The Crown Jewel of Perth

For being the most remote, isolated large city in the world, Perth doesn’t feel like it. The population of ~1.75 Million likely has something to do with that – Perth isn’t small. It has all the usual amenities and conveniences of living in a large modern metropolis with a few surprises as well. Kings Park was most decidedly the best surprise.

I awoke one morning and put my walking shoes on (which oddly look a lot like my lazy-day shoes, my hiking shoes and my dress shoes). My first stop was the Swan River, which runs beside the downtown area of Perth and connects the city to the sea. At least it did when the town was first formed – Greater Perth now sprawls all the way to the Indian Ocean, some 10km away from the downtown. On the river lies this oddity:

The Swan Bells, or Bell Tower. This tower holds the 18 bells and has the peculiar distinction of being one of the largest musical instruments in the world.

From there I followed the river towards my destination for the day, Kings Park. Kings Park is a large park nestled beside the CBD featuring a large botanic garden, lots of greenspace and even some natural bush to walk through. Something an avid hiker/walker like me would really like.

The area also boasted some of the best views of the downtown as Kings Park is on a large rise above the river.

After scouring the visitor’s info center for advice on trails in the park I set off to see some of the highlights. First up was the State War Memorial, commemorating those from WA that have given their lives for their country.

From that area you also get a commanding view of the CBD and river. The sun was also playing nicely for me today.

Don’t mind some of the pictures, I’ve been playing a lot with some of the camera settings as I’ve been learning. Contrasts, highlights, focus and such in subsequent days might be goofy at some times, but it’s all part of the learning process. :)

On that topic, one of the new modes my camera offers is a mode that mimics a Tilt-shift lens. Tilt-Shifting gives the perspective of soft focus on some areas while sharp focus on others, making things look ‘toy like’, cars and other vehicles in particular. Normally you need a special lens to get that effect, though modern cameras can fake it by forcing focus and over-sharpening on a specified area while softening everything else. I was quite amused by the results myself.

Anyways, back to Kings Park. The main highlight people come to see is the Botanical Gardens, which were quite good (they are all starting to blur together for me, having seen quite a few). They featured a good number of Australian species, including Boabs, which are funny looking trees.

Probably the other feature people seek out is the Glass Bridge, which gets you up into the treetops for a short walk. Very nice, though the views here were nothing to write home about.

Then I detoured into the centre of the park. I was looking for the DNA Tower. Named after it’s twin-helical like spiral staircases, this structure gives the highest viewpoint of the park and purportedly a great view of the city.

I imagine the view was fantastic when the tower was built…back in 1966. By now many of the surrounding trees obscured much of the view and I didn’t bother taking a picture. Oh well, it was good exercise and they had interesting little DNA facts scattered on the staircases. From there I delved further into the bush area of the park and wandered around for an hour or so before finding a tasty late-lunch at a small cafe. Finally I headed back to my hostel in the waning hours of the day. I had a busy few days coming up so I had some preparations to make.

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