The Julian Rocks Marine Reserve located in Byron Bay is truly an amazing place to visit. This place has been considered a top diving spot in Australia. This marine reserve is located 2.5 kilometers from the shore of Byron Bay. This place comes with a rich history and colorful legend. According to the Bundjalung people, there was a jealous husband who threw his spear towards the canoe of his wife and the wife’s lover. After the impact, the canoe was broken into two and this sank at the bottom of the ocean. It was only the rear portion and the front end of the boat that can be seen from the water. The sunken canoe has created a rock formation and this was later named as Julian Rocks by Captain Cook in 1776.
Julian Rocks houses ancient sedimentary rocks as well as remains of a volcanic eruption that has occurred more than 20 million years ago. This is considered an extension of Cape Byron which is separated by water and has formed a unique marine reserve. The place provides shelter as well as food to more than 500 species of tropical fishes and temperate fish species.
Locals used to fish in the area. However, in 1982, this was placed
under the Fisheries and Oyster Farm Regulation. The placement of Julian
Rocks under this regulation means that any removal or disruption of all
forms of marine life within 500 meter radius of the rock formation has
With the changes in current and water temperature, there are also many noticeable seasonal visitors in this marine reserve. In fact, grey nurse sharks visit and breed in Julian Rocks during the winter season. While these sharks may seem ferocious, experts confirm that it is perfectly safe to dive with them. On the other hand, during spring season, one can see blue tang in Julian Rocks. This fish is unique and one can easily identify this through its distinct blue colored body and bright yellow tail. In addition, one can also witness schools of trevally during the summer months in Julian Rocks.
Leopard sharks are commonly seen when diving during the mid summer periods, but you’ll want to use a dive computer in order to keep track of your stats while you’re down there. This is the time when the water is considered warmest. Even though most of the time the sharks are resting on the sand, one can see them swimming or moving their long tail slowly. During summer and early autumn, the manta rays are often seen.
One can also see different species of the wobbegong sharks, cuttlefish, turtles, and eagle rays. In addition to these marine animals, Julian Rocks is also the home of egg cowry shells, banner fishes, moray eels, shovel nose rays, and guitar fishes. Aside from fishes, there are also colorful sessile animals in Julian Rocks like the tunicates, sponges, hard corals and soft corals. With these colorful attachments to the simple rock formation, one can definitely marvel at a wonderfully created underwater garden. In addition to having rich marine life in Julian Rocks, the place also serves as a resting as well as nesting grounds of many species of birds like cormorants and seagulls.
Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is definitely a great place to visit and experience. With the colorful and abundant marine life, this marine reserve is definitely a place professional and novice divers should not miss out when visiting Byron Bay.
Diving Julian Rocks Marine Reserve – South Wales, South Wales, 2481, Australia
How to Get There
Byron Bay is a town located in the region of New South Wales Australia. One can reach Byron Bay through cities like Hayters Hill, Skinners Shoot and Ewingsdale. However, the major cities that can pass through going to Byron Bay are Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, and Gold Coast.