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Christmas Island & The Red Crab Migration in Pictures

If you’re a regular reader of the site, you’ll know that in December 2017 I had the opportunity to work with Google, Parks Australia and Christmas Island Tourism on a joint campaign to photograph the annual Christmas Island red crab migration and the capture imagery of the Google StreetView trekker as Dr Alasdair Grigg (one of the CI National Park managers) wore the priceless camera backpack to map the Island. I’ve already published a practical travel guide to Christmas Island (take a read if you haven’t already!) but I have so many beautiful images (well, I think they’re pretty good!) from my 8 days there that I just had to put together this collection of pictures of Christmas Island in a sort of photo tour. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to visit this incredible island paradise.

RELATED – Christmas Island is on my list of 100+ Awesome Experiences & Things to Do in Australia – click the link for more Aussie Inspiration!

The Christmas Island Red Crab Migration

I was lucky enough to be on the Island around the halfway point of the red crab migration. By the time I arrived  at the start of December the majority of the crabs had already made their way down from the rain-forests, mating had occurred and the females were hunkered down in their burrows waiting for the cycle of the moon and accompanying rainfall to signal it was time to spawn the eggs.  Parks Victoria staff monitor the crabs closely as it gets closer to the predicted date of spawning and these photos are some of my favorite from the day before and day of – which was a morning that we started shooting at 3am!

Christmas Island Red Crab Taking a Dip in a Rock Pool
Christmas Island Red Crab taking a Dip

Christmas Island is tropical by nature and the crabs can get very hot. To combat this they head to the waters edge to ‘dip’ in the lead up to spawning.

CI Red Crab Eating Leaves off the Forest Floor

Is it just me or do Red Crabs have a look of ‘Predator’ about them?!

Christmas Island Red CrabsGoogle Street View Trekker on Christmas IslandChristmas Island Red Crabs on the BeachChristmas Island Red Crab with EggsRed Crabs on a Rock during Spawning

Red Crab Migration on Christmas IslandChristmas island Red Crab Migration - Red Crab taking a dipRed Crabs on the Beach at the oceans edgeAfter spawning – where the ladies release billions of eggs into the ocean, the red crabs start their journey back into the Island’s forests. The released eggs immediately hatch into larvae and grow through several larval stages into tiny prawn-like animals called megalops. After about 4 weeks the megalops emerge from the sea and they moult into baby crabs. At this time the babies instinctively know to head inland and make their home in the forest. I didn’t get to see this incredible event – which looks like a carpet of crabs – on this visit, but hopefully one day I can return and show you. Until then if you want to be one of a lucky few thousand people who see this amazing even a take a look at the Christmas Island Tourism Website for up-to-date predictions of what dates the red crab migration will occur each year.

Ready to Update Your Camera Kit? Take a peek at the Best Cameras for Travel Photography – we compared the best DSLR, Mirrorless, Compact, Bridge and Action Cameras to help you out.


The Other Crabs & creatures on Christmas Island

Robber Crab on Christmas IslandThis alien looking creature is a Robber Crab (or Anomuran Crab) – and whilst they do not exist in the millions like their Red Crab counterparts, they are an instantly identifiable resident of Christmas Island. Their looks resemble something out of an Alien movie and at their biggest they can weigh as much as 4kg and span of 80cm! You can find them all over the Island, and frequently on the roads and if you feel like they are acting like they own the place – that’s because they do! Residents and visitors are conscious of them when traveling around the Island and adhere to the ‘Slow Down, Drive Around’ instructions displayed on the highways. Other residents of the island include 20+ species of birds , crabs, spiders, snakes and other insects including Frigate Birds, Golden Bosun, Ghost Crabs and Purple Crabs – and that’s before we start talking about the ocean residents such as spinner dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks (in season) and giant trevally.

Giant Spider on Christmas island

Did I mention there were spiders?


Purple Crab on Christmas Island

Dusty from scurrying around the forest floor, the dark colors of this purple crab make it an excellent player in a game of hide and seek.


Ghost Crab on Christmas Island

This is a Ghost Crab – and I’m sure you can probably guess why..


Green Insect

I just love this little fella’s eyes and his cute little mustache! (and he was actually that color(!) – no editing required!



The Landscapes & Beaches

This is one of my favorite shots, has already made it to Instagram – and now proudly adorns the back of one of my business cards!


Epic landscapres on Christmas Island

Jurassic Park anyone?


Freshwater Cave on Christmas island

Freshwater Cave


Boardwalk at the Blowholes on Christmas Island

Christmas Island is a drone pilot’s dream! This is above the Boardwalk at the Blowholes

NEED A DRONE? Want to know hat the Best Drone for Travel is? We’ve asked fellow drone pilots to give us their recommendations to help you out.


The Grotto on Christmas island

The Grotto – a sand bottom cove that leads straight out to the ocean (although I wouldn’t risk it. Te currents around the island can be strong and you might find yourself drifting out to sea!)


Root System at Anderson Dale

Anderson Dale: It’s hard to show the scale but the triangle of light dead center of shot is where you climb down into this Cove. The photo below is looking out to the Ocean.

Anderson Dale Cove Christmas island

Thanks to Mark from Parks Australia for modelling for me at the entrance to the cove!


Merrial Beach Christmas island

Merrial Beach is one of the prettiest beaches on the island and the Google Street View Trekker just had to capture it.


Flying Fish Cove Christmas island

Flying Fish Cove


Christmas island Coastline

Christmas island has 80km of Coastline..


Welcome to the (Christmas Island) Jungle

Welcome to the (Christmas Island) Jungle..


Hughs Dale waterfall Christmas island

Hughs Dale Waterfall (and a perfectly placed Robber Crab, they’re just everywhere!)


Christmas island Sky & Golden Bosun

Don’t forget to look up (I love this and you’ll be seeing this on Instagram really soon!)


Take in the View from the Lookouts

Terriroty Day Lookout on Christmas Island

Territory Day Lookout


Margaret Knoll Lookout

Margaret Knoll Lookout


Sunrises & Sunsets

I’m never normally awake for ‘Blue Hour’ in the morning (it’s a time between twilight and when the sun rises above the horizon where the residual light turns the sky a shade of blue) – but the possibility of capturing images like this will always make me get up for them on location in future (even if I hate the alarm clock at the time!)

.Street View Trekker at Martin Point at Sunset

Sunrise from the Boardwalk Lily Beach

Sunrise from the Boardwalk above Lily Beach


Pink Hour on Christmas Island

Pink Hour (which happens practically every night on CI!)


That’s a wrap folks! I have hundreds more which unfortunately may never see the light of day (unless there are more hours in a day that i’m missing!) but I hope you have enjoyed this little look into the Christmas Island Red Crab Migration and it has inspired you to get out to the Island and see this incredible place for yourself.

And Finally – throughout the trip I would often (much to the annoyance of other people) give the crabs a voice and try and verbalize what I thought they were thinking. This last one is made for a caption competition. Let me know what you think he is saying in the comments! (or just let me know if you had a favorite shot!)

Christmas Island Red Crab with Microphone

“No comment…”



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Tuesday 6th of March 2018

Christmas Island looks like a dreamworld of unimaginable landscapes and crab-racters. Amazing photos of the crabs, especially the Robber Crab that has been fascinating me since when I was a kid watching them in documentaries.


Wednesday 7th of March 2018

Thanks Danial - the crabs there are so incredible to photograph, and the Robber Crabs are awesome - some of the stories the locals tell about them are hilarious!

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