Our Favourite Spot to Snorkel in Perth!
Coogee Beach in Western Australia is a top destination for those looking to explore the underwater world and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the coast. Rich in marine life, it’s also home to one of the most popular sites to snorkel in Perth – the Omeo Shipwreck. Plus the water is crystal clear, not too deep and mostly calm – so it’s perfect for beginner snorkellers.
We reckon the long, white sandy beach that you descend to via stairs at north Coogee just south of Fremantle is one of Perth’s best as it is!! But having the Omeo Shipwreck just 25 meters offshore and the surrounding Coogee Maritime Trail makes this a magic spot to swim with a pair of goggles.
Where is the Omeo Wreck?
The Omeo is located at the northern end of Coogee Beach just off Socrates Parade. From the top of the staircase, you’ll see the wreck submerged in a few metres of water about 25m off the beach.
What will I see when I snorkel?
The Omeo is the centrepiece of the Coogee Maritime Trail, an initiative to create an epic snorkelling trail along Coogee Beach. In the clear water of the Cockburn Sound, the artificial reef and underwater art sculptures around the shipwreck create a linear dive trail and habitat for the amazing marine life that calls Western Australia’s coast home.
Make sure to follow the award-winning underwater trail. From a cannon, and reef pyramids, to a swim-through sculpture, the dive and snorkel trail features many interesting artworks centred around our maritime heritage, maritime archaeology, history and beautiful marine wildlife. There are even underwater educational plaques too!
History of the Omeo
Built in England in 1858, the Omeo was an iron steamship employed to carry passengers and cargo. After some mishaps, it arrived at Hamelin Bay in 1895 with cargo, passengers and stock and ran aground there destroying part of the jetty. After being refloated, it was sent to Fremantle to be used as a warehouse. During a storm in 1905, it parted its moorings and drifted onto the beach between Robbs Jetty and Woodman Point. It has remained in the same location, and sand bogged ever since, gradually falling apart with only the sternpost and a small section of the collapsed bow triangle protruding out of the water.
Tips for Snorkelling at Coogee
Firstly, be sure to check the weather and sea conditions before you go. The wreck will be more visible at low tide in less water depth. We’ve always found early morning is better for calm conditions as the wind usually comes up later in the morning or afternoon. And at lower tide, you’ll have access to the beach area in front of the rock sea wall to leave your gear whilst you snorkel.
- Parking is available on Socrates Parade right beside the beach. We suggest you arrive early on weekends as it does get busy. Additional parking areas are located at Coogee Beach and Port Coogee Marina.
- There’s an outdoor shower for washing the sand and salt off, but no bathrooms at the northern end of the beach. Coogee Beach has a range of amenities, including public restrooms, showers, and picnic areas.
- Take a floatation device. A pool noodle, bodyboard or kickboard will help you avoid accidentally resting on the wreck.
Where can I get a coffee or snack?
French Toast at the Beachfront Cafe in North Coogee
Regardless of your taste or budget, you’ll find plenty of options for food and drinks in the Coogee Beach area. Port Coogee Marina has a Dome Café and a few other local coffee spots. Or super convenient is the Beachfront Café or the Coogee Beach Café. Another great option is the Surfing Lizard Café in the Coogee Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
Respect the wreck!
The Omeo Shipwreck is a protected heritage site, and it’s important to respect its history and significance. People climbing on the wreck or jumping off has already caused significant damage, so if we want to continue enjoying these unique WA landmarks please do so with care! It is not permitted to touch or remove any artefacts from the wreck.
The Clarence Settlement at Coogee
Did you know there was a failed European settlement in the Coogee area? One of the earliest settlements in Western Australia, Clarence was established in 1829 by Thomas Peel but was abandoned in less than two years. Around 500 people arrived aboard three ships the Gilmore, Hooghly and the Rockingham but in the first year, some 40 settlers died of scurvy, dysentery, or other ailments and 6 from childbirth. Poor soil quality, lack of fresh water and harsh climatic conditions also contributed to its failure. You can find a plaque along the bike path between the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club and Woodman Point to commemorate this historic location.
The best site to snorkel in Perth
Whether you’re an experienced snorkeller or just looking to try something new, the Omeo Shipwreck at Coogee Beach is a must-visit destination in Perth. With its diverse range of marine life and stunning natural beauty, it’s a perfect place to relax, explore, and immerse yourself in the underwater world. Remember to take your time and enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery, and don’t forget to take plenty of photos to remember your amazing experience!