Round Australia Road Trip #17
From its vantage point on Mt Eliza, Kings Park has unrivalled views of the city of Perth and the beautiful Swan River. The park is home to the Western Australian Botanic Garden, which covers 17 hectares and displays more than 3000 species of Western Australian flora. There are guided walks with park volunteers every day and self guided walking maps are available at the Visitor Information Centre. Let’s go for a wander together.
The State War Memorial sits in an imposing position near the Visitor Information Centre. The memorial includes the Cenotaph, Court of Contemplation, Pool of Reflection and Flame of Remembrance, honouring all Western Australians who have served their country in battle.
Near the War Memorial is this regally attired River Red Gum. Fondly known as The Queen’s Tree, it was planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.
The entrance to the Botanic Garden is just a little further down the hill. The garden represents the regions of Western Australia, with beds featuring the flora of each area. There are also beds displaying particular endemic species and other beds designed simply to showcase beautiful floral displays. In spring the Everlastings are spectacular; thousands of papery daisies in pink, yellow and white nod gently in the breeze.
Other beds feature Waxes, Grevilleas, Eucalypts and Banksias. There are several varieties of Kangaroo Paw including the new Anniversary Gold, specially bred to celebrate the Botanic Garden’s 50th anniversary in 2015.
Three Honour Avenues of magnificent eucalypts are accompanied by small plaques. They remember service personnel who have died while serving Australia and are either buried in overseas war cemeteries or have no known grave. The Sugar Gums on Lovekin Drive were dedicated in 1948.
Two thirds of Kings Park is protected bushland and a walk down Lovekin Drive onto Forrest Drive leads to the Bushland Nature Trail. The entrance to the trail is marked by a sculptured mia mia copied from the temporary structures built by the local Nyoongar people. Traditionally constructed from grass tree branches, a mia mia provided shelter while on hunting trips.
The Nature Trail is a one km loop track through native bushland. Even though more than 70 bird species and 20 reptile species have been identified in the bush, none are about in the heat of the day.
On the other side of Forrest Drive, opposite the mia mia, is the Pioneer Women’s Memorial. Set in an ornamental lake, the bronze sculpture of a woman cradling her baby is surrounded by fountains representing the bush where pioneer women made their homes.
Further along Forrest Drive, the DNA Tower stands on the highest point of the park. There are 101 steps in each of the double helix staircases but it’s worth the climb to see 360 degree views of the park and the city of Perth.
For yet another glorious view of Perth City and the Swan River, cross over Forrest Drive to the entrance of the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, an elevated boardwalk through the treetops on the edge of the escarpment. In the middle of the walkway a glass bridge rises up over the forest floor.
Covering 4000 hectares, Kings Park is one of the largest public parks in the world and a single day isn’t enough to explore it all. Let’s head back to the gallery at Aspects of Kings Park. I need to buy a flower identification book!