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Australia’s treasure

Indian Ocean Territories

The IOTs are a spectacular part of Australia’s diverse natural world and have a short, yet fascinating, history of settlement beginning in the early 1800s. The history of the region offers gripping tales of discovery, indentured labour, wartime occupation and shipwrecks.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located 2,750 kilometres from Perth and consist of 27 low-lying islands. The 500 residents of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located on two of the islands: Home Island and West Island. The population is 80% Malay with the remaining population identifying as of European descent. The CKI is a pristine environment that encircles turquoise lagoon waters. North Keeling Island is a World Heritage Reserve and is home to a large variety of bird life, including the endemic Cocos Buff-Banded Rail.

Small island with coconut trees at Indian Ocean Cocos Keeling Islands. Photo: Karen Willshaw.

Christmas Island

Christmas Island is the tip of a 5,000-metre submarine volcano that is roughly 60-million years old. Rising to a peak of 361 metres above sea level, the island has extraordinary access to the depths of the ocean and its marine creatures, as well as world-class Ramsar rainforests. The island’s 1800 residents are a world-class example of a respectful and tolerant community with Chinese, Malay, European and other cultures. This island is a treasure of Australian egalitarianism and fairness with Muslim, Christian, Taoist and Buddhist faiths celebrating together throughout the year.

The annual red crab migration is an internationally renowned natural event on Christmas Island, where millions of crabs travel through the jungle to the ocean, where they mate and then spawn by moonlight between October and January each year.

Crab migration in Christmas Island. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.
RDO IOT logo

Regional Development Organisation

The Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation (RDO) is made up of local leaders from the communities of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island. The role of this important group is to work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the economic development of this beautiful region. The RDO is part of the Regional Development Australia Program.

The recently approved Strategic Plans for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands provide a strategic framework to build Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories with strong economies through jobs growth, economic growth and capable people.

Led by the Administrator of the IOT, Natasha Griggs, the senior Australian Government representative in the IOT, the RDO committee is a dedicated group of community volunteers who represent a range of groups and interests. The RDO engages with IOT businesses, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders to investigate new opportunities to grow local jobs and industries. It has a clear focus on developing strong and confident island economies to sustain and build the future of this special part of Australia

The close proximity of the IOTs to Asia creates incredible opportunities for the RDO to make strong connections with international trade partners and prospective investors.

Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation Committee.

Office Holders

Portrait photo of RDO Chair Natasha G.

Natasha Griggs

Chair of the RDO and Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Portrait photo of RDO Tresurer Farzian Z.

Farzian Zainal

Treasurer and Christmas Island community representative member 

Portrait photo of RDO member Scott d.

Scott de Kruijff

Secretary and Christmas Island community representative member

Committee Members

Portrait photo of RDO member Kelli H.

Kelli Hayward

Cocos Keeling Islands community representative member

Photo of David McKinney

David McKinney

Cocos Keeling Islands community representative member

Portrait photo of RDO member Khaliesha A.

Khaliesha Amin

Christmas Island community representative member

Portrait photo of RDO member Thomas B.

Thomas Battcher

Cocos Keeling Islands community representative member

On behalf of the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation, I wish to welcome you to our new website which is your gateway to Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

These islands are environmental jewels in the Indian Ocean popular with tourists looking for bucket list destinations.

Two thirds of Christmas Island is a National Park. World-renowned naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, has described the annual spawning of the red crabs on Christmas Island as one of his ten greatest TV moments.

Charles Darwin was inspired by his visit to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the 19th century to develop his ground-breaking theory of the formation of coral atolls.  No wonder that the Indian Ocean Territories are often described as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.

The IOT are tropical islands full of recreational activities on land and water for visitors ranging from bird watching on Christmas to kite surfing on Cocos. The Indian Ocean Territories are also a great cultural experience drawing on a rich history and different ethnic and religious traditions with many of the locals speaking Chinese and Malay/Cocos Malay.  In fact, Christmas Island is the closest part of Australia to Asia being less than one hour’s flight from Jakarta.

With tourism potential comes business opportunities for both Australian and international investors as summarised in our new investment prospectus which can be accessed on this website.

The new Indian Ocean Territories website is a one-stop shop for prospective visitors and investors with links to many related websites.  It is your introduction to Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the next best thing to experiencing the Indian Ocean Territories for yourselves.

Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Chair of the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation

Photo of Cocos Island from the ocean with sunset behind. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.


Explore the exciting opportunities to invest in this unique natural environment.

Underwater photo of people snorkelling with a whale shark. Photo: Kirsty Faulkner.


Embark on a journey through extraordinary landscapes to find your next adventure.

Photo of a red crab.


Keep up to date with all that is happening in the Indian Ocean Territories.

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