Overlooking both the city and Swan River this 406-hectare (1,000-acre) hilltop jewel of parkland encompasses a botanical garden, numerous war memorials, and native bush. The main entry, along Fraser Avenue, is lined with magnificent lemon-scented gums, while each tree on the other roads is dedicated to a fallen soldier. The State War Memorial sits imposingly on a steep bluff above the river. You can inspect Western Australian flora; experience the solitude of the bush; and bike, stroll, or drive an extensive network of roads and trails. A walk through the Botanic Garden highlights many of the state's plant species, including banksias and boabs, and leads to the Federation Walkway, a glass arched bridge that soars through the treetops. Visiting the spring wildflower displays (which peak Aug-Oct) is a highlight for many, with an excellent Wildflower Festival running through September. A range of maps and information is available online. An information center manned by volunteer guides is next to the stylish Aspects of Kings Park craft shop and Fraser's restaurant.
Join one of the free guided walks leaving from the Visitor Information Centre (tel. 08/9480 3634). Walks depart daily at 10am and 2pm and take 1-1 1/2 hours, or one of the longer, 2- 2 1/2 hour, bushwalks from May to October. For an Aboriginal take on the park and the entire Perth region, don't miss the Kings Park Indigenous Heritage Tour (tel. 08/9483 1111). Greg Nannup provides an excellent 1 1/2-hour tale of his people and their use of the area and its resources. Bookings are essential; the tour costs A$25 adults, or A$15 children 4 to 16.
The Perth Tram Co. (tel. 08/9322 2006) runs hop-on-and-off tours of the park in replica wooden trams, as part of their standard circuit. Trams depart from the main car park off Fraser Avenue, and it's possible to just ride through the park for A$8. Buy tickets on board.
Anzac Day Dawn Service
Anzac Day (Apr 25), which commemorates the Australian landings at Gallipoli in 1915 that helped to define the nation, is the most poignant public holiday in Australia. The Perth Dawn Service is held by the War Memorial in Kings Park. You arrive in the dark and ease your way into the throng. The muffled tapping of a drum marks the official procession to the memorial, and then the service starts as the predawn light reveals a hushed crowd of up to 40,000, young and old. The sun rises behind the memorial silhouetted against the Swan River, and the Last Post sounds.