Just minutes from the centre of Perth and overlooking the beautiful Swan River, King's Park has long been an important and much-loved playground for both local people and visitors. Situated on Mount Elizabeth, it covers an area of 1003 acres, of which two-thirds are native bushland. The remainder of the park is a mixture of grassed parklands and botanical gardens, which contain fine displays of plants found in the various regions of Western Australia.
Prior to the arrival of British colonists, Mount Elizabeth was known to the local Noongar people as Mooro Katta and Kaarta Gar-up and was a place of great ceremonial and cultural significance. Following the establishment of the Swan River Colony, the qualities of the area were quickly recognised, and recommendations were made that it be protected and set aside for public use. However, it wasn't until 1871 that the area was proclaimed a reserve, 1895 when it was officially opened as Perth Park, and 1901 when it was renamed Kings Park in honour of King Edward VII's coronation.
Whether you're visiting for a few hours or a whole day, Kings Park provides visitors with so much to see and do.
These days Kings Park is Perth's number one tourist destination, due to its accessibility, beauty and the many attractions which it offers. The following is a list of some of the top places to go and events to experience when you visit this special place.
Botanical Gardens The Kings Park Botanical Gardens are a magical spot where visitors can amble amongst exquisite displays of Western Australian trees, shrubs and other vegetation, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. These are arranged according to the specific regions where they are found, including the coastal plains, the far south, the Pilbara and the Kimberley. If you're only staying for a short while in Western Australia, a visit to the gardens is undoubtedly the best way to appreciate the uniqueness and diversity of this state's botanical heritage.
Visitors marvel at the park's boab trees, normally found in Western Australia's far north
Another beautiful spot to dally is the water garden, where artificial streams, waterfalls and ponds create a tranquil oasis amongst landscaped gardens. It's a lovely place for a picnic, and the large shady trees offer many peaceful and attractive nooks.
The water gardens are a refreshing spot to relax on a hot day.
Hiking Trails Active visitors always appreciate the many walking opportunities which are available in Kings Park. If you love bushwalking, but haven't the time to travel outside of Perth, the trails here will provide you with the chance to learn about the state's unique botanical heritage without leaving the city.
One of Kings Park's many walking trails
The popular Bushland Nature Trail is an easy one kilometre loop which is suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness. There are also two Botanical Garden Discovery Walks, which introduce visitors to many of the Botanical Garden's most special features, including the Federation Walkway, a 52 metre glass and steel arched bridge suspended amongst the tree-tops. These trails are suitable for the whole family and kids will be fascinated by the views to be had from the treetop walkway.
The Federation Walkway provides an amazing insight into life in the treetops.
More challenging walks are also available. For more information and maps, check out this webpage.
Interpretative signs provide visitors with information about Western Australia's unique botanical life.
Cycle Paths Whether you're a serious rider or a family wanting somewhere safe for the kids to gain confidence, Kings Park is a cyclist's paradise with kilometres of bike paths meandering through it. However, visitors need to be aware that cycling isn't permitted on all paths within the park, due to safety issues, so it's important to read signs and to consult a map. For more information about Kings Park cycling routes, check out the park's bushland tracks and cycle paths map, or the Department of Transport's .
Visitors to Perth will be glad to know that although bikes aren't available for hire within Kings Park, they're available at several spots close by. Situated in the Causeway Carpark at Point Fraser Reserve on Riverside Drive, About Bike Hire is a reputable company which hires out all kinds of bikes, including tandem bikes, quad-cycles and kids bikes.
Spectacular Lookouts Kings Park provides some of Perth's most dramatic views over the Swan River, the city's CBD and far beyond to the Darling Ranges, and is a popular spot for locals to bring visiting friends and relatives. During the day, you can marvel at all the activity happening far below in the city and on the river, while watching the sun set from the vantage point of the gardens is a popular way to chill out after a busy day. Evenings at Kings Park are also magical, and many local people like to bring a picnic hamper to share with friends as they gaze at the sparkling lights of the city.
Spectacular views of the city and river are available from Kings Park.
The landscaped gardens along Fraser Avenue, near the park's entrance provide many wonderful viewing opportunities, while the Mount Eliza lookout, a short walk away in the Botanical Gardens, is also a popular spot.
Shopping Not only is Kings Park a nature-lover's paradise, but it's also a great spot to purchase high quality, locally-made arts and crafts. Aspects Gallery on Fraser Avenue has long been considered one of the best places in Perth to buy beautiful creations by Western Australian artists and designers, much of which is inspired by our unique natural environment.
Aspects Gallery is a great place to purchase some unique and high quality local artwork.
The Aboriginal Art and Craft Gallery is another special place which you must pop into when you visit Kings Park. Situated in a spectacular position overlooking the city and river, the gallery exhibits works by artists from Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Staff members are always happy to share their knowledge about the history and traditions of the local Noongar people, and they'll also help you to book a place on one of the Kings Park Indigenous Heritage Tours.
Kings Park Festival Held every year in September, the Kings Park Festival celebrates spring-time in Western Australia, and especially showcases the beautiful wildflowers which are in bloom at this time of year. Visitors to Perth who have a love for the natural world will enjoy the festival's many organised events which include spectacular wildflower displays, seminars, workshops, guided walks, exhibitions and family activities. Most of these events are free of charge.
Perth's Best Adventure Playground The perfect family destination, at Kings Park visitors will find Perth's best adventure playgrounds, which are popular with locals and visitors, alike. The Synergy Parkland, Australia's first environmental playground, is suitable for children over six years old and provides an exciting assortment of things to explore including an elevated walkway, a two-tiered island fort and an interactive water-misting forest. For families with very young children, the Lotterywest Family area also provides a wonderful playground.
In a nutshell, Kings Park is a spot that simply must be experienced when you visit Perth. Located so close to Perth's CBD, it's very easy to reach, either on foot or by the regular buses (number 37) which depart from St George's Terrace every fifteen minutes. Whether you're a young backpacker, a family or retired couple, Kings Park provides a wonderful array of things to see and do which will keep you enthralled for hours. For more information, check out the Kings Park website.