Julian Rocks, centre of a major sanctuary zone in the Cape Byron Marine Park.
Julian Rocks, centre of a major sanctuary zone in the Cape Byron Marine Park.

Julian Rocks as the ocean rolls near beautiful Byron Bay

THESE images demonstrate why Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, 2.5km off Byron Bay, is regarded as one of Australia's top scuba diving locations - and an underwater photographer's paradise.

APN photographer Patrick Gorbunovs and Byron Bay Dive Centre photographer Typhaine Bosseur, who both hold diving licences, embarked on an exhilarating underwater odyssey this week capturing the abundance of marine life in the reserve.

Established in 1982 after a decade of lobbying by locals, the park is home to sea turtles, rays, corals, and more than 500 species of fish.

There have been lots of sightings of the docile leopard shark, eagle rays, bull rays, turtles and big schools of fish.

The mixing of tropical warm currents with cooler temperate waters and the resulting diversity of marine life is what makes the reserve so extraordinary, says Byron Dive's Perry Bartholomew.

"You can see a manta ray and a grey nurse shark and if you talk to marine biologists that just doesn't happen," Perry said.

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