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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrKings Park is a large urban park located in the west of the Central Business District of Perth in Western Australia. Covering 1.6 square miles, it is one of the largest urban parks in the world. It is a popular place among tourist and locals, who like to go there for picnics, walks or just to relax. In fact, Kings Park is the most visited place in the whole of Western Australia. It receives more than five million visitors every year.
The park is located on Mount Eliza and overlooks the Swan River, downtown Perth and the Darling Range. The views are spectacular and visitors can see the boats on the river and the city’s skyscrapers. Kings Park’s landscape consists of natural bushland – two-thirds of the surface area is managed as bushland – botanical gardens, and lawns and grasslands.
The Western Australian Botanic Garden takes up a large section of the park. It was opened in 1965 and has an extensive and impressive collection of mainly Western Australian plants. Visitors can see large numbers of them or sometimes just individuals. This botanic garden is unique in the sense that it focuses on local vegetation and flora. The reason is that the diversity of Western Australian wildflowers is phenomenal and most of them aren’t found anywhere else on the planet. The Western Australian Botanic Garden is home to more than 3,000 native plant species; in the natural bushland, 80 species of birds thrive.
Besides natural features, Kings Park also has its fair share of monuments and memorials. The streets that run through the park are lined with tall trees bearing plaques dedicated to Western Australian casualties in the First and Second World Wars. The most impressive memorial is the State War Memorial that overlooks Perth Water. The Bali Memorial commemorates the Western Australian victims of the Bali bombings in 2002.
HistoryThe area in and around present-day Kings Park had been inhabited for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. Those first inhabitants were the Noongar people , to which this area, particularly Mount Eliza, was an important cultural and ceremonial site. Their name for Mount Eliza is Mooro Katta or Kaarta Gar-up. It is a sacred place because this is supposedly where the Wagyl, a magical Dreamtime serpent, entered the ground and came out of the base of Mount Eliza, thereby creating the Swan River.
A freshwater spring, known as the Kennedy Spring, provided year-round drinking water for the Aborigines. This very spring was sighted by the very first Europeans who visited the region. This happened in 1697 by an expedition lead by Willem de Vlamingh. Later on, the presence of this spring was the main reason the Lieutenant Governor of the Swan River Colony chose this area as the location for a new settlement, a settlement that would grow into Perth, the largest city in Western Australia.
In 1871, 0.7 square miles was designated as a public reserve. This was enlarged to its present size in 1890. The park was officially opened in 1895 and was first known as Perth Park and later as King’s Park. The apostrophe was removed afterwards. Nowadays, the park is managed by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.
Things to See and DoThe first thing to do in Kings Park should be the Federation Walk. This great walk includes a treetop walk, offering an amazing bird’s-eye-view, and information panels providing information of the region’s history, fauna, flora and Aboriginal culture. For more in-depth info it is suggested to join a free guided tour led by a Kings Park Volunteer Guide. Self-guided walks can, of course, also be done on many walking paths. Popular walking tracks are the Law Walk and the Kokoda Track.
Kings Park has several picnic spots, scenic lookouts, barbecue areas and cafés. Food and drinks can be purchased at kiosks throughout the park, at the Botanical Café, Stickybeaks Café and Zamia Café. The Western Australian Botanical Garden is a huge attraction and should definitely be visited.
There are several memorials within the park’s borders, such as the State War Memorial, an icon of the park and Perth; Fraser Avenue; Bali Memorial; and the Edith Cowan Clock, dedicated to the first woman elected to an Australian parliament.
In spring, Kings Park is home to the Kings Park Wildflower Festival, celebrating the stunning beauty of Western Australia’s wildflowers.
Similar LandmarksAnother huge park in Australia is the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney in Sydney. Every major city in the country has its own botanic garden as well. Other major urban parks in the world are Central Park in New York City, Hyde Park in London; Phoenix Park in Dublin, and Englischer Garten in Munich.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 06, 2015