Diving Wolf Rocks and Julian Rocks

Wolf Rock, Rainbow Beach

Queensland Grouper at Wolf RockJude and I left Townsville on three weeks holidays heading South of Brisbane to Murwillumbah in northern NSW, whilst down there I managed to do 3 dives.

First dive I did was at a place called Wolf Rock. It is located about a kilometer out from Double Island point. It is a pinnacle going down to 40m with the top of the pinnacle protruding a meter or so above the water line. I went out with a dive shop located at Rainbow beach called Wolf Rock Dive Centre operated by Kevin and Cheryl.

We were staying at Gympie about _ of an hours drive to Rainbow beach. We arrived at Wolf Rock Dive at 7.30am and met Kev & Cheryl who made us feel very welcomed. I got my dive kit out of the car, put it all together and placed it on the rubber ducky that was on the trailer ready to go. I was introduced to the other 2 divers and we were given a dive brief.

We all jumped in the old four wheel drive and headed off towing the rubber ducky behind us, we proceeded down on to the beach and drove along the picturesque rainbow beach heading down closer to Double Island point. After 10 minutes we arrived at a section of the beach where the boat was to be launched.

Queensland Grouper at Wolf RockWe all jumped in the Rubber Ducky and headed out to Wolf Rock, I was feeling quite excited about this dive as it was to be my first encounter with the Grey Nurse sharks and Wolf Rock is a known aggregation point for the Grey Nurses. The sea was reasonably calm until we got out past the protection of Double Island point where the seas were quite lumpy, after 10 minutes we arrived at our destination a rocky outcrop jutting above the water line.

I was first to kit up and backrolled into the water the seas were very rough and I was hanging on to the side of the boat waiting for the other divers to enter the water, I was getting a little pissed off waiting for the other divers to kit up and get in as I was up and down with the rough sea, all I wanted to do is get under the water.

We eventually commenced the dive and headed off down the anchor line, it felt good to get under the water, there was a fair current running and a strong surge, we got down to 33m were we left the anchor line, I had no sooner left the line and was met by a HUGE Queensland grouper (see photo). I had my wide angled lens on and took these photos from 3 feet away, I estimate him to be 6 feet and 150kg+.

Grey Nurse Shark at Wolf RockThe bottom topography was different to what I am used to on the Reef, the bottom was made up of large slabs of granite and boulders. After the encounter with the Grouper we continued on with the dive, I finally got my first glimpse of a Grey Nurse: I looked up towards the surface and saw the silhouette shape as it cruised on by. Throughout the rest of the dive I saw several sharks but only managed one shot as I could not get close enough in the 6m viz.

After the first dive we were back on the boat and within a few minutes I was chumming the ocean, Kev & Cheryl offered to take me back to shore, so I accepted the offer but, unfortunately, did not get to do the second dive (bummer).

I will be back again to complete a few more dives on this wonderful location hopefully in better sea conditions, but sometimes you have to take what you get at the time. Kev & Cheryl have a great setup there and would highly recommend them and if you get an opportunity to dive Wolf Rock: "Do It".

Julian Rocks, Byron Bay

Red Morwong (CheilodactylusDA fuscus) at Julian Rocks, Byron BayOver the next couple of weeks that Jude and I were on holidays I managed to do 2 dives out from Byron Bay, NSW at Julian Rocks, a spot that I have dived a few times over the last few years and will continue to do.
Jude decided not to dive as the water temp was a bit cool for her.

Most of you will know but for those that don't: Julian Rocks lies about 2 kilometres out from Byron Bay in northern NSW. The Dive operator that I used was Sundive located in Byron Bay. I have dived with them before and found them to be excellent, they are very familiar with the rock and cater for a lot of transient divers, their operation is smooth and organised down to a fine art.

Getting out to the dive site was excitement in itself; they have to launch the boat out through the surf so timing is critical but as I said earlier they have it down to a fine art. Once there we are given a dive brief and allocated your guide (yes ALL dives are guided ).
We all did a backroll and hung on to the mooring line, our guide + 4 went down the line and commenced the dive in about 14m, the viz on both dives was not very good 6m but still very enjoyable.

Tall-fin Batfish (Platax teira)  at Julian Rocks, Byron BaySea star (Pentagonaster dubei) at Julian Rocks, Byron BayI saw a assorted array of marine creatures, ones that I don't get to see all that much on the GBR, the bottom was littered with Wobbygongs they seem to be in every nook and cranny as well as those sea urchins everywhere. I was followed for most of my dive by this cute Batfish (see photo) I also saw those Blue Gropers common to these waters, Pineapplefish, Old Wifes and a myriad of others that I could not identify. I continued on with the dive and waited in the sand gutters for 10 minutes and saw a couple of Grey Nurses cruise by (again just out of camera range). Saw an old man turtle and a pretty seastar.

The two dives I did were great even though the viz was not the best it is truly a great dive site. If you are planning to dive Julian Rocks you can't go past Sundive as an operator, and I will dive there again next time I am down that way.

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