It is the most visited place in Western Australia. Kings Park, which overlooks the city of Perth from its position perched atop Mt Eliza is said to be the world’s largest inner city park.
Whilst the park does have some lovely formal areas, such as the serene, yet magnificent section near the war memorial, and the botanic gardens that are filled with thousands of varieties of WA’s extraordinary range of native plants, much of the park remains true bushland, and this is the part of the park which most people don’t get to see.
Having a spare few hours I, and never having done so before despite visiting Kings Park hundreds of times, I decided to follow a few of the bush tracks in order to discover the true Kings Park.
There are many walking tracks throughout the park, but they aren’t always obvious as they do blend in with the native bushland. Bicycles and other vehicles (with the exception of service vehicles) are banned from the tracks, and you can take your dog with you, which I did, just as long as the dog remains on a leash.
Some of the tracks are paved, and others are completely natural. Once you begin to follow a track, you easily forget that you are actually within close range of a major city central business district. The bush you traverse is thick, wild and unkempt, which is so typical of true Australian bushland.
I love the Australian bush because it is a totally natural environment. On the face of it, the bushland looks harsh, unfriendly and certainly unforgiving. It is not a particularly pleasant place in which to get lost. There is no softness to this sort of scrubland as many of the plants are sharp and scrawny, coloured with pale, insipid greens or browns.
For most of the year the West Australian bush can seem to be rather mundane, but come spring and the most wonderful plants explode with colour for a short burst of time, which barley lasts six weeks. And this was why my wander along the bush paths was so wonderful. There were great swathes of colour from the varieties of wildflowers that had eked out a miserly existence to bloom throughout spring.
Most spectacular, though, were the clusters of Western Australia’s state plant the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw. So called because they actually do look like a kangaroo paw that is attached to a long, green stalk, the red and green colours of the flowers are incredible vibrant. They have a sheen which almost makes them look fake, and they absolutely glisten when shards of sunlight reach them.
There were thousands of them scattered throughout the scrawny forest, and they brought the bush to life adding colour and majesty to the land which nurtured them.
I wandered along these tracks for quite some time, and saw no one else on them, although thousands were enjoying the more formal areas of the park.
Kings Park is the most exquisite place to visit when in Perth. When you do visit, make sure that you wander down one of those insignificant tracks and you will discover the real reason why Kings Park is such an important Perth treasure.