Perth's latest tourist trail is all at sea – its newest dive and snorkel trail is offshore from the city's northern beaches, and encourages water lovers to explore the submerged world of the popular Marmion Marine Park.
The state already has several underwater trails, including off Rottnest Island and the Abrolhos Islands, but this new dive, officially named the Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club dive and snorkel trail, is the most accessible, according to club member Paul Hillary, who has spent a decade devising and lobbying for the trail.
Snorkellers and divers can follow 20 submerged concrete plinths along a 400 metre path, guiding them through the underwater world of the popular marine park, located offshore between Trigg Island and Burns Beach, in Perth's north. The plinths are printed with facts about the sea creatures and features of the lagoons, reefs and small islands of the marine park.
The trail starts at the shore and goes out about 100 metres in a protected lagoon and to the outer reef, for a maximum depth of six metres. Keep an eye out for Port Jackson sharks, wobbegongs and rays, as well as schools of WA fish species including tailor, tommy ruffs and King George whiting, colourful nudibranchs and anemones. Other visitors include seals and rare Australian sea lions from their island colonies dotted around the marine park and, during the winter months, humpback whales.
However, one of Marmion's most prized species is also among the smallest. "The prize is seeing weedy sea dragons," says Hillary. "They're very hard to find, though we do spot them on the night dives."
He recommends allowing an hour to fully explore the trail, including a fun hide-and-seek cave that's home to a school of buff and silver bream, easy for even little snorkellers to swim through.
The club is already working on the next section, which they hope to open in about 12 months. The dive trail is free and accessible to snorkellers and divers of all abilities, including children. See parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au