Scuba Diving Byron Bay: The Best Experience at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve

Don’t miss the opportunity to do scuba diving in Byron Bay: Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is on the Top 5 of Australia’s best scuba diving sites. It’s the most exciting experience you can have in Australia’s most relaxed town: sharks, rays, turtles and thousands of fish await!

At Julian Rocks in Byron Bay, the warm tropical currents mix with cooler temperate waters. The site is protected so at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, marine life is abundant and, according to the season, you’ll have different exciting encounters. Even if you only have one day in Byron Bay, it’s worth considering scuba diving. The site is so close to the town that you can easily squeeze in a single dive.

Scuba Diving Byron Bay: Can you do it if you’re not certified?

Yes! You’ll have to do a short session in the pool as training before going to the ocean for you introductory scuba diving experience supervised by a professional, of course. Check out more info here*.

If you prefer, you can also stick to snorkelling with turtles*.

Five reasons why I love scuba diving in Byron Bay

Julian Rocks Dive - Eastern Pomfrets

1. It’s super easy to reach. It only takes only 10min by boat to reach the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve from Byron Bay. And Byron Bay is a day trip from Brisbane – although I recommend doing it over a full weekend because there are many other fun things to do in Byron Bay!

2. We come back to shore after one dive, which makes it cheaper if you only want to do a single dive and more comfortable if you do a double dive as you don’t have to wait on the boat!

3. There are many seasonal visitors at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, so the experience is very different each time. During winter, the grey nurse sharks are visiting. During summer, the leopard sharks are there, and the manta rays are cruising.

4. There are big animals and an incredible amount of small ones too: this scuba diving site will please everyone

5. We almost always spot dolphins on the way – a great bonus!

How it is to do scuba diving in Byron Bay at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve

I’ve stopped counting the number of dives I’ve done at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve. But I know that I loved each of them. Here are a few of my experiences:

Scuba Diving at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve: the Needles

The Needles is an excellent scuba diving site, we had fun going in a kind of beautiful canyon and were amazed by the amount of fish we had to go through at the exit of the canyon.

Some of the marine life we saw:

  • Small and big lionfish
  • Wobbegongs
  • Group of Porcupinefish
  • Shrimp
  • Big empty lobster
  • School of Stripeys
  • Eastern Pomfrets
  • Bright-eye Filefish
  • Tarwhines

Although seeing that many wobbegongs and that many fish was fantastic, my highlight of this dive was the group of porcupine fish, with two of them being very curious and approaching us. With their big bulging eyes and their box shape, they are just the cutest fish I have seen so far.

Scuba diving with Grey Nurse Sharks at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve

As we were driving down to Byron Bay, the news on the radio was about two shark attacks in 24 hours in the area. Although the Grey Nurse Sharks are placid, it was reminding us how vulnerable we are in the water. Most of all it was setting the “Jaws” atmosphere perfectly. I had dreamt of scuba diving with Grey Nurse sharks since I heard about them, and I was going to tick it off my bucket list… Click here to learn more about this species and why I love them so much.
We started our dive at the Nursery and navigated to the Cod Hole.
Julian Rocks 03 Grey Nurse SharkThe visibility was not very good, less than 10m. So when you spot a shark, it is already quite close to you. Although I was not scared, the first close encounter gave me shivers. The shark looked at me with its tiny eyes, and as it was swimming towards me, I could see very clearly its enormous exposed teeth. I was low on the sand, and it finally swam just a few centimetres above my head, as if I did not exist. We saw several of them during the dive, all of them calm and aloof.
Cod Hole was a beautiful arch with an incredible number of small fish, and we were lucky to meet the big Cod himself as we were leaving the place.

Some of the marine life we saw:

  • Grey Nurse Sharks
  • Porcupine Fish
  • Lionfish
  • Eastern Pomfrets
  • Stripeys
  • Yellow Box Fish
  • Toadfish
  • Old Wives
  • Turtles
  • Wobbegongs
  • Goatfish
  • Snapper
  • Anemonefish
  • Damselfish
  • Morwongs (Crested & Red)
Planning a trip to Byron Bay?

I usually camp when I visit Byron Bay. If you don’t like camping, you’ll find many accommodation options near the town centre. Byron Bay is a popular stop on Australia’s East Coast so if you want to stay in a hotel, don’t wait until the last minute to book your room. Click here to see availabilities*.

Where is Julian Rocks Marine Reserve?

Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is 2.5 kilometres from Byron Bay (New South Wales) shore by boat, and it only takes 10 minutes to reach the dive sites. It takes approximately 2 hours to drive from Brisbane to Byron Bay.

*These are affiliate links: I will receive a commission if you make a booking or purchase a product using this link but this does not affect the price you pay. This will help me maintain this website. 

 

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