The Swan and Canning rivers flow through the heart of metropolitan Perth, a city of more than 2 million people and the capital of Western Australia. The Swan River (Derbal Yerrigan) is 72km long and the Canning River (Djarlgarra or Dyarlgarro) is 110km. Together, these two rivers and their tributaries drain a catchment area of 2090km2.

The Swan Canning Riverpark was established under the Swan and Canning Rivers Management Act 2006 and encompasses 72.1km2 of public land and adjoining river reserve including the waterways and adjacent Crown land reserves of the Swan, Canning, Helena and Southern rivers (public foreshore reserves). Private property is not included in the Riverpark. Parks and Wildlife is responsible for the waterways and has joint responsibility for the Riverpark shoreline in conjunction with the local or state government land manager under which the land is vested.

Find out more about the river system:

Fast facts

  • The Swan and Avon rivers are actually the same river, sometimes called the Swan-Avon. The Swan River joins the Avon River at Walyunga National Park. The combined Swan-Avon River is 280 km long and flows from near Wickepin to the Indian Ocean at Fremantle. The Swan-Avon River drains a total catchment of approximately 126,000km2.
  • The Canning River begins in Wandering and flows through Armadale to Applecross, where it joins the Swan.
  • The combined shoreline of the Swan and Canning rivers is more than 300km long.
  • There are 31 major sub-catchments in the Swan Canning Catchment. Drainage patterns from each of these are influenced by local climate and catchment characteristics such as land formation and soil type. Find out more about different areas of the river, including geology, topography, hydrology and vegetation types, on the landscape description page.
  • Major Swan River tributaries include the Helena River, Wooroloo, Susannah, Ellen, Bennett, Henley and Jane brooks, Blackadder Creek, and Bayswater and South Belmont main drains. The Yilgarn, Mortlock and Lockhart rivers are the main tributaries to the Avon River. Tributaries entering the Canning River include the Southern River, Churchman, Munday, Bickley, Yule and Wungong brooks, Mills Street Main Drain and Bannister Creek. 
  • The deepest point of the Swan River is about 21m near Mosman Bay. This is a popular scuba diving spot.
  • The Swan and Canning rivers become an estuary at Walyunga National Park in the Swan River and the Kent Street Weir in the Canning River, which is as far as estuarine effects in terms of tidal forces and marine salinity can be detected. 
  • The amount of water in the Swan Canning river system is between 130 gigalitres and 160 gigalitres of water depending on tides, flood levels and atmospheric pressure systems.