I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published August 10th 2019
Top Tier Tourist Attraction
You haven't been to Perth if you haven't been to Kings Park.
Located on the western edge of the Perth CBD and partly occupying the high ground known as Mount Eliza, Kings Park is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world and the most popular destination in Western Australia, attracting more than 5 million visitors annually.
Perth's Kings Park is a vast area of public park complete with creature comforts and spectacular views. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
About two-thirds of the park is made up of natural bushland with the remainder divided between cultivated gardens and public recreation areas.
Home to the State War Memorial, the roads within the park are lined with more than 1100 Eucalyptus trees each co-located with a plaque dedicated to the memory of a Western Australian serviceman or woman who died in either World War.
The view from the top of Mount Eliza is a top tourist attraction and provides breathtaking vistas across the city skyline, Perth Water and Melville Water on the Swan River.
Among a host of statues and memorials throughout Kings Park this one commemorates the reign of Queen Victoria. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The first recorded European presence here was on 5th January 1697 when the Captain of one of three Dutch ships exploring the Swan River region led a party inland as far as present-day Perth Water. Scaling the high ground subsequently named Mount Eliza they reported finding a massive Eucalypt tree measuring a full 5 metres in girth.
In June 1801, a party from the French vessel Naturaliste climbed Mount Eliza and in February 1827, while part of Captain James Stirling's exploration of the Swan searching for a site for the future colony Charles Fraser, the first Colonial Botanist also made the climb and spoke glowingly of the views.
At the southern base of Mount Eliza is Kennedy Spring, the only freshwater spring in the area that provided freshwater year-round for local tribes and was the reason Lieutenant Governor Stirling chose the site to establish the initial Perth settlement.
The Cenotaph is a key feature of Kings Park and is the centre-piece for the annual spine-tingling ANZAC Day Dawn Service. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Western Australia's first Government surveyor John Roe recognised the amenity of the area and sought to have it set aside for public use but in 1835 the government-approved logging on the site and the colony's first export of 5 tonnes of Jarrah was cut. Logging continued until 1871 when the government set aside almost 2 square kilometres of public reserve.
For 33 years, from 1862 to 1895, a convict-built rifle range occupied the crest of Mount Eliza overlooking the city, used by volunteers from the Perth and Fremantle Volunteer Rifles.
Originally called Perth Park, it was opened on 10th August 1985 and renamed King's Park in 1901 on the ascension of King Edward VII to the British throne.
Western Australia achieved self-government in 1890 during the reign of Queen Victoria who today is remembered with a memorial on Fraser Avenue, a suitably striking statue mounted on a 3-Metre plinth and surrounded by a cannon used at the Battle of Waterloo.
Kings Park today is home to several memorials to a number of battles, individual military units and veteran's organizations as well as the State War Memorial Precinct overlooking Perth Water.
Dominated by The Cenotaph the precinct hosts the annual ANZAC Day Dawn Service.
Beneath The Cenotaph is an honour roll listing all those servicemen and women who enlisted in Western Australia and subsequently died in the Boer War, World Wars 1 and 2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also located in the park is the Bali Memorial dedicated to the 16 Western Australian victims lost in the terrorist bombing at Kuta on 12th October 2002.
This plaque remembers the thousands of American servicemen and women stationed in Western Australia during World War 2. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The Western Australian Botanic Garden occupies 18 Hectares within the park and is home to 2000 species of the States plant life. The garden was established as part of Western Australia's hosting of the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games when Kings Park was the venue for the Road Cycling events.
The Royal King's Park Tennis Club was founded here in 1898 and has hosted numerous Davis Cup ties over the years. The heritage-listed club includes 28 grass and 3 hard courts.
The Kings Park Festival, Australia's largest wildflower show is held in September each year.
The Kings Park Kiosk, the Botanical Cafe and Frasers Restaurant all provide great views over the Swan River and Perth city as well as providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy some refreshment while taking in the beauty of the surrounds.
The views to the Perth city skyline .....
..... and across the Swan River are stunning. Photos: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Kings Park is a 'must-see' highlight of any visit to Perth with its expansive lawns, statues & memorials, The Cenotaph, Botanical Gardens, breathtaking views and a variety of options to sit and relax with a snack and something to eat.
Getting There .....
Access to Kings Park from the CBD is via Malcolm Street and Fraser Avenue.
Alternatively, from the Transperth City Busport, walk west along Mounts Bay Road, passing beneath the Mitchell Freeway, to Cliff Street. Take Jacobs Steps to the top and turn left into Bellevue Terrace. Follow the walking trail or Fraser Avenue into the park.
Why? You haven't been to Perth if you haven't been to Kings Park where the view from the top of Mount Eliza is a top tourist attraction and provides breathtaking vistas across the city skyline, Perth Water and Melville Water on the Swan River.
When:Kings Park is open 24/7. Anytime is a great time here but the views across the city and Swan River are at their best on a clear day or night. The ANZAC Day Dawn Service here is a spine-tingling event.
Phone:Western Australian Visitor Centre 1800 812 808