Christmas Island, the remote Australian territory well known for its immigration detention centre, is on a mission to change its image and reinvent itself as a tourist hotspot.

The island has been granted approval to build an eco-lodge in its national park, a first for any commonwealth-run national park in Australia. The Christmas Island National Park covers more than half of the island.

Construction will begin towards the end of the year, with the process to be documented by Chris and Jess Bray, the husband and wife team behind the accommodation.

Adventurer and photographer Chris Bray and his wife Jess are building an eco-lodge on the island. Photo / Getty Images
Adventurer and photographer Chris Bray and his wife Jess are building an eco-lodge on the island. Photo / Getty Images

The pair are professional nature photographers who stumbled across the unnoticed beauty of Christmas Island through running their own boutique photography tourism business, that takes enthusiasts to the world's wildlife hot spots. Mr Bray himself is an award-winning Australian Geographic photographer.

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The couple have guided tours to Christmas ­Island in recent years and now they want to open up its unique beauty to everyone.

Karenn Singer, the Manager of the Christmas Island Tourism Association, told the Huffington Post that the community is keen to show the world there's a lot more to the island.

"We've been working to maintain our focus on the natural attributes that are here, the multicultural community as well," she said.

"The detention centre is now off the front page of the news, so that's given a bit more breathing space for the island's other attributes and community to be featured."

Other attributes such as the annual migration of 40-50 million red land crabs, which Sir David Attenborough once named as one of the '10 greatest natural wonders on earth'.

Red crabs live on the rocks by the shore on Christmas Island. Photo / Getty Images
Red crabs live on the rocks by the shore on Christmas Island. Photo / Getty Images

Mr Bray said he hopes that the island's abundance of natural wonders, like this, will be the future of the island.

"We're hoping that we're the first of what will be many tourism ventures to the island," Mr Bray told The West Australian.

"I think already the public perception of the island is shifting from detention centres and mining towards nature-based tourism."

He said he has already noticed public perception start to shift.

Christmas Island is on a mission to become the next big tourist destination. Photo / Getty Images
Christmas Island is on a mission to become the next big tourist destination. Photo / Getty Images

"An international diving company has just set up," he said.

"There's more flights to the island for the right kind of reasons. The more we tell people about Christmas Island now, slowly, the more they're like, 'I've heard about that, I've always wanted to go there', instead of a couple of years ago it was like, 'What! I thought it was a giant jail'."

Christmas Island still runs an immigration detention centre, which as at 30 April 2017 held 284 people.