Friday, 23 May 2014

Perth Day 13 - Kings Park & Hyogo Friendship Garden


FTZ stands for "Free Travel Zone"
While I'm not a passionate nature lover, I had been to all major parks and gardens in Perth city centre except Kings Park. If you can name them, I've been there. If they don't have a name, they probably just a patch of grass with no points of interests.

I would be amiss if I didn't visit Kings Park, which happens to be the top tourist destination of the Perth city according to most tourists. And the best park in the world according to Bill Bryson (while he's touring Australia right now, promoting his tour). Who am I to argue with that guy? In terms of size, it's quite a bit bigger than the Central Park in NY (4.06  km² and 3.41 km² respectively).

There're many buses go there (by that, I mean buses that drive past or near there). Most buses that run on St Georges / Adelaide Terrace will go past or near there. If you want a bus that actually drive you right inside of Kings Park - one that with the bus route named "Kings Park" - you need service 37. It has 2 stops inside the Park. One just inside the entrance at Fraser Avenue, and the other at Wadjuk car park. This is the terminus stop, and sometimes the bus stops there for the bus timetable adjustments. The same bus goes to the Domestic Airport in the opposite direction (if it doesn't change into service 000 for "Not in Service").

Fraser Avenue, Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
Fraser Avenue, Kings Park
A look at the official map (provided by the info centre) shows that Kings Park is basically divided into 3 parts: the Fraser Avenue Precinct, the Botanic Garden, and the bushland. Ok, there's also Saw Avenue Picnic Area, and Synergy Parkland, but these 2 areas are more for the locals than tourists.

The highlights for the Fraser Avenue Precinct is obviously the lookout to the city and the State War Memorial. From here, Mount Eliza, you get some great panorama of the Perth city and Swan River.

View of city skyline from Fraser Avenue Precinct, Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
Panorama of city skyline from Fraser Avenue Precinct, Kings Park

State War Memorial, Kings Park, WA, Australia
State War Memorial

View of Swan River, Kwinana Freeway, Mill Point from Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
View of Swan River, Kwinana Freeway, Mill Point from Kings Park

Obelisk of State War Memorial, Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
Obelisk of State War Memorial

Flame of Remembrance of State War Memorial, Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
Flame of Remembrance of State War Memorial

Old Tea Pavilion, Kings Part, Perth
Old Tea Pavilion

Queen Victoria Memorial, Kings Park, Perth, WA, Australia
Queen Victoria Memorial
Sundial showing 1:30, Kings Park, Perth, Australia
Sundial shadow fell on 1:30 (click to enlarge)

The photo of this sundial was taken at 1:47, 23 May (click photo to enlarge). If you look at the correction table's entries, you can see "MAY 1 add 14 mins", and "JUNE 10 add 16 mins". Since May 23 fell between May 1 and June 10, one should add an approx 15 mins, and correct the sundial time to 1:45. Not a bad estimate.

While sundial doesn't break down, and runs on solar energy. It's not very convenient to carrying it around, and can't tell time at night.

If you're interested in sundial and its cultural history, you may want to read my article on Beijing Ancient Observatory.

The highlights for the Botanic Garden are the Pioneer Women's Memorial, Lotterywest Walkway, and the Roe Garden.

These boabs are the star attractions of the Botanic Garden.

Boab Trees

Giant boab at Two River Lookout

Boab tree (Gija Jumulu in Aborigines language)
They are native to the Kimberly region in the north part of WA. This is a very arid region. To survive long period in the desert without water, camels store their fat (not water) in their humps, and the boabs store water in their trunks, which explain their bottle shape (also called the bottle trees for this reason). Indigenous Aussies get water from these natural bottles in their hollows.

Quick trivia: do you know Australia export camels to Saudi Arabia?

During dry season, it loses all the leaves to conserve water. Of course, growing in Kings Park, they probably have green leaves, albeit sparingly  - relative to other trees - all year round. They live a long time and this giant one in the Park is thought to be some 750 years old. It's said to able to live up to 2000 years. They grow very slowly. The young one on the right is probably only 100 or 200 years young.

Pioneer Women's Memorial

Statue of Pioneer Women's Memorial, Kings Park, Perth,WA

Statue of Pioneer Women's Memorial, Kings Park, Perth
Pioneer Women's Memorial

Fountain of Pioneer Women's Memorial, Kings Park, Perth

Lotterywest Federation Walkway

Lotterywest Federation Walkway is an elevated walkway that runs about 600 m long to give an aerial view of Kings Park below.

Lotterywest Federation Walkway, Kings Park, Perth
Lotterywest Federation Walkway
Don't forget to turn on the volume when watching this video clip.

This firewood banksia is native to coastal area of WA. Honey eating birds love these flowers. The inflorescence or cone showing blooming yellow flowers at the bottom half while the flower at the top remain unopened. Bewdiful and looks quite different from your 'typical' flower arrangement.

Firewood Banksia (banksia menzieissii)
Firewood Banksia (banksia menzieissii)
For the energetic, a full day - 9 to 5 - would be enough to see most of everything in the park.

Hyogo Friendship Garden

After visited Kings Park, if you still have more time or energy left, you can head opposite to see this Japanese Hyogo Friendship Garden. Few tourists know this because it's a small garden that tourism authority doesn't bother to promote it. And because Kings Park's visitors usually take the bus home at a stop from within the park, and bypassing this, and never discover it by accident. If you type "Hyogo Friendship Garden" into Google maps, you'll find nothing. It's so new that when I looked up Google Maps' satellite photo and see only a patch of green there.

Location of Hyogo Friendship Garden, Perth, WA, Australia
Location of Hyogo Friendship Garden

I stumbled on it because as I just exited the park's main gate at Kings Park Rd, I saw a nice looking building atop a hill right opposite, obscured by some trees. This, I believe, is the Ging Mo Academy building. You need to see past the ugly office block with the sculpture being the only redeeming beauty. Just keep on walk past this building on your right, and you will come to see this little gem behind the office building and at the foot of the little hill with Ging Mo Academy on top.

Ging Mo Acadeny (top) and Hyogo Friendship Garden (bottom), Perth, WA, Australia
Ging Mo Acadeny (top) and Hyogo Friendship Garden (bottom)
This is undoubtedly a Zen rock garden with a variation. Instead of having gravels being raked to create, usually, wavy patterns that represents streams or in this case ripples expanding from a rock being drop into water; in this garden the raking pattern is replaced by bronze strips. This is a practical solution for a public space. Of course, the whole idea of impermanence is destroyed (no pun intended).

Ripple patterns in a typical Zen rock garden. Hyogo Friendship Garden, Perth, WA, Australia
Elements in typical Zen rock garden.
Chairs on the side of the garden, Hyogo Friendship Garden, Perth, WA, Australia
Chairs on the side of the garden
This garden is a good place for one to rest for the weary body at the end of one journey and get ready for the beginning of another. You can sit here in the green and peaceful environment to contemplate and to recharge. After this, I'm parked out.

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