The beaches of Byron Bay are divine, and the area’s underwater world is especially rich with life, since it is bathed in the warm currents drifting down from the Great Barrier Reef. When you’re ready to get off the sand and into the water, here’s a rundown of the best scuba diving sites and snorkeling spots.
Julian Rocks Marine Reserve
Just a 5-minute boat ride from Byron Bay, Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is one of the few sites where you can swim with tropical species found on the Great Barrier Reef and mammals from Australia’s Southern Ocean, including three species of sea turtle, wobbegong sharks, and manta rays. Snorkel and scuba dive tours departing from Byron Bay typically include equipment and transportation. Some snorkeling tours are specifically targeted at swimming with sea turtles and include instruction if required.
About 100 feet (30 meters) from the northeastern tip of Julian Rocks, the Cod Hole is one of the most popular dive sites around the rocks. A spacious swim-through that opens up at about 50 feet (15 meters), it is home to big moray eels, blue groupers, wobbegongs, and tropical fish of all sizes.
At the southeast end of Julian Rocks, the Cray Cave is a small swim-through where, amongst the black coral, you can spot marine life such as grey nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles, and big bullrays. Divers can reach depths of up to 82 feet (25 meters).
Tassie III Wreck
Believed to have been sunk at the end of World War II while supplying American forces with ammunition, the wreck of the Tassie III (believed to be the Tassie II until 2008) remains off the shore of Main Beach and is especially shallow, making it ideal for snorkelers to explore. Just remember to do so with caution and while the ocean is calm—and watch out for surfers using the wreck as a break.