Whenever I go to Perth and need some time to myself, I head to Kings Park. This amazing park has been my favourite since I was a child. Kings Park helps me clear my mind, and relax, escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. It was originally opened in 1965 and has been one of my favourite parks in the world. I would rate it an equal first to New York’s Central Park. When you stand opposite the modern Fraser’s restaurant, you can see the spectacular views of Perth city and the Swan and Manning rivers.
What I love best about King’s Park is the Botanical Gardens. There’s 17 hectares of wonderful garden displays to enjoy and has the largest display of Western Australian flora in the world. One of my favourite garden displays is the Conservation Garden. The plants are grouped according to their region or type of country and was designed to preserve Western Australia’s precious biodiversity. I love taking photographs of these garden displays, enjoying the beautiful colours.
Also when I need time out to clear my head, I like going on long bush walks in Kings Park. There’s the Bushland Nature Trail which is about a 1km loop walk with raised sections of boardwalk and is assessable to all the park users. When you take this walk you would need to wear appropriate footwear as it’s very sandy and bushy. I like taking my time doing this bush walk and just stroll, enjoying the peacefulness and mother nature at its best. Many others who visit this area like to exercise by jogging or cycling by.
Kings Park also has two wonderful art galleries. First, the Aboriginal Art Gallery which has traditional Aboriginal art exhibited. It has beautiful paintings, sculptures and sometimes pottery. And on some days you can actually meet the Aboriginal artists and observe them as they work or listen to their intriguing stories. It transports me to their land whenever I go inside and talk to them. This gallery has a high reputation and is substantially recognised in the Aboriginal community and amongst collectors of fine Indigenous art from around the world. There’s also the Aspects of Kings Park Gallery, which is more modern and commercial. I love spending a good hour here, looking at their unusual gift collections. They have unique books, homewares, jewellery, stationery – especially cards and trinkets. I always end up buying one or two items here for my friends as gifts.
Whenever family and friends arrive to visit me in Perth, I always take them to the Botanical Cafe for lunch and we can just sit outdoors for a good two hours and talk and enjoy the view over Perth city and the Swan River. They’re open from 7am to 6pm, breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favourite food on their menu is the Beef burger and the beer battered fish and chips. They’re both priced around the $20 mark and are delicious. All my family and friends who dine here with me say this is one of their favourite dining out places in Perth, not only because of the company, but because of the good service and the outdoor views – it’s spacious and the decor is casual, giving you that home-away from home feeling.
For families with children, there are a lot of picnic areas around the beautiful fountains and gardens and a lot of people pack blankets and picnic baskets full of foodie treats and enjoy the trees and just sit and talk for hours. This is total bliss for me. Personally I love lying down on the luscious green grass and breathing in the fresh outdoor air. And depending on what season you visit Kings Park, you can sometimes smell flowers like lavender. Research shows that the scent of flowers and walking through nature, like a park, can help you feel calmer and happier and that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. “Nature is fuel for the soul, ” says Richard Ryan (Researcher and Professor of Psychology).
So, if you’re ever heading to Perth and need time out to relax….head on down to Kings Park for the day. There’s so much to do and explore. I highly recommend this – it’s one of my favourite places in the world!