Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Perth, Western Australia

Covered with natural bushland, Kings Park and Botanic Garden is one of the most beautiful inner-city parks in the world.

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Discover Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Kings Park, named in honour of King Edward VII, was originally set aside for recreation and the preservation of native plants and wildlife. Spanning over 400 hectares, it quickly became a popular spot for locals and tourists. In 1965, a 17-hectare Botanic Garden was opened within Kings Park. Further developments included the construction of the DNA Observation Tower, various playgrounds, and the Flame of Remembrance, which was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. The park's highest point, Mount Eliza, offers breathtaking views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline, and the Darling Ranges to the east.

In addition to its natural offerings, Kings Park is also a place of remembrance. The State War Memorial, located within the park, honours the men and women who served in Australia's armed forces, with individual plaques dedicated to service members. And the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial was added in 2001, honouring the military service of Indigenous Australians.

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- Pete Richman

The History of King’s Park

Long before European settlers arrived, Kings Park was known as Mooro Katta and Kaarta Gar-up, sacred grounds for the Nyoongar people, particularly the Whadjuk tribe. The area was a significant site, where the tribe hunted and camped. Today, an important cultural feature is Kennedy Spring (Goonininup) at the base of Mount Eliza, a freshwater spring that supplied year-round water to the native inhabitants. The Wagyl, a mythical serpent of Aboriginal lore, is said to have entered the ground near Kings Park and emerged at the foot of Mount Eliza, creating the Kennedy Spring. This natural resource was also noted by early European explorers, including Willem de Vlamingh's party in 1697.

The land’s beginnings as a park dates back to 1829 when Captain James Stirling and Charles Fraser founded the Swan River Colony in strategic proximity to the Kennedy Spring and set aside the area for public use. This protection was short-lived but then became championed by Surveyor General Malcolm Fraser in 1871. By 1872, the parkland was officially designated as a 432-acre public reserve and on 10th August 1895 a public park named Perth Park was opened. In 1901, it was renamed Kings Park to commemorate the ascension of King Edward VII and the visit of the Duke of Cornwall and Princess Mary.

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- mrpbps

Who Manages and Cares for Kings Park?

Over the years, the park has faced certain challenges including a fire in 2009 that damaged the southwestern area. Despite this, the park has continued to thrive under the management of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) since 1999. Modern plans for Kings Park include the potential addition of a cable car to connect the park with Elizabeth Quay and other attractions such as The Bell Tower.

Established in 1993, the Friends of Kings Park also helps to look after the parkland and promote community involvement. The Kings Park Volunteer Master Gardeners provide invaluable advice to the public on gardening, including tips on propagation, potting, planting, and pest control. In addition, the Honour Avenues Group is responsible for maintaining the plaques along Kings Park's Honour Avenues. This was previously carried out by the West Perth sub-branch of the Returned Services League (RSL).

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- Amanda Slater

The Western Australian Botanic Garden at Kings Park

Kings Park is home to the spectacular Western Australian Botanic Garden, which showcases over 3,000 species of native flora. This garden is unique as it focuses solely on local flora and wildflowers found nowhere else on earth. The Science Directorate within the Botanic Garden has been praised worldwide for its work in restoration ecology, seed science, conservation genetics, among other things.

Kings Park Festival

Each September, the Kings Park Festival celebrates the beauty of the Botanic Garden’s Western Australia flora with a wildflower display. This month-long event features plant displays, live music, exhibitions, workshops, guided walks, and family activities. The festival attracts around half a million visitors and is one of the longest-running festivals in Australia.

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- Sheila Thomson

Natural Bushland at Kings Park

The park's commitment to conservation is evident in its protected bushland areas, which cover two-thirds of its total area and the relocation of the 750-year-old Gija Jumulu Boab tree from the Kimberley region in 2008. This tree was a gift from the Gija people, symbolising the connection between the land and its original inhabitants.

The natural bushland is home to 327 native plant species, 96 bird species, 30 reptiles, 9 mammals, and countless invertebrates. Visitors can witness the banksia woodlands, where tuart, jarrah, and marri trees create a lush, leafy canopy.

Natural Bushland Trails

The bushland is particularly special due to its biodiversity. Walking the bushland trails reveals fascinating sights, such as ghostly glow-in-the-dark fungi, nectar-feeding birds on kangaroo paws, and camouflaged lizards. In springtime, the grey-green bushland blooms with colourful wildflowers.

Here are several bushland trails to enjoy:

  • The Law Walk: Starting at Karri Pavilion, the Law Walk trail runs along the limestone escarpment to Dryandra Lookout, with an optional loop returning via the Lotterywest Federation Walkway. On this trail visitors can look out over the Swan River.
  • The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk: Starting at Kennedy Fountain on Mounts Bay Road, the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk has a steep climb of 150 steps, ascending 62 metres. It commemorates the bravery of Australian troops in the Papua New Guinea campaign of WWII. Plaques along the route tell the story of the campaign and guide visitors to the State War Memorial.
  • Bushland Nature Trail: This is a gentle walk ideal for those looking to enjoy the park’s natural beauty at a leisurely pace. Along the trail, signage highlights various plant species, including jarrah, pixie mops, wild violets, grasstrees, and kangaroo paws.
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Memorials at Kings Park

Kings Park houses more memorials, statues, and honour avenues than any other park in Australia.

State War Memorial

The State War Memorial Precinct is situated on Mount Eliza. This area is the focal point for commemorative events in Perth, including the Anzac Day dawn service on 25th April, which attracts over 40,000 attendees, and the Remembrance Day service at 11:00 am on 11th November.

Here are the components of the State War Memorial:

  • The Cenotaph: Unveiled on 24th November 1929, by Governor Sir William Campion, this structure was designed by architect General Sir J. Talbot Hobbs.
  • Court of Contemplation: Located on the western side, this area was inaugurated by Sir Charles Gairdner on 6th November 1955.
  • Flame of Remembrance and Pool of Reflection: Inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on 1st April 2000, these elements symbolise eternal memory and peace.
  • Roll of Honour: Situated beneath the Cenotaph, this roll lists the names of all Western Australian servicemen and women who perished in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In 2012, the names of those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were also added.
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State War Memorial - John Cooke

The Honour Avenues

The Honour Avenues—May Drive, Lovekin Drive, and Marri Walk—are tree-lined roads planted with eucalyptus trees each accompanied by a plaque honouring a serviceman who died in action or from wounds received. There are over 1600 plaques distributed along these avenues.

The idea was inspired by the Avenue of Honour in Ballarat, Victoria and proposed by Mr. Arthur Lovekin. Families paid 10 shillings to cover planting costs, and ex-servicemen provided labour. Forrest Avenue, originally planted with Sugar Gums, was renamed Lovekin Drive in honour of Lovekin after his death.

Fraser Avenue, initially planted with Red-flowering gums (Corymbia ficifolia) in 1898 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee, suffered from patch canker disease in the 1930s. In 1938, Lemon Scented Gum trees (Corymbia citriodora) were planted to honour dignitaries and members of the Western Australia Centenary organising Committee.

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Fraser Avenue - Graeme Churchard

Bali Memorial

The Bali Memorial honours the 16 Western Australian victims, the injured, and the rescuers of the Bali bombings on 12th October 2002, which claimed 202 lives and injured 209 others.

Edith Dircksey Cowan Memorial

The Edith Dircksey Cowan Memorial, formerly the Edith Cowan Memorial Clock, can be found at the main entrance to Kings Park. Built in 1934, it commemorates Edith Cowan, the first woman elected to an Australian parliament. Originally, the memorial committee intended to build the memorial inside the park, but the Kings Park Board declined the request, leading to the construction of the clock tower.

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State War Memorial - John Cooke

Guided Walks and Self-Guided Walks

Founded in 1984, the Kings Park Guides are a dedicated group of volunteers who lead free guided walks throughout the year and staff the Visitor Information Centre. These guided walks depart from outside Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop daily at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Along the way the guides point out the history of the park as well as the park’s monuments, memorials, bushland paths, and the Botanic Garden. The guides incorporate local Noongar names and traditions into their walks, which vary according to the Noongar seasons: Djilba-Kambarang (July–October) for wildflowers, Mukuru (May–June), and Birak-Djeran (November–April).

Alternatively, visitors can take self-guided walks, with brochures available at the Visitor Information Centre next to Aspects of Kings Park in the Fraser Avenue Precinct.

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- Chiara Coetzee

Things to do at Kings Park

Lotterywest Federation Walkway

The Lotterywest Federation Walkway is a treetop attraction, which provides great views of the parkland and also has educational plaques detailing the history and biodiversity of the area. As you walk along, you'll learn about the cultural and natural heritage of Western Australia.

Family-Friendly Activities

At the park there are several play areas. This includes the May Drive Parkland, also known as Synergy Parkland, which has play and climbing equipment, life-sized model dinosaurs, and a lake with an island fort. The Lotterywest Family Area is perfect for younger children, offering safe and imaginative play spaces. And Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is a great spot for children to explore, and learn about native wildlife and plants.

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Learn about the Aboriginal Presence on the Land

One of the highlights of Kings Park is the 760-year-old boab tree from the Kimberley region. This ancient tree is a significant cultural icon. For a deeper understanding of the traditional ways of life, stories, and connection the Nyoongar people have with the land, visitors can book an Aboriginal cultural tour with a local Nyoongar guide.

Climb the DNA Tower

The DNA Tower is a 15-metre-high double helix staircase with 101 steps and great views from the top. The design of the tower is inspired by the DNA molecule, and the climb provides a fun and rewarding challenge.

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Climb the DNA Tower at Kings Park - Amanda Slater

Shopping and Dining at Kings Park

Stocked with gifts, artworks, and souvenirs, Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop is an award-winning store that’s the perfect place to pick up some last minute mementos from your trip to Kings Park, or Perth in general. After exploring the park, you enjoy a picnic at one of the BBQ areas or can relax at one of the park's cafes; Zamia Café or Sticky Beaks. Both of which are open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (and until 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays). There’s also Kings Park and Bovell Kiosks, the award-winning Fraser's Restaurant, and the Botanical Cafe.

Stickybeaks Café

Located within the Lotterywest Family Area near the Ivey Watson Playground, Stickybeaks Café is a popular spot for families. The café offers a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack options, with both indoor and outdoor seating under a shaded patio.

Zamia Café

Zamia Café, recently renovated, is situated near the Synergy Playground and also has indoor and outdoor seating with views overlooking the lake and gardens of Kings Park. Freshly baked scones with jam and cream, as well as a variety of cakes and pastries, are a highlight.

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What you need to know

Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue, Perth Western Australia 6005
-31.960939, 115.832199
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