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Indian Ocean Experiences

Red Crab Spawning Christmas Island

From: $1,415 USD

Duration: 8 days/7 nights

Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.

Departs: Select Dates According to Spawning Dates

Interests: Fish & Marine Invertebrates.

Witness one of the most amazing events on our animal planet, as 60 million Red Crabs migrate from the forest to the ocean shoreline to mate and spawn each wet season in November or December.

  • Experience the peak of what Christmas Island has to offer with this special package which is only offered on specific dates each year and subject to the rains starting allowing the crabs to move to the lower terraces.

  • The red crab migration commences with the start of the wet season. Red crabs use a very distinctive phase of the moon to spawn. This bucket-list event usually takes place across two mornings in November or December. 

About Indian Ocean Experiences:

Proudly calling herself a local, Lisa Preston founded Indian Ocean Experiences in 2011, being one of the first operators to offer expertly guided land experiences across Christmas Island, centred around sustainable and conservation focussed touring. As specialists in tailor-made itineraries across passion points such as birdwatching, diving, photography, geology and culture, the team prides itself on delivering genuine experiences for guests, connecting with passionate locals who love sharing their stories.

*Prices & Itinerary Subject to Change. Price includes return airfares from Perth including airline taxes, 7 nights accommodation, 7 days 4WD car hire, Red Crab Spawning Tour. Prices are based on per person twin/double share unless advised, subject to availability. All prices quoted are in AUD and include applicable airline taxes. Prices ex-Perth and other accommodation options are available. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2024) and may differ when you book your travel. 


Tour day-by-day

  • Red Crab Spawning Event

    Please note that the exact date of the spawning tour as part of this package will be determined immediately prior to the spawning event. Participants will be contacted upon arrival if any changes are required to the date of operation of the spawning experience.

    Details of the Migration

    At the onset of Christmas Island's wet season (which can be early as mid November), the crabs are triggered to abandon their burrows on the top plateau and head down to the lower terraces for mating. Generally the males set off first, with the females following a few days or a week later.

    This part of the migration is very unpredictable and dependent on the start and continuity of the seasonal rains. The migration may become sporadic or stop if the rain stops. If the conditions are right, the crabs can be viewed migrating in the mornings (before 10am) and in the later part of the afternoon (3.30pm onwards).

    There are a few key locations close to the township where the crabs move and the Indian Ocean Experiences' team will advise you of these. There could be a window of 10-14 days of crabs on the move, again, dependent on the rains.

    If you plan to travel for this part of the migration, we recommend a minimum 7 day stay to increase your chances of a successful viewing. Crabs may be viewed on a suite of Indian Ocean Experiences tours.

    The Spawning

    This element of the migration is predictable, as the female crabs need to drop their eggs into the sea using very specific tides, which can be predicted. There are generally two consecutive mornings in November and/or December. The dates change each year and where these tides fall in the month determines the greater likelihood of there being either a November or December spawning, or possibly both months.

    The Red Crabs start dropping their eggs around 4am, and stop as the sun rises. Once they have delivered their spawn to the sea, they then head back up to the forest. Spawning tours can only be operated on the mornings of those specific dates. A shorter stay on the island is possible, depending on the flight options.

    The Red Crab Migration Sequence

    1) Males start migrating to the lower terraces and dig burrows (approx. 4 weeks prior to predicted spawning dates).
    2) Females migrate to the lower terraces and mating takes place (approx. 2 weeks prior to spawning dates).
    3) Males then leave the females in the burrows to gestate the egg mass and migrate back to the upper terraces.
    4) Females deposit eggs into the ocean on the spawning dates and migrate back to the upper terraces. 
    5) Approx. 21 days after spawning event, baby red crabs may return en masse. 

    Key Details

    Christmas Island Red Crab Spawning Tour includes drinks & nibbles on eve of spawning event (5.30 - 6.30pm) with briefing about the morning. Guest receive a 3.30am wake-up call to be in place to view red crabs spawning followed by a cooked bbq breakfast at the beach. Tour finishes at 7.00am.
    Accommodation: VQ3 Lodge - 7 nights. Other accommodation options available on request.
    Fitness Requirements: Good mobility and stability essential as walking is required. 
    Flights: Virgin Australia operates flights to Christmas Island and the Cocos Keeling Islands twice per week ex Perth. Return flights are included as part of this package.
    Car Hire: This package includes 7 days car hire.


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