Christmas Island is a small island territory of Australia off the coast of Indonesia. The island is best known for its world-famous annual red crab migration. But it is also famous for its superb scuba diving opportunities and its rich birdlife. Christmas Island is an example of an isolated tropical island that has produced isolated island weirdness.

The Australian Great Barrier Reef is not the only incredible tropical scuba diving location in the country. Australia is finally open once again and Christmas Island is one of the most far-flung and untold gems of the land Downunder.


What To Know Of Christmas Island

Christmas Island is an external Australia territory around 220 miles south of Java and 960 miles northwest of the closest part of the Australian mainland. Its full name is the Territory of Christmas Island and has just under 2,000 residents. Today around 63% of the island is a part of the Christmas Island National Park.

  • Main Settlement: Flying Fish Cove

In its history, Christmas Island has been very isolated, and its history had only minimal human disturbance. Consequently, it enjoys a high level of endemism making it a natural curiosity and of special interest to scientists and naturalists.

The island is home to boobies, frigatebirds, and more. There are 7 endemic birds on the island and 86 or so migrant birds that frequent the island.

We invite you to uncover the remarkable surprises of this island full of natural wonders: from the unique annual red crab migration to rare and unusual birds and glorious deserted beaches.

Related: Insta Vs. Reality: What Australia's Tourist Spots Are Like

The Annual Crab Migration

Christmas Island is famous as a land of crabs with twenty terrestrial and intertidal species of crab (13 are land crabs). Crabs (as well as seabirds) are the most noticeable fauna on the island.

  • Robber Crabs: Elsewhere Called Coconut Crabs Are On the Island In Large Numbers

If one is planning to visit Christmas Island, then time it with the annual red crab mass migration. This is a mass migration of around 60-100 million crabs to the sea to spawn (crabs need the water to breed - they normally live in the forest). It has been described as one of the natural wonders of the world.

  • Mass Migration: 60-100 Million Red Crabs Migrate

The migration begins at the onset of the wet season (can be early to mid-November). The rains trigger them to abandon their burrows on the land and head to the ocean. The males typically head off first with the females following along a few days or a week later.

It should be understood that there are no set dates and is dependent on the start and continuity of the rains. The migration can stop if the rain stops. When they are on the move, one can see them in the mornings (before 10.00 am) and in the afternoons (after 3.30 pm). Visitors are advised to plan to spend 7 days or more on the island as there can be a window of 10 to 14 days of the crabs on the move.

In total there are five migration waves. These are the males and then females migrating down, and then the males and then females returning to the forest, and 21 days later the baby craps move up into the forest.

  • When: With The Beginning of the Wet Season
  • Time: Before 10.00 am and After 3.30 pm

The expected spawning dates for 2022 are:

  • 18 – 21 November 2022
  • 18 – 20 December 2022

Related: How To Prepare For A Trip To Australia (And Tips To Avoid Rookie Mistakes)

Scuba Diving on Christmas Island

Christmas Island is also famous for its amazing visibility and its vibrant underwater world. There are diving companies offering professional diving adventures on the island including Christmas Island Wet n Dry Adventures.

Christmas Island offers some of the best scuba diving trips in all of Australia with some of the longest drop-offs in the world. There are stunning drop-off walls only 20 meters (yards) from the shoreline. The island is surrounded by a narrow tropical reef that plunges into the Indian Ocean.

  • Drop Off: Christmas Island Has Some of The Longest Drop-offs In The World
  • See: Untouched Corals, Whale Sharks, Tropical Fish, and More

On a scuba diving tour, see untouched corals, hundreds of species of tropical fish, surgeonfish, wrasse, anemones, eels, dolphins, whale sharks, warm clear water, and more.