Western Australian rivers help create a land of stunning contrast. Much of Western Australia’s interior is dry, but its coastal regions are laced with hundreds of spectacular rivers, estuaries, wetlands and salt lakes.
From the surging watercourses in the north to the lazy rivers of the south, these inland waterways are a hub for all kinds of water-based activities.
Dramatic Northern Waterways
The rivers and lakes of the North West, with its dramatic seasonal waterfalls, make for excellent sport fishing, boating and birdwatching.
The major rivers, like the Ord, Fitzroy, Gascoyne and Fortescue, formed the lifeline for the legendary northern cattle drives of the early 1900s, and are steeped in heritage and historic landmarks.
With the arrival of the tropical summer rains, these iconic Western Australian rivers transform dramatically into tumultuous torrents. Rivers spill onto the broad floodplains, bringing thousands of migratory birds and filling fern-fringed swimming holes to the brim.
Lake Argyle in Australia's North West, created by the Ord River dam, is several times larger than Sydney Harbour. Explore the lake by air to really appreciate its grandeur, or by boat for a glimpse of the diverse wildlife, which includes wallabies and hundreds of species of birds.
Watersports on the Swan
Without doubt, Western Australia's most famous waterway is the majestic Swan River. Meandering through wineries and farms in the Swan Valley, joined by the Canning River then running to the coast of Fremantle, the river weaves a path through the heart of Perth.
The Swan hosts a range of watersports, including sailing, water skiing, sailboarding, jet boating, fishing, parasailing, and cruising. And there are more than fifty kilometres of riverside pathways for walking and cycling.
Further inland, the Avon River's white water hosts the heart-pumping Avon Descent canoe and powerboat race every August.
Lazy Rivers of the South
South of Perth, the rivers are perfect for relaxation, with excellent fishing, crabbing, canoeing and houseboat holidays. Some of the best are the network of waterways stretching inland from the Peel Inlet, the stunning Blackwood River, and further south the Frankland and Deep Rivers.
Discover native wildlife too, with eco-cruising around the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet at Walpole on the south coast.
Western Australian rivers truly are a crucial ingredient of the outdoor West Aussie lifestyle.
Western Australia offers every adventure under the sun. Take in the sights by riding along bicycle trails, enjoy a dip in the Swan River or at Scarborough Beach. View More