Home #WHERETONEXT Australia & New Zealand Nature’s Spectacle: Christmas Island Crab Migration Set to Paint the Island Red...

Nature’s Spectacle: Christmas Island Crab Migration Set to Paint the Island Red for Christmas

With an El Nino weather pattern extending its hold on a longer dry season, and as the holiday period approaches, Christmas Island is gearing up for an extraordinary natural phenomenon – the annual red crab migration in time for Christmas. Last year the migration occurred in October, however in 2023 this captivating event is anticipated to create a mesmerising red spectacle, perfectly in time with the festive spirit of Christmas this December.

Renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough, whose name is synonymous with wildlife documentaries, has cited the Christmas Island red crab migration as one of the top moments in his illustrious television career, attesting to the sheer magnificence of this natural event. ‘Our Planet II,’ recently featured on Netflix, Christmas Island’s red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) migration that takes place every year, with tens of millions of these crustaceans traveling over two kilometres from the forests, where they live on the island to their coastal breeding grounds. Christmas Island is the only place on the planet this species exists.

“It’s an unbelievable sight as millions of surprisingly large land crabs embark on an incredible migration, covering the island in a vibrant red hue,” said Chris Bray, owner of Swell Lodge the iconic all-inclusive luxury eco retreat on Christmas Island. “This awe-inspiring display has captured the imagination of people worldwide and makes you feel as though you’re in the middle of a real-life BBC documentary, standing amongst one of the largest migrations on the planet,” he said. “Christmas Island really stands as a testament to the marvels of the natural world.”

Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, this island paradise is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Its lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes and incredible underwater experiences make it a dream destination for visitors who seek the path less travelled. Visitors can explore the island’s unique ecosystems, dive into crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, and witness firsthand the red crab migration that has enchanted even the most seasoned naturalists.

“To fully immerse in the wonders of Christmas Island, nature lovers can participate in guided tours led by expert guides,” said Ms Lisa Preston, owner of Indian Ocean Experiences, which offers tours and packages to this one of kind destination. “Though we are never certain when the migration will take place, the moon and weather give some guidance and our tours offer a wealth of local knowledge, providing insights into the fascinating behaviour of these remarkable creatures. The red crab migration does make touring a challenge, but the highlight for many of our guests is participating in crab raking to clear the way for the vehicle to get through’. she said. “Christmas Island also offers endless adventures for visitors all year around; exploring the island’s hiking trails, birdwatching spots, and secluded beaches, providing an intimate connection with its natural beauty.”

“Christmas Island is also renowned for its world class diving, excellent crystal-clear visibility and accessible depth for all levels of scuba divers” said Mr David Watchorn from Extra Divers Australia, a marine based operator delivering unique experiences for visitors. “In the warm tropical waters surrounding the island, divers find a healthy coral reef, which supports a huge biodiversity of marine species, including many endemics, not found anywhere else in the world,” he said. “As the crabs get closer to the edges of the island, to replenish, mate or release their eggs, there is an always an additional chance of a memorable natural ocean encounter with a whale shark or an oceanic manta ray who circle the islands coastline.”

Christmas Island welcomes you to witness the magic of nature in all its splendour. The island’s diverse flora and fauna above and below the surface, its pristine beaches, and lush rainforests make it an unparalleled destination for those seeking a nature-inspired getaway. With a range of diving, snorkelling, tour and freediving operators, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this time of year.

“Though the red crab migration is an extraordinary event showcasing the natural wonders Christmas Island has to offer, the island’s famous red crabs can be seen year-round and a month following the migration, the babies can be seen returning from the sea. There really is endless natural beauty to be experienced on this island.” said Ms Sarah Coote, Destination Marketing Manager at Christmas Island Tourism Association. “This world famous event not only showcases the island’s natural beauty but also exemplifies the wonders of the natural world here,” she said. “Visitors can immerse themselves in this phenomenon while enjoying the island’s other natural wonders, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and we invite the world to experience our awe-inspiring island.”