opportunity to take the twice weekly ferry service from West Island to Direction Island... we loved it so much we came back for a second time.

Mike G Joondalup

Home Island is definitely quieter than West Island with religion a big part of daily life but the locals were so friendly and welcoming. It was so nice to be able to swim straight off the shore in amazing turquoise water while we cooked BBQs at sunset. Highly recommended!