Looking back through my log book it seems I haven’t been diving in Byron Bay since 2011, which seems a little crazy to me because it just feels like a few months ago! Oh, how time flies!
Byron Bay is famous for the dive sites of Julian Rocks which are located within the Cape Byron Marine Park and an extension off Cape Byron, the most easterly point of Australia (fun fact!). I have been diving here a couple of times and I’ve never been disappointed. One of the special things about this place is that they have a good mix of tropical species found in areas further north as well as fish found in the colder Southern Ocean, so you just never know what you are going to get! The great diving coupled with the fact that Byron Bay is such a lovely place to visit makes for a great getaway. There are a couple of dive operations to choose from in Byron, but I have always dived with Byron Bay Dive Centre and found them very professional. They offer 3 single dives a day at 8am, 11am and 2pm and eager people like me are welcome to go on all three if they wish.
Upon meeting the shop gear is sorted, paperwork filed and they you are off. The boat enters off the beach then it’s a 2.5km journey out to the rocks. Julian rocks themselves are quite big so there are several dive sites around the rocks. On our way out we managed to see some dolphins too which is always nice. As it was during the humpback whale migration period last time I was there the soundtrack to my dives were the melodic noises of the passing mammals. It was hard to not keep my eyes to the blue to see if I could steal a peak, but alas they were too far away. What I did see though was more than enough to keep me happy. There were several turtles and loads of sharks, as well as an eagle ray and some cute anemone. There is also some very colourful sea stars, sponges, soft and hard corals with their assortment of macro creatures hiding amongst them. Apparently you can see leopard sharks here too, but I have never been that lucky..
The only downside with diving here is that it’s only one dive at a time, which probably is just me being greedy! At times the swell can be quite big in these areas so I assume it’s to avoid anyone becoming ill during the surface interval. The conditions have always been good for my dives so it was very relaxing; however the rocks are quite exposed so I presume they would get cancelled if the swell picked up too much. All in all great dive sites, close to town and suitable for all levels of diving.