Pulu Keeling National Park (Malay: Taman Negara Pulau Keeling) is a national park and Commonwealth reserve in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, protecting the entire North Keeling Island. At 1.2 km2, it's one of the smallest national parks in Australia. The park belongs to the Cocos Malay people, comanaged with the federal government.
Pulu Keeling National Park can be said to be the southernmost national park in Asia.
The park was established on 12 December 1995, but the area has been protected since 1986, when the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Cocos Malay people agreed to restrict and sustainably manage any further hunting on North Keeling. Three years later in 1989, Cyclone John devastated the red-footed booby colony on North Keeling and legal hunting ceased to allow the population to recover. However, since the park was established, no legal hunting has taken place.
The landscape of this park is mostly a low-lying, flat, forested island.
Along with the Cocos Islands, Pulu Keeling National Park is located on an approximately 5000-metre high submarine volcanoes known as Cocos Rise. They are part of a ridge that extends to Christmas Island. The atoll is connected to a plateau that lies at a sea depth of 700 to 800 metres.
Flora and faunaEdit
The park is the world's only location of the Cocos buff-banded rail (Malay: ayam hutan, "the chicken of the forest"). They used to live in the southern atolls, but they are thought to have gone extinct there.
The climate of Pulu Keeling National Park is very tropical, with humid temperatures, similar to how you get them at South or West Island in the main group of islands in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Getting in the park is quite tough, and can only be done via boat via a long process to gain a permit, which can be found under § Fees and permits. From West Island, there will be a small tiny boat taking you on a 32-kilometre journey north. The boat will stop as close to the island as possible, where you will need to swim to the beach from the reefs. Sometimes it's not possible to land due to adverse weather conditions so you may have to turn back.
Fees and permitsEdit
To visit the park, contact the park's staff at either ☏ +61 8 9162 7602 or email@example.com prior to your trip.
For activities such as art, commercial photography and filming, and research, you will need to have a permit. A full up-to-date list about permits can be found at the AWE website.
The only way you can get around is via walking around the island.
- See the marine life in the untouched coral reefs and outside on the beaches as well, such as the endangered green turtles, the Cocos angelfish, which is quite a bright colourful fish, and is only found the waters in that region. Examples of marine mammals you might see are the bottlenose dolphin, and occasionally you may also see a humpback whale, although humpbacks generally don't migrate through the Indian Ocean much
- See the numerous crabs that can be seen throughout the island, with at least twenty six species of them in the park. Those can include the robber crab, which is the world's largest land crab weighing more than 4 kg and is more than a metre long. Other types of crabs in the island include the very small hermit crabs
- The park is the world's only location of the Cocos buff-banded rail (Malay: ayam hutan)
- Dive the nearby coral waters. Most of them are near untouched with very few people having dove here.
- Photography for personal use. Australian law states that images and film captured in a Commonwealth reserve cannot be used to derive commercial gain unless at least one of the exemptions listed here in section 12.06 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000. Examples of exemptions include following the management plan for the Commonwealth reserve, and being given a permit.
Buy, eat and drinkEdit
There is no commercial activity in this park, and so you will need to bring everything with you, including food and water.
There are no officially-designated places to sleep in the park.
- Your only option is to go back to proper civilization to Cocos (Keeling) Islands