The Coogee Maritime Trail features both underwater and land-based activities and is based around the Omeo Shipwreck, WA’s only shore-based shipwreck. This special trail invites visitors to explore some of Western Australia’s fascinating maritime archaeology and marine biology.
The Omeo was an 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.
The Omeo 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. In 1905 the Omeo was driven ashore and wrecked.
The Omeo now lies 25 metres from the shore at Coogee Beach Reserve and a unique underwater gallery and artificial reef has been created around the wreck, the first of its kind in WA.
The trail can be easily accessed from the northern end of Coogee Beach via the beach access path from Perlinte View. The trail begins in shallow water while its westernmost 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. You don’t need a mask and snorkel – a pair of goggles will do!
The underwater art gallery includes a giant sea star which divers can swim through, an old railway wheel, anchor and Dutch-inspired replica cannon and a sea lion near the shore. You can experience a large variety of marine life on the trail including a variety of fish, starfish, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, sea squirts and corals.
Underwater educational plaques give information about the Omeo shipwreck, maritime history and aquatic life in the area.
If you don’t wish to dip your toes in the water than why not discover the land-based trail? The 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.
Omeo Shipwreck and Coogee Maritime Trail
Coogee Beach, WA
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