Canning River Regional Park extends for six kilometres along both sides of the Canning River. First set aside for public use in the 19th century, today the park consists of large areas of parkland for public recreation and extensive wetlands managed for the protection of biodiversity. Given the flatness of the park, it is possible to experience total enclosure in a natural setting while being surrounded by suburbia. The park contains a well developed network of dual-use paths that provide visitors with ready access to most areas, as well as a convenient link between residential areas on the south side of the Canning River and the commercial centre in Cannington.
The Canning River (‘Dyarlgaard’) is Noongar country, and the Beeliar people are this site’s traditional owners. The river system provided a path to follow when moving across country as well as resources including food and shelter. A possible camping site, consisting of a sparse scatter of quartz and glass artefacts, is located in the south eastern corner of the Park.
The park has had a diverse history of use since Europeans settled around the river in the 1830’s. Land was cleared for grazing, dairy farming, market gardens, orchards and vineyards. The Canning River was an important means of transport in the early period of settlement. Later, the river provided an ideal setting for swimming, boating, fishing and picnics.
The Park contains a wide diversity of habitats that include salt water estuary and deltine islands, salt marshes, freshwater riverine environment, billabong, and modified forest and woodlands on floodplain. The estuarine vegetation fringing the river is considered to be the best in the entire Swan-Canning River system. These habitats are highly valued as a refuge for a diversity of birds and other wildlife. Fringing woodlands of eucalyptus, sheoak and paperbark trees, extensive sedgelands and views of open water contribute to the high visual quality of the Park.
The park contains sites of historical importance. Woodloes Homestead, designed and built in 1874 by the architect Francis Bird, is one of the few remaining 19th century houses in the area. The homestead was restored by the City of Canning in the early 1970’s and is open to the public at designated times. Mason’s Landing was the site of the State’s first powered saw mill in the 1865. The mill loaded jarrah from the Darling Scarp and locally cut sheoak, banksia and paperbark on barges at Mason’s Landing and transported it down the Canning River to Perth and Fremantle. Kent Street Weir was built in 1927 to prevent movement of salt water up the Canning River. It has considerable heritage value as it has a long history of construction and is associated with past land practices.
Canning River Regional Park is an easy 20 minute drive from the CBD. It is accessible by all vehicles on sealed roads.
One of the best ways to experience the Canning River Regional Park is by canoeing down the waters of the Canning River. Designated canoe launching facilities are provided at Mason’s Landing, Kent St Weir, Riverton Jetty Park and Woodloes Park. The Canning Canoe Trail Project runs the length of the river, and the stage which passes through the park should take 2-3 hours one way, or a full day if you plan on returning to your start point. There are no rapids or adrenalin pumping sections in this stretch, it is a relaxing float down the river with some spectacular views of the nature which exists in our suburbs.
Walking and Cycling
Four Canning River Regional Park Interpretive Walk Trails run through the park. The Butterflies, Birds and Bridges Loop explores the biodiversity present in the park. Woodloes Walk examines the lives of the people who lived in this area. Banksia Hill Loop takes you around the saltmarshes upstream of the weir. The Lagoon to Living Streams wanders the length of the river below the weir. The trails are all marked and contain informative signage about the ecology and history of the area. The trails are dual use, so beware of cyclists.