Best time to travel to Christmas Island

Red Crab Migration in Christmas Island

Tens of millions red crabs crawl from the forest to the shore and back in their annual migration

Best time: October–December

Red Crab Migration
Red Crab Migration

This isle near Australia with a pretty name, Christmas Island, is never more amusing than during the red crab migration. As 50 million travellers leave their forested habitat and set off to the shore, the local community does everything they can to make the mass journey flow as safe as possible.

Even though the distance is short enough stretching over less than 5 km, the roads are deliberately closed during that period, and bridges are built across the parks to ensure convenient movement; still, hundreds of thousands are reported to be found killed as the route lies through a human habitat. Nevertheless, most crabs reach the shore, lay eggs, and return back to the forests.

The red crab migration annually occurs on one of the weeks between October and December, depending on the moon phase as it's related to the tides. The best spots to view the sea of crabs include Flying Fish Cove, Drumsite, Greta Beach, and Ethel Beach.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Christmas Island to witness the red crab migration?

The red crab migration on Christmas Island happens annually between October and December, depending on the moon phase affecting the tides that facilitate the journey. Millions of crabs crawl towards the shore during this period. To avoid the crowd and witness the migration in peace, traveling early around October to early November is best. Show more

Where are the best spots to view the red crab migration on Christmas Island?

Greta Beach, Drumsite, Flying Fish Cove, and Ethel Beach are some of the best viewing spots on Christmas Island to witness the red crab migration. The Island's Boardwalk, Dales, and Blowholes offer unique views of the crabs' journey. A guided tour through the rainforest or a car hire through the national park offers forest sightings. Show more

How does the local community ensure the safety of red crabs during the migration?

Roads get closed, bridges get built across crab paths, and signs bearing messages warning drivers about the crab migration get placed during the migration. Community groups patrol the roads, construct crab crossings and conduct vehicle patrols to minimize the impact of human habitat and ensure the crabs' safety. Show more

What are the risks for red crabs during their migration through a human habitat?

Red crabs on Christmas Island face various challenges during their annual migration in human habitats. Habitat loss and destruction result from vehicular traffic and land clearing activities. Plastic pollution, garbage and the threat of being hit by a vehicle's wheels are also some of the challenges that the crabs face on the island, leading to physical injuries and death. Show more

Can visitors participate in any conservation efforts to protect red crabs during the migration?

Conservation groups have several programs in place that allow Christmas Island visitors to participate in beach clean-ups and the construction of crab crossings to ensure their safe passage. Islanders encourage tourists to keep cars off the roads during the migration period, be aware of crab migratory paths and donate money towards conservation efforts to support local conservation groups. Show more

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