Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cocos (Keeling) Islands are a group of 27 idyllic coral islands, of which two are populated with around 550 people living on Home Island and West Island. The Islands form a horseshoe-shaped atoll surrounding a lagoon. North Keeling Island, which is 30km from the main group was declared a National Park in 1995 and is administered by Parks Australia.
The Cocos Malay people are the descendants of the original settlers who came to the islands in 1826. They speak a dialect of the Malay language and have a unique island culture that reflects their diverse origins and Islamic traditions.
The major industry is tourism and Government services. Windsurfers and kite surfers visit the islands with their peak season coinciding with the Trade Winds during July to October.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands have a tropical monsoonal climate with prevailing south-east winds. August is the coolest month with average maximum at 27°C and minimum 23°C. Rainfall peaks from April to June, with a low during September to December.