Perth Parks - Kings Park & Botanical Gardens
Kings Park, Fraser Avenue, Perth at 400 ha is one of the largest city parks in the world. New York’s Central Park is 315 ha and London’s Hyde Park is 121 ha.
This 400 ha includes the Western Australian Botanical Gardens, which boasts over 3000 species of the unique West Australian flora. It was wonderfully informative that all the plants are easily identified with plaques listing both the common and the Latin names as well as information about that plant.
Two thirds of Kings Park is bushland. Over 70 different species of bird life also enjoy the park and there are over 850 volunteers who assist in the gardens. More than six million people each year visit this wonderful site, it is an enjoyable priority for all visitors as well as residents.
There is an immense feeling of peace in the park. It makes you want to slow down and wander at leisure, discovering the various and different areas here. I also want to come back with a blanket and book, lazing away a sunny afternoon on the grass, with the spectacular views in the background.
Commenced in 1892 and originally named The Perth Park, its name was changed in 1901 to Kings Park to mark King Edward VII’s accession to the British throne.
The best spots to sit and enjoy the spectacular 180 degree views of the Swan and the Canning River are near the ANZAC memorial. Here are both rivers with the celebrated blue skies over Perth.
Enjoy your own BYO picnic on the manicured lush green lawns, or grab a coffee and food from the on-site snack bar.
There is also a gallery shop that showcases locally made souvenirs. Parking is free for as long as you are in the park. There are many seating areas scattered about, and most of the paths are easily walked. There are warning signs before any steep areas.
There are three free guided walking tours daily, 10am, noon and 2pm, or grab one of the self-guided brochures from the Visitor Information centre at the park or online https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park/visit/help-you/kp-brochures.
Bikes are available to hire at the park and utilise the many even paths to navigate around. (Due to COVID19, at the time of writing this article in May 2020 the guided walks are bikes are unavailable until further notice. You can still do the self-guided walks.)
Bookings are essential for an Aboriginal cultural experience with a local Noongar tour guide. The park has been a sacred place for local Aboriginals. In their myths, the Swan and Canning was created by the Rainbow serpent Wagyl from near the park.
Plants flower all year in the Gardens with July – October bringing most of the wildflowers into bloom.
The Kings Park Festival which has been held for over 50 years, in September each year proudly presents a wildflower display in addition to outdoor exhibitions, outdoor wellness activities, musicians, photo displays and plant sales.
In the summer months, the Park hosts outdoor plays, films and concerts.
For almost a century the Honours Avenue Group have maintained more than 1,800 memorial plaques in the park. These plaques line the Honour Avenues, planted by trees that are dedicated to Western Australian service persons who have fallen in the line of duty. The plaque is inscribed with their name, age, date and manner of death.
· The person must be listed on the State War Memorial in Kings Park
· The person must have died overseas on active service and is buried overseas or has no known grave
· The person must have enlisted in Western Australia
The Flame of Remembrance in the Court of Contemplation commemorates conflicts in which West Australians have been involved. The four torches of the flame represent the Navy, Army, Air Force and Women’s Services.
Kings Park has more statues and memorials than any other park in Australia. The Women’s Garden in the Park has a lovely large pond starring a mother with child statue in the middle, and water fountains that shoot water into the air in varying lengths. Surrounded by open grassed areas and curved paths it is a lovely dedication to Women.
I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the park, and it would definitely take more than a day to traverse the whole area. One of the fortunate things about living in Perth for a year is being able to come back to a favourite area multiple times and enjoy it at a more leisurely pace.