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Coogee Maritime Trail

The first of its kind in Western Australia, the award-winning Coogee Maritime Trail is centred around the Omeo Shipwreck and includes an underwater dive and snorkel trail and a land-based trail.

The trails not only provide access to our beautiful marine life, but also offer a unique opportunity to educate and build awareness about out significant maritime history and archaeology. Located only 25 metres from the shore, the dive and snorkel trail begin at the Omeo shipwreck and includes:

  • Underwater access to the Omeo shipwreck
  • Underwater art gallery
  • Artificial reef.

The underwater trail begins in shallow water while its western-most extent reaches a maximum depth of 7 metres. Most of the trail is around 2.5 to 5 metres deep, making it suitable for snorkelers and novice divers. 

The artificial reef and underwater art sculptures around the shipwreck create a linear dive trail and habitat for aquatic life. Underwater educational plaques give information about the Omeo shipwreck, maritime history and aquatic life in the area.

This summer, we need your help!

The Coogee Maritime Trail and historic Omeo shipwreck are home to all kinds of beautiful sea life. However, they are being damaged by climbing, touching and misuse.

Remember to follow these simple tips when snorkeling on the trail, and always be a responsible snorkeler.

DO

  • Explore with your eyes, not your hands
  • Take photos (and tag the City of Cockburn if you share)
  • Stay calm, quiet, and move slowly.

DON’T

  • Climb, stand or rest on the wreck
  • Remove pieces of the wreck or reef
  • Leave rubbish behind.

New to snorkeling, or never been to the Coogee Maritime Trail before? Try these simple tips for a good time!
Before you come:

  • Check the conditions – including weather, wind and currents as these can impact your experience
  • Take a flotation device – pool noodles, bodyboards and kickboards can help you stay afloat and avoid accidentally resting on the wreck
  • There is limited parking so make sure you carpool, walk, or ride a bike
  • Have a plan for your valuables.

 When you arrive: 

  • Enter via stairs or along the beach 
  • Be mindful of other users and take care with your flippers around the wreck
  • Return to the shore or shallows to rest
  • Collect litter and #Take3fForTheSea
  • Look but don’t touch the marine life – the trail sees high numbers of visitors over summer and frequent handling harms our sea life, plus some sea creatures can be dangerous!

School and Group Bookings 
We are tracking visitor numbers and need your help. Please visit our online booking form and complete an application for your school and or group before visiting the trail. Educational resources are available for loan.

Please note: Fishing and Boating are prohibited in the Coogee Maritime Trail area at all times.

Coogee Maritime Trail Map

Map of Coogee maritime trail underwater structure locations

Features of the trail

The Omeo is an historically significant and federally protected iron steamship that was built in 1858 in Newcastle (England) and later converted to a sailing ship. It was used to lay the Bass Strait Telegraph cable, and the Overland Telegraph linking Australia to Britain via Singapore.

This vessel was involved in international trade and participated in inter-colonial passenger networks. It traded for many years between Adelaide, Melbourne and New Zealand, and famously collided with, and wrecked, the Swan Spit pile lighthouse in Port Phillip in 1881, before becoming a coal hulk. The Omeo was driven ashore and wrecked in 1905.

The Omeo is a historically significant and federally protected iron steamship, and standing on or taking parts of the wreck without a permit is an offence under the Commonwealth Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018.

For more information on the Omeo visit the Western Australian Museum – Shipwreck Galleries the Shipwreck Databases or Maritime Archaeology Association of Western Australia.

You can experience a large variety of marine life on the trail including a variety of fish, starfish, cuttlefish, crayfish, molluscs, nudibranchs, sea squirts and corals.

Some of the more commonly seen fish include:

  • Old Wife
  • Rough Bullseye
  • Western Smooth Boxfish
  • Skipjack Trevally
  • Western Butterfish
  • Stripey
  • Western Talma
  • Magpie Morwong
  • Pink Snapper
  • Tarwhine
  • Weeping Toadfish
  • Australian Herring
  • Shaw’s Cowfish

For a comprehensive list of fish you can download the Fishes of Omeo poster to help identify any fish you spot while visiting. This poster was created by Ruchira Somaweera and Philip Good with help from the Coogee Maritime Trail snorkeling community. 

You can also view the Coogee Maritime Trail Dive Card which includes a map of the trail and the top 30 most common fish. A class set of these cards can be borrowed by school or dive groups on request.

The underwater art gallery includes:

  • The Stella Maris giant sea star which divers can swim through

  • An old railway wheel and anchor recovered during the development of Elizabeth Quay and relocated to the dive trail 

  • A Dutch inspired replica cannon and a sea lion near the shore

The purpose-built reef consists of nearly 70 reef modules, ranging in height from 1m to 5m tall.  The unique sections create a complex reef that includes lots of cave-like spaces to support fish, crays and molluscs and are great for snorkelling and scuba diving.

The City of Cockburn developed the Coogee Maritime Trail in 2016. The artificial reef modules were fabricated and installed by MMA Offshore (previously Subcon) based in Henderson, Australia’s leading artificial reef company. The reef weighs over 30 tonnes in total.

  • The first set of 33 reef modules installed in July 2016 are made from fibre-reinforced concrete
  • The second set (October 2019) included 2 reef pyramids, 7 Bomboras, 1 Abitat, 4 reef matts (fibre-reinforced concrete), and 7 Apollos (ultra-low carbon geopolymer concrete). Marine life recruitment has been very good
  • The third set of 12 bomboras (November 2020) are made from standard concrete
  • There are also 5 art pieces (various materials).

Frasers Property Australia developed Omeo Park which forms part of the universally-accessible land-based trail along the pathways at Port Coogee, in collaboration with project partners.

The land-based trail features maritime artefacts, including two restored anchors from the Omeo (provided from the WA Museum Collection) as well as a viewing area overlooking the shipwreck. 

There are signs along the trail, offering information about the Omeo shipwreck, artefacts, maritime history and aquatic life in the area.

Location, parking and access to trails

Location and parking

The Coogee Maritime Trail can be accessed from Socrates Parade in North Coogee (view Google map).

Free parking is available on Socrates Parade and nearby streets. Parking is also available on Chieftain Esplanade, and extends around the corner onto the southern peninsular. A path connects this parking area to the Omeo Shipwreck at Coogee Maritime Trail. 

Accessing the trails

The dive and snorkel trail starts at the Omeo shipwreck and continues 200m west, following the southern breakwater.  
The land-based trail runs parallel along the breakwater esplanade, near Socrates Parade in North Coogee.

The trail can be easily accessed from the beach at the northern end of Coogee Beach via the beach access path from Perlinte View, North Coogee. 

Important note: The City has installed stairs for ease of access. We strongly discourage visitors from climbing over the rock breakwater and seawall to access the underwater trail for safety reasons.

Facilities, toilets and services nearby

The land-based trail area provides:

  • Undercover picnic tables
  • Numerous lawned areas.

There are many facilities and services close by, some within walking distance and others a very short drive away, including:

  • Cafes (eg. Dome Café, Beachpoint Café, Coogee Beach Café)
  • Port Coogee Shopping Centre
  • Public toilets including Changing Place and baby change table*
  • Outdoor shower (located next to dive stairs and at Ngarkal Beach Water Park)

*The closest public toilets that also provide a Changing Place, baby change table and outdoor shower can be accessed from Maraboo Loop, near the Ngarkal Beach Water Park (view Google Map). Toilets are also available at the Port Coogee Shopping Centre on Marine Parade.

Commonly Seen Fish

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