Kings Park is far more than lush lawns, native plants and wildflowers. It's also home to breathtaking city views, Aboriginal bush secrets and an immense 750-year-old tree.
By Fleur Bainger
That so much land has been devoted to native bush and flowers says something about Perth and its residents. Kings Park is huge. As one of the biggest inner city parks in the world, it dwarfs Central Park in New York City. Yet it's astonishingly easy to explore. Drive slowly through its heart, then park your car, get out the walking shoes or picnic rug, and enjoy it for a few hours.
- Visit the massive boab tree
- Join an Aboriginal bush tour
- See thousands of wildflowers in spring
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Top things to do in Kings Park
Marvel at the giant boab
Estimated to be about 750 years old, the park's 36 tonne boab tree was transported 3200 kilometres (1988 miles) south from its home in Western Australia's Kimberley region in 2008. This massive logistical feat was undertaken to save the tree from destruction, as it lay in the path of a new motorway. Boabs are special to the Kimberley’s Aboriginal people, and the nuts from this one were harvested and returned to its place of origin.
Wander through a wildflower wonderland
Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 wildflower species, sprinkled across thousands of square kilometres. Fortunately, the state's floral gems are distilled into a magical garden, which is created each year for display during the Kings Park Festival. During this month-long event each September you can enjoy events, walks and celebrations, and blooms often last until mid-to-late October. The best areas are in front of the Aspects of Kings Park gallery and shop, and around the Pioneer Women's Memorial.
Walk over the suspended treetop bridge
An arched pedestrian bridge made of steel and glass hangs 52 metres (171 feet) above ground level and leads you above the park's tree canopy. It’s part of the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, a 620 metre (678 yard) walk that winds through the Western Australian Botanic Garden, with interpretive signage dotted along the way. Along with beautiful views of the river, the walk also enters a marri woodland forest. Bridge entry is free. It's open 9am to 5pm.
Picnic like the view-loving locals
The grassy green areas surrounding the State War Memorial and lining Fraser Avenue are often covered in picnic rugs and cushions. Friends and families come to gaze at the transfixing views over Perth's skyscraper row and of the convergence of the Swan and Canning rivers. Pre-dusk is particularly popular. Here is a map of all the park's picnic and barbecue zones.
Meet descendants of Perth's original inhabitants
Listen to a Dreamtime story being told in hushed tones by an Aboriginal guide who is connected to Perth's first people, the Wadjuk, as you're led through the bush. Along the way you’ll discover native plants that have been used for bush food and medicine for thousands of years. The tour, which will also introduce you to local bush tools, goes through some of Kings Park's most beautiful sections, including the treetop walk, the Water Garden Pavilion and the Women's Pioneer Memorial. Tours cost AUD$50 per person and can be booked here.
Join a free walking tour
A variety of free walks depart daily at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Meet one of the Kings Park volunteer guides outside the Aspects of Kings Park gallery and shop, near Fraser Avenue, and you'll soon find yourself tracing bushland paths, learning about carnivorous plants, discovering historic and cultural monuments or observing the many native plant species that vary between coast and desert. Tours run for between one and three hours, and don't require bookings.
How to get there
Kings Park is right in Perth's city centre and can be reached via a free five minute bus ride from the city (any bus going along St Georges Terrace goes there). If you're driving, enter at Fraser Avenue.