Kings Park is the largest inner city park in the world and a most popular visitor destination in Western Australia, being visited by over five million people each year. Located on the western edge of the Perth city centre, the park is a mixture of grassed parkland, botanical gardens and natural bushland on Mount Eliza with two thirds of the grounds conserved as native bushland. With panoramic views of the Swan River and Darling Range, it is home to over 300 native plant varieties and 80 bird species. It overlooks the city as well as Perth Water and Melville Water on the Swan River.
Besides tourist facilities such as walks, picnic areas, a cafe and restaurant, Kings Park contains the State War Memorial, the Royal Kings Park Tennis club and a reservoir. The streets are tree lined with individual plaques dedicated by family members to Western Australian service men and women who died in World War I and World War II.
During September of each year Kings Park hosts Australia's largest wildflower show and exhibition - the Kings Park Festival. Beginning in 1965, the Kings Park Festival has grown to a month long celebration of floral displays, live music, exhibitions, workshops, interpretive artworks, guided walks and family activities throughout September. Held to promote the beauty of Western Australia's native wildflowers, the event now attracts over 500,000 people including gardening enthusiasts, families, school students, artists, seniors and fashion lovers.
The road verges through King Park have been planted with eucalyptus trees, and in front of each one is a plaque honouring those service men who died during action or as a result of wounds received; there are over 1100 of these plaques.
Opening hours: Open at all times
How To Get There: walk from St Georges Terrace up Malcolm Street, left into Fraser Avenue
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The State War Memorial Precinct is located on Mount Eliza overlooking Perth Water. It comprises the Cenotaph, Court of Contemplation, Flame of Remembrance and Pool of Reflection. The State War Memorial Precinct is visited by more than 40,000 people each Anzac Day. A dawn service is held at 5:30am on 25 April each year.
The Cenotaph was unveiled in the year of the Centenary of Western Australia - on 24 November 1929 by the Governor Sir William Campion. The court of contemplation is at the western side of the precinct. The flame of remembrance and pool of reflection was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on the 1st of April 2000.
Underneath the Cenotaph is the roll of honour with the names of all servicemen and women from Western Australia to die in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam. Distributed throughout the park are more specific memorials to various battles, military units, prisoners of war and other groups.
The Western Australian Botanic Garden is an 18 hectare site within the park. It has a collection of 2000 species of Western Australian flora on display. Botanic Garden is part of the worldwide network of botanic gardens committed to plant conservation. It was established to showcase the flora of Western Australia to those visiting Perth for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, although the official opening did not take place until 1965.
The Botanic Garden is today home to over half of Australia's 25,000 plant species and the following popular landmarks: Conservation Garden; Gija Jumulu Boab Tree; Pioneer Women's Memorial Fountain and Water Garden; Lotterywest Federation Walkway (a treetop walkway)
Built on the highest point of the park in 1966, the DNA Tower is a white 15m high double helix staircase that has 101 steps and was inspired by a double staircase in a Chateau at Blois in France. Its design resembles the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule. The paving below the DNA Tower is made with stones sent from 11 towns and 80 shires in Western Australia.
The Synergy Parkland in Kings Park and Botanic Garden is the first environmental playground and community area of its kind in Australia. It is a recreation area for the entire family, with the playground particularly suitable for children over six years.
The Lotterywest Family Area is a popular playground for young families that is specifically targeted for children aged under five to encourage strong early childhood development. It was extensively refurbished in 2006 with funding from Lotterywest.
A bequest from Mr F. Wittenoom, a Western Australian pastoralist, was used to build the floral clock outside the restaurant in Kings Park. the clock was unveiled in 1962. The call of the Rufous Whistler, a bird found in Kings Park bushland, indicates the half hours. The landmark was removed in 2011 to allow for landscape improvements. It has been reinstated 200 metres south of its previous location, near the Western Australian Botanic Garden entry. The 2013 design features Australian plants as the roman numerals and a range of Western Australian native plants around the perimeter and in the clock centre.
The bronze sculpture, ornamental lake and fountains serve as a centre-piece for the Western Australian Botanic Garden. The iconic nine foot bronze sculpture was formally opened in January 1968, reputed to be the largest undertaken in Australia at the time. The figure represents a mother with an infant in her arms, stepping forth to meet her destiny. It stands on a stepping stone in the pond surrounded by five other stepping stones and fountains, and is the centre piece of the Water Garden.
Walk among the treetops and enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway. The journey extends 620 metres through the Western Australian Botanic Garden over an arched bridge suspended among a canopy of tall eucalypts. The 40 minute return journey begins east of the Lord Forrest Roundabout. It travels through the Western Australian Botanic Garden and over the spectacular elevated 52 metre glass and steel arched bridge to the Beedawong amphitheatre. Along the way, visitors can enjoy views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the diverse Western Australian flora, Interpretive signage details Kings Park and Botanic Garden's connection to Federation and the importance of Lord John Forrest's involvement in the Park's history. Aboriginal art, the Water Garden and Marri woodland forest.
The elevated section of the walkway is open between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily. Entry is free, with donations welcome to the Friends of Kings Park at the walkway entrance. It is wheelchair accessible, although some may require assistance on the arched section of the elevated walkway.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden has more memorials, statues and honour avenues than any other park in Australia. The self-guided memorial walk takes in stunning views of the Swan River and Perth's central business district as visitors pass the State War Memorial, entrance to the Western Australian Botanic Garden and Lotterywest Federation Walkway and back to the restaurant precinct.
Kings Park's premier urban bushland trail, it is a 2.5 km loop walk that begins at Rotunda Two and continues along the ridge of the limestone escarpment to Dryandra Lookout. A loop in the trail then leads to the Lotterywest Federation Walkway and back to the start of Law Walk, taking visitors approximately 45 minutes to complete.
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is a tribute to the bravery of Australian troops who fought in the Papua New Guinea campaign of July 1942 - January 1943. The Kokoda Walk begins at Kennedy Fountain on Mounts Bay Road with a steep climb of 150 steps that ascends a height of 62m.
Jacob's Ladder is a set of stairs located at the end of Cliff Street, which marks the boundary of Kings Park. It has 242 steps and leads down to Mounts Bay Road. The Ladder is a popular site for locals to exercise, with many people using it in the mornings and on lunch breaks.
Founded in 1984, the Kings Park Guides are a dynamic group of volunteers that lead Guided Walks all year round and help staff the Visitor Information Centre. Twice daily the Kings Park Volunteer Guides provide guided walking tours of the monuments and memorials, bushland paths and the Botanic Garden. The guides cover all aspects of the park including the local Noongar names and traditions. Walks are varied according to the Noongar season Djilba-Kambarang (July - October) for the wildflower season; the Mukuru for May and June, and the Birak-Djeran for November - April.
The Royal King's Park Tennis Club, founded in 1898, is located within King's Park. The club has seen numerous Davis Cup ties played there, bringing some of the world's greatest tennis players to Perth. The 1971 Federation Cup was held there. Currently, the Club features 28 grass courts and 3 hard courts. The club is heritage listed and features the main pavilion built in 1926, and the McGibbon Stand built in 1935.
South Perth from Kings Park
Prior to European settlement and exploration Mount Eliza was known as Mooro Katta and Kaarta Gar-up, the Aboriginal names given by the Nyoongar inhabitants. The area has been an important ceremonial and cultural place for the Whadjuk tribe who had campsites and hunting grounds in the area.
That there is an Aboriginal scarred tree in Kings Park is generally not known to most of visitors. It is one of the few remaining scarred trees in the metropolitan area of Perth. Aboriginals once cut a large piece of bark off the tree for ceremony or a coolamon. The tree is in the Botanical Gardens south-west from the statue of Lord Forrest.
At the base of the southern face is a freshwater spring, known as Kennedy spring (Goonininup), which provided year-round water for the native inhabitants. The spring was noted by the first European visitors to the area, Willem de Vlamingh's party, on 11 January 1697. The Lieutenant Governor of the Swan River Colony, James Stirling, chose the townsite of Perth for this reason - the only local spring. He named the area Mount Eliza for Mrs. Ralph Darling.
The Colony's first Surveyor General John Septimus Roe recognised the qualities of the area and tried to protect it, by identifying the land to be set aside for public purposes. By 1835 Roe's protection was overturned and the first shipment of five tonnes of Jarrah was cut on Mt Eliza, becoming the colonies first export.
Logging in the area continued until 1871 when Roe's successor Malcolm Fraser persuaded the then Governor Weld to set aside 1.75 sq km as public reserve. In 1890 this was enlarged to its current size by Sir John Forrest, the first president of the Board appointed under the Parks and Reserves Act 1895. Forrest planted the first tree, a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), and other trees were introduced to the site, Eucalyptus ficifolia and exotic species of Pinus; few of these were successful due to lack of irrigation.
Officially opened on 10 August 1895, the park was originally called Perth Park and was renamed in 1901 to King's Park - the apostrophe was later dropped. This was to mark the ascension to the British throne of King Edward VII and the visit to Perth of George, the Duke of Cornwall and Princess Mary. One of the major roads through the park, May Drive is named in the Princess's honour.
The Mount Eliza reservoir provided water to the local area, and still remains, but by arrangement of the lease was partly diverted for use in the park itself. This was largely allocated, after 1919, to the memorial Oaks and Planes lining May Drive. Their eventual failure led to their substitution with Bangalay, Eucalyptus botryoides, and Eucalyptus calophylla var. rosea.
Kings Park was the venue for all road cycling events of the 1962 Perth British Epmire and Commonwealth Games. A section of Fraser Avenue in front of the floral clock was the start and finish point. Since 1999, Kings Park has been administered by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.
The Karri Log was an iconic and a memorable part of Kings Park. It was installed 25 June 1958 and was located on Fraser Avenue near the Garden Restaurant (now the Fraser's Restaurant complex). The Karri log was transported in three sections from Donnelly River in Western Australia's south-west to Kings Park. Estimated to be 363 years old when felled, the log was 32 metres in length and weighed 110 tonnes. Various attempts were made to preserve the log over the years with little success. Internal rot was causing the log to subside in places, causing safety concerns. It was removed in October 2001.