As published in The Q Review Summer/Autumn 2021 Magazine.  Follow the link to Subscribe and receive your FREE copy each quarter!

Swell Lodge on Australia’s Christmas Island – By YOLO Traveller

Adventures for the Discerning Traveller

It’s been a year of travel plans re-imagined. Of re-discovering the wonders of our own state, and supporting our WA tourism industry. Of embracing “little trips” and local journeys, from Rottnest to the Great Southern to the Kimberley. And all the while being grateful for the isolation of our state and the fact that we can travel (safely) at all.

But if your itchy feet are longing to go further afield, to get your passport out of storage, to catch a plane and fly over the ocean, there is a destination that you can consider now, and it doesn’t depend on any borders reopening – Christmas Island, in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories.

Christmas Island is a fascinating destination, with remarkable wildlife, stunning scenery and balmy tropical waters. And with flights from Perth twice a week, it is remarkably easy to get to this “overseas” Australian destination, which, along with neighbouring Cocos Islands, is the furthest place you can travel from Australia, restriction fee, at this time.

But the highlight of a visit to Christmas Island is undoubtably a stay at the divine Swell Lodge, a luxurious and exclusive eco-lodge within the island’s national park.

Christmas Island is famous for its charismatic red crabs, and the extraordinary annual red crab migration. Even Sir David Attenborough called the migration one of the great wonders of the natural world.

It had long been on the travel radar of the wildlife-loving team at YOLO Traveller. But it had never made it to the top of our travel list, in part due to the complete dearth of any appealing (ie. luxurious) accommodation options.



So it was a “you-had-me-at-hello” moment when we first learned of Swell Lodge, a stunningly beautiful, fully equipped, ultraexclusive eco-chalet nestled on the water’s edge, deep within Christmas Island’s National Park.

Swell Lodge is the labour of love of two young Australians, Chris and Jess Bray. Acclaimed travel photographers and worldwide adventurers, the pair guide photography tours around the world, from Greenland to the Galapagos, including the most stunning regions of Australia.

On Christmas Island, they soon realised that the available standard of accommodation was no match for the beauty of the island. And the vision of Swell Lodge was born.


Swell Lodge has only two villas, so its exclusivity and privacy is one of its biggest appeals.

There is no guest reception desk, no communal buildings, no restaurant. Instead, everything is bespoke for each guest – a private itinerary, private guides, and private meals courtesy of a private, professional chef.

It is a sublime experience, each element professionally curated and designed by Chris and Jess, and is perfect for discerning adventure travellers who value such unique experiences.

Read more in Part 2 in coming weeks…