If you want to tick the box on every unique event that happens in Australia, then being on Christmas Island to watch the march of the red crabs is a must.
It’s estimated there are more than 100 million bright red (and quite large) crabs on the island, mostly in National Park areas (which now cover 65 percent of the landmass). Each year, in late November/early December, all the adult crabs migrate from their home in the rainforest to the sea to mate, and for the females to spawn. The roads are literally covered in crabs.
“A unique natural phenomena, a photographer’s dream and a perfect illustration of how Momma Nature can astound even the biggest cynic.”
– David Whitley
Christmas Island also has more attractions in store for the naturalist: many animal and plant species exist there and nowhere else on the planet, and it’s particularly rich in birdlife. Over time, Christmas Island has also developed an excellent reputation for diving (particularly its coral reefs, and diving with whale sharks), and sports fishing (sailfish, wahoo and tuna).
Did you know?
Christmas Island is a great deal nearer to Asia than Australia. The Australian jewel of the Indian Ocean is 2600km northwest of Perth, but only 360km south of Java. Seventy percent of the 1600-strong population are ethnic Chinese.
How to get there
There are flights to Christmas Island direct from Perth or via the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, as well as from Singapore.
National Jet Systems (NJS) operates a twice-weekly air service operated between Perth and Christmas Island.
Austasia Airlines operates a weekly charter service between Singapore and Christmas Island.
Best time to go
May to November is the most comfortable period.
The red crabs begin their migration at the start of the Wet (usually October / November), but the timing of the actual event depends on the onset of the wet season rains.
Website of the Christmas Island Tourism Association
Specific information on the Christmas Island red crabs
Department of the Environment and Heritage website on Christmas Island National Park
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.