Kings Park in Perth is a beautiful, expansive park offering panoramic views of the Swan River and Darling Range. The flower and plant displays in the botanical gardens are spectacular, the state war memorial is a somber reminder of those who have died fighting for our country, and the picnic areas on the landscaped lawns are beautiful. There are also extensive playgrounds for children to enjoy themselves and it’s all free!
For visitors looking to get away from it all there are large grassy areas where you can sit back and relax or take a short walk through one of the world’s biggest inner-city parks at 400 hectares. It has been named one of the most popular tourist attractions in Perth with six million visitors each year making their way here from around Australia and overseas.
With two thirds of the park native bush, there are over 300 native plant varieties along with 215 known types of fungi native to Western Australia and 80 bird species.
I love strolling through this beautiful landmark at night when you can see lights illuminating lemon-scented gums against a backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers and scenic mountain ranges beyond them.
This inner-city park is a great place to visit when you’re in Perth, so let’s find out what there is do in Kings Park.
Kings Park, or Mooro Katta or Kaarta Gar-up as it was known, is an important ceremonial and cultural place for the Indigenous people of Western Australia. Take the Boodja Gnarning Walk, which provides information on Noongar use of the land through interpretive signage.
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What to do in Kings Park Perth
The Western Australian Botanic Garden
The 17-hectare Western Australian Botanic Garden displays over 3,000 flora species indigenous to WA and has the largest display of Western Australian flora in the world.
There are always flowers in bloom, but the highlight of the gardens is in spring when the wildflowers put on a dazzling display of colour. Every September, Kings Park hosts one of Australia’s largest wildflower shows, the Kings Park Wildflower Festival, which attracts more than half a million visitors. You will see pastel carpets of papery everlastings, velvety kangaroo paws, red grevilleas, plus thousands more elaborate wildflower species.
At the Two Rivers Lookout, at the end of Forrest Carpark, there’s a boab tree that is over 750 years old. In 2008, the giant boab tree, known as Gija Jumulu, made an extraordinary 3200 km journey from the Kimberley to Kings Park. The tree was a wonderful gift from the local Indigenous people, the Gija, who are the traditional land owners of the East Kimberley. They performed a farewell ceremony to the Jumulu (boab in Gija language) on Monday, 14 July 2008 before it left for its travels to Perth.
The Pioneer Women’s Memorial consists of immaculately landscaped gardens featuring an ornamental lake, sculpture, and fountains, which are in the centre of the botanic gardens. This area is popular for picnics, outdoor concerts, events, and weddings (including ours!). Margaret Priest’s 9 ft bronze sculpture in the middle of the lake represents a mother with a child in her arms stepping forward to meet her destiny.
In the middle of the Darling Range flora, you will see a stone amphitheatre. Beedawong, meaning ‘celebration’ or ‘meeting place’, was designed by Noongar artist Richard Walley and landscape architect David Smith. The six large rocks symbolise the six seasons of the Noongar calendar: Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba, Kambarang and Birok. Beedawong is used for Noongar cultural activities, including storytelling and dance performances.
The botanic garden features separate areas like the Botanic Terraces, the Conservation Garden, the Banksia Garden, the Acacia Garden, Roe Gardens, Grevillea and Hakea Garden, and the Water Garden.
If you are interested in flowers, Araluen Botanic Park has a stunning display of tulips during spring. You can read more about it in this Araluen Botanic Park guide. Another favourite of ours is the Wanneroo Botanic Garden, where you get to play mini golf around the gorgeous gardens.
The Lotterywest Federation Walkway consists of a 620m path and a long-arched bridge, made of glass and steel, where you can walk among the treetops and enjoy stunning views of Perth.
The walk starts east of the Forrest Roundabout, through the Western Australian Botanic Garden, and over the bridge to the Beedawong amphitheatre.
It is one of the most popular places in Kings Park and is open between 9 am and 5 pm. The walkway is wheelchair accessible, although you may need some assistance on the arched section.
There are many memorials in Kings Park, including the statue of John Forrest, the Pioneer Women’s Memorial, the 10th Light Horse Memorial, the Queen Victoria Statue, and the Floral Clock. The State War Memorial Cenotaph as well as The Court of Contemplation, Flame of Remembrance, and Pool of Reflection draw over 40,000 visitors every year for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, held at 5.30 am on the 25th April. A Remembrance Day service is also held at 11 am on the 11th November. If you get the chance to go to the ANZAC Ceremony, which takes place as the sun starts to rise over the Darling Range and the city, it’s a very moving experience.
The State War Memorial was built in remembrance of soldiers who lost their lives in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
The 8m granite obelisk, the design almost a replica of the Australian Imperial Force Memorials erected in France and Belgium, honours all Western Australians who gave their lives to the service of their country. The internal walls list the names of more than 7,000 members killed in action or who died of wounds or illness in WWI. On the outside walls, there are bronze plaques with the names of nearly 4,000 Australians who lost their lives in WWII and subsequent conflicts.
Underneath the Cenotaph is the Roll of Honour with marble tablets containing all the names of servicemen and women from Western Australia who passed away in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam.
The ANZAC Bluff Commemorative Plaque is dedicated to the 2,500 men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who lost their lives in Gallipoli in 1915.
The Court of Contemplation commemorates the conflicts in which Western Australians have fallen, with the walls featuring the names of major battlefields.
The Flame of Remembrance, within the Pool of Reflection, burns continuously and symbolises the promise of all Western Australians:
“We will remember them”.
The Whispering Wall surrounds the Pool of Reflection. If you sit at one end and someone sits at the other end, you can whisper facing the wall and the other person can hear you. It’s pretty cool and something the kids find fascinating.
Kings Park have three tree-lined Honour Avenues, to honour service personnel who died in the two World Wars and other conflicts. Almost 1800 individual plaques line the roads along May Drive, Lovekin Drive and Marri Walk.
You can find a full list on the Kings Park Memorial page.
Aspects of Kings Park is a beautiful store full of locally made gifts and souvenirs. Many visitors come to the gift shop for its high-quality items, making it an ideal place in which to find something special as a memento from your trip.
Free Guided Walks
Kings Park Volunteer Guides run free guided walks of 1.5 to 3 hours every day, except Christmas Day. They leave from outside Aspects of Kings Park on Fraser Avenue. You can see the schedule in the events calendar.
There are also several self-guided walks within the park of varying lengths. Brochures are available at the Visitor Centre.
The thing that captures me most in Kings Park are the spectacular views across the Swan and Canning Rivers, Perth city skyline, and the Perth hills in the distance. It’s mesmerising watching the boats and ferries cross the river and cars driving by on the freeway, all with such a captivating backdrop.
Kings Park has lots of fun things to do with kids whether it’s adventurous play at the Rio Tinto Naturescape, a picnic, or playing at the dinosaur themed playground. Whatever one you choose, remember to be sun smart and wear hats, sunscreen, and long sleeves if possible.
Poolgarla Family Area (previously known as Lotterywest Family Area)
The Ivey Watson Playground in the Poolgarla Family Area is the best playground for children under six. It’s located off Kings Park Road, on the northern side of Kings Park. This play area captures the child’s imagination where they can be a pirate on a pirate ship or a princess in a castle. There’s also an obstacle course, fire truck, cubby house and lots of other fun play equipment.
This family area is also where you will find Biara Café (previously Stickybeaks), an excellent place for morning tea or lunch with friends while your kids play. I spent many mornings there before our girls started school.
Poolgarla Oval (previously Hale Oval) provides a big open space for ball games with a ‘learn to ride’ cycle path.
May Drive Parkland
May Drive Parkland, known as the dinosaur playground to kids, is best suited for children aged 4 to 8 years, but is also a great recreation area for the entire family. Here you’ll find a 75m long elevated walkway, an island fort, large-scale replicas of extinct Australian mega fauna and an interactive water misting forest. Our girls loved this area when they were younger, and it was a fantastic place to meet up with friends for a picnic (there are several free electric barbecues around too).
The Stromatolite Boardwalk allows you to learn about the ‘living rocks’ dotted in the lake and the different species of birds found in Kings Park. On Lycopod Island, kids can play in the water feature, climb the fort and be amongst the ancient lycopod trees, replicas of the world’s first trees that existed around 1,200 million years ago.
Children will love climbing over the giant mega fauna sculptures, which represent the local dinosaur species that once lived in Western Australia.
Zamia Café provide take away coffees or you can dine in for breakfast or lunch with views over the ornamental lake.
Saw Avenue Picnic Area
The Saw Avenue Picnic Area is on the Subiaco side of Kings Park and is where you can find picnic tables, free electric barbecues, open grassed areas and adventure play equipment.
Variety Place, welcomes all visitors, but was built with the special needs of children with disabilities in mind. The adventure play equipment includes a climbing net, tunnels, and a fort.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
The Rio Tinto Naturescape is one of the best playgrounds in Perth where children can connect with nature while having fun. The idea is that it allows city kids to experience the Australian bush in a safe environment.
It is surrounded by bushland and covers six hectares incorporating accessible paths, bridges, and boardwalks. Kids can climb the Python, 40 metres long and up to seven metres high, then build a cubby in the cubby area at the end. One of the best parts of this playground is the Paperbark waterhole and creek where there are logs to balance on and rocks to scramble over. Expect your children to get wet and dirty!
This Kings Park nature playground is free and open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. Due to being in bushland, the playground is closed when there is a very high fire danger or severe weather warning is forecast and throughout February.
A few things to be aware of is that adult supervision is necessary here due to the water components and the height of parts of the playground, it can be very hot in summer, and there are no bins so rubbish must be taken with you. I suggest bringing a change of clothes for your children and to wear old clothes so they can play without the worry of dirtying themselves.
The DNA Tower, named after the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) double-helix molecule, is the highest viewing point in Kings Park and provides stunning views from the top.
The Pioneer Women’s Memorial area has held some impressive concerts including INXS, Blondie, Tom Jones and Simple Minds and the outdoor Moonlight Cinema is perfect for watching the latest movies under the stars.
Eating and Drinking in Kings Park
There’s a lot of choice for eating and drinking in Kings Park from fine dining at the award-winning Fraser’s restaurant, Biara, Botanical and Zamia Cafes, to enjoying a picnic or BBQ.
Tours of Kings Park
I think you can enjoy Kings Park without the need of a tour. However, if you want to gain more information on the plants, indigenous culture and history, or if you’re short on time, then there are a range of tours available. We usually book through Viator or GYG as they offer free cancellation on most tours and experiences. See what’s available by clicking below.
Kings Park Maps
You can view and download a variety of maps on the Kings Park and Botanic Garden site or pick them up at the Visitor Centre.
How to get to Kings Park
International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety on our Australia page.
This Western Australia Travel Guide provides information on arriving into WA and other essential travel information.
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction.
There’s free parking available in Kings Park in the designated spaces. However, these do get full, especially on weekends and public holidays, so consider using public transport.
Bus route 935 travels from St Georges Terrace into Fraser Avenue and is free from the city.
I highly recommend the free Hop On-Hop Off Subiaco Tram Service, which is run entirely by volunteers. The tram ‘Ruby’ leaves Subiaco Train Station every hour on the hour between 9.00 am and 4.00 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, stopping off at King’s Park. Hail the tram as you see it approaching.
How long to stay in Kings Park
You will need at least two hours to explore Kings Park, but this will only allow you to see a fraction of it. To make the most of this huge inner city park, stay for half a day or more.
Tips for Kings Park
- Portable barbecues are not permitted.
- No smoking is allowed.
- Sun shelters are not permitted.
- Use of drones or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) is not permitted.
- Toilet and drinking fountains are available in the park.
- Kings Park is open every day and is free.
Jacobs Ladder is a popular place to exercise, where you’ll see people running up and down the 242 stairs. It is actually located outside of Kings Park, and you are unable to park in Kings Park to use these stairs. Kings Park car parks are for the sole use of its visitors only.
Kings Park FAQ
Is Kings Park free?
Yes, Kings Park is free to enter.
Is Kings Park bigger than Central Park?
Yes, Kings Park is bigger than New York’s Central Park (315 ha) and London’s Hyde Park (121 ha).
Can you drink alcohol in Kings Park?
No, you cannot drink alcohol in Kings Park unless at a licensed venue, event, or you have obtained a special permit.
It is an offence in Western Australia to drink in public, such as at a park or beach.
Can you walk dogs in Kings Park?
Yes, you can walk dogs in parts of Kings Park, but they must remain on a lead no longer than 2m. Dog owners must have their own bags as they are not provided in the park. Dogs are not allowed within 10m of any playground area, on the elevated section of the Federation Walkway, or in the Rio Tinto Naturescape. Also, they are not permitted during the Kings Park Festival, Australia Day, ANZAC Day, and summer events. Guide dogs are excepted.
Save money planning your holiday
Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Skyscanners and try different routes.
Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.
Tours: We use third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.
Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic.
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