Kings Park and Botanic Garden
The first stop for any visitor to Perth has to be Kings Park. Standing on top of Mount Eliza, you enjoy sweeping views of the city and the Swan River, with the Darling Range in the distance. Within this huge 400-hectare natural bushland reserve there are landscaped gardens and walkways, lakes, playgrounds, a restaurant and cafes.
Fraser Avenue, the main entrance road into the park, is lined with towering lemon-scented gums, honouring those who perished in war. The clock tower and bronze portrait bust at this entrance is a memorial to Edith Cowan, the first woman elected to an Australian parliament. A tireless advocate for women’s rights and children’s welfare, she now lends her name to one of Perth’s universities.
Opened in 2003, the Lotterywest Federation Walkway is a combination of on-ground pathways, elevated walkway and spectacular steel-and-glass bridge, extending 620 metres through the Botanic Garden. It is a snapshot of Western Australia’s famed flora; at ground level you’ll pass boabs, boronias and tuart trees, while the walkway through the treetops takes you close to karri, marri, tingle and jarrah trees. The Botanic Garden itself is spread over 17 hectares and planted with more than 1700 native species.
The Botanic Garden’s newest attraction arrived in July 2008 when a giant boab tree weighing 36 tonnes and estimated to be 750 years old was transported 3200 kilometres from the Kimberley town of Warnum and transplanted in the garden opposite Forrest Carpark. It joins long-time favourite attractions such as the State War Memorial precinct; the Pioneer Women’s Memorial, with its water fountains which periodically shoot skywards; the nearby DNA Tower, offering spectacular views; the fantastic dinosaur and fossil creations at Synergy Parkland; and the child-friendly Lotterywest Family Area.
In spring the annual Kings Park Festival showcases the best of the state’s wildflowers, attracting over 500 000 visitors from around the world. This month-long event showcases all aspects of the park, with myriad spectacular events and activities. During summer the park is a favourite venue for live outdoor entertainment and moonlight movies (www.bgpa.wa.gov.au). Fraser Ave; (08) 9480 3600; open daily; free guided walks from the visitor centre at 10am and 2pm daily.
Views across the city from Kings Park