The Dales

Tufa deposits at the Dales, Christmas Island. Date unknown.
Red crabs at the Dales, Christmas Island. Date unknown.

The Dales

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    580 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    10°29'S 105°33'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The Site is a natural wetland system of seven permanent and intermittent streams and karst areas located near the western side of Christmas Island. It is the first “Wetland of International Importance” in Australia to include surface and subterranean karst features, which are highly representative of the Island. The Site supports various endemic and threatened species including Christmas Island spleenwort (Asplenium listeri) and Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi). It also hosts 20 land crabs including red, blue and robber crabs. The red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis) annually migrates to the coast in large numbers for spawning, and the blue crab (Discoplax hirtipes) finds refuge in the Site during drier seasons. The mass spawning of red crabs attracts juveniles of the endangered whale shark (Rhincodon typus). The Site also provides roosting and breeding habitat for seabirds and other migratory birds. Of note is the last extant colony of Abbott’s booby (Papasula abbotti) which nests in the canopy of the tall emergent rainforest trees. The Dales are a popular tourist destination and have religious significance for local Buddhist inhabitants of Chinese heritage. The principal threat to the Site comes from introduced species, particularly the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), which was accidentally introduced in the first half of the 20th century and whose colonies proliferated in the mid to late 1990s.

Administrative region: 
The Dales lie within the Australian Territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

  • National legal designation: 
    • National Park - Christmas Island National Park
  • Last publication date: