metrotrekker

A Ramble About Kings Park and My New Toys

Perth, Australia

The Facts

  • Start or End: I started at Elizabeth Quay Train Station (Google Map Directions) and finished at Perth Train Station (Google Map Directions). Buses from the city can also be taken directly to Kings Park.
  • Length: 10.8km (6.7mi) in about 2.5hr
  • Grade: Easy to Medium. Once in Kings Park it is relatively flat. A bit of a stair climb up the Kokoda Track and Jacobs Ladder though. Mostly paved but some dirt/sandy paths within Kings Park.
  • Date Walked: 17th of May 2014

The Map

The Story

A long walk to the shops through Kings Park. Staircases, Perth's first public water supply, Playground Island, bushland settings and finally to the mall for some new toys.

It's off to Kings Park this morning. I have walked Kings Park multiple times before, one of which I blogged about, another where I just passed through and other times not blogged about in which I showed visitors the spectacular views from the Botanic Gardens (a must do when in Perth). Despite all of these visits I have only thoroughly explored the eastern side of Kings Park, but I guess this makes sense as the eastern side is where the Botanic Gardens lie and hence the majority of the attractions. Today I am going to make my way over to the western side of Kings Park to visit the Synergy Parklands and explore paths through the bushland I am yet to tread.

There is however and ulterior motive for visiting Kings Park today ... I need to purchase a bag ... a bag for my brand new Nikon DSLR camera! Yep that's right, I have finally had enough of taking pictures with my iPhone and so decided to upgrade. I was sick of using the iPhone as a camera for documenting my walks as every time I took a picture the GPS tracking app, which I use to track my walks, would be interrupted. I think it's because the iPhone geotags each picture (which is great as I know the exact spot I snapped it), hence using the GPS and stuffing up anything else that is using the GPS, like a tracking app. Apart from that, I shouldn't have to worry about the battery on my iPhone as much and the quality of the pictures should be a lot better, I hope. I'm not the best photographer (as you may have noticed) but I hope I can improve with practice and a better camera.

I purchased a Nikon D5300 with an 18-140mm lens from Kogan.com. Why did I get this camera? Basically as it is the only camera on the market with a built in GPS. Therefore, I can geotag each picture to know exactly where I took it. That's it, I hardly even looked into the specs. Nikon is a good brand, I have used their microscopes, so I assume it's a good camera. The reviews I read where glowing, so fingers crossed.

Ok, that's enough about cameras. I did actually take a walk around Kings Park before venturing into the adjoining Perth CBD shopping district to buy a camera bag. By the way, the pictures in today's blog are still from the iPhone as I am yet to receive the new camera. Yep, that's right, I am buying a bag for a camera I don't even have yet. Think I might be a little excited about it.

My walk today starts at the Esplanade Train Station and heads west along Mounts Bay Road to the ominous Jacobs Ladder entrance to Kings Park.

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At 242 steps it isn't the easiest way to summit Mount Eliza, but Jacobs Ladder is probably the quickest. It would be even quicker if I was half as energetic as the fitness freaks running up and down the massive staircase. After making my way through sculptured spandex lined heaving bodies and the sweat dripping, gasping, better-burn-off-all-those-donuts climbers I finally reach the top. As I catch my breath I take in the brilliant morning views over the city.

From Jacobs Ladder I walk along Cliff Street, then Bellevue Terrace into Kings Park and follow the cliff path in the Fraser Avenue Precinct, which is on the eastern perimeter of the Park. I take in the spectacular city views that Kings Park is renowned for, stride through the Botanic Gardens and then reach the Law Walk, a pathway which stretches along the bushland area on the eastern side of the park. Not far into the Law Walk is the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, a path which leads downhill from the Law Walk to the southern edge of Kings Park at Mounts Bay Road. The walk is dedicated to the bravery of Australian troops who fought on The Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea, one of the vital and best-known campaigns of the Australian efforts in World War II.

Why Oh Why am I going downhill? I just put in all that work to get to the top of Mount Eliza via Jacobs ladder and now I am undoing it all. It took 242 stairs to get up and now 150 steps to get down. Like Jacobs Ladder, the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is also a popular spot for fitness activities. There are many sweaty, panting people making their way up and down the track. I even saw two guys wearing masks over there nose and mouth to mimic the effect of high altitude training, their breathing was much less panting and more like Darth Vader's from Star Wars.

At the bottom of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is Governor Kennedy's Fountain, a permanent spring named after Sir Arthur Kennedy, the 5th Governor of Western Australia, and Perths first public water supply.

Not sure how safe it is to drink from Governor Kennedy's Fountain, so I rehydrate with my own water supply before heading back up the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk and then onto the Law Walk. I did plan to continue south-west along the Law Walk, divert onto the Lotterywest Federation Walkway and take in some early morning views from the elevated glass bridge, but unfortunately the bridge isn't open until 9am. I am way too early. Instead, I back track through the Botanic Gardens and head south-west along Forrest Drive until I find a path into the bushland near the Roe Gardens.

The path I follow doesn't appear to have an official name, but it shadows alongside Forrest Drive within a natural bushland setting. There is plenty of vegetation and many birds fluttering amongst it. Unlike the Botanic Gardens, it is extremely quiet, with only a few other walkers about. Very peaceful.

I continue meandering through unnamed paths within natural bushland until I reach May Drive, the Synergy Parklands and the Zamia Cafe. At this time of the early morning the playgrounds of the Synergy Parklands are completely barren, while the nearby Zamia café is busy with cyclist sipping on their morning coffee. I have my own food and drink for this morning, so I sit back and enjoy the serenity of the Synergy Parklands instead.

As I enjoy a liquid protein breakfast, fruit and some nuts I ponder the design of the Lycopod Island playground within the Synergy Parklands. Is it just me, or is a playground surrounded by water not a good idea? I wonder how many distracted kids have taken an unexpected dip into the duck filled pond.

From the Synergy Parklands I head back into the bush on the north-western side of Kings Park where I find a deserted sandy path amongst nature.

My mind wanders as I make my way through the natural surrounds and soon enough I find myself in the urban setting of Kings Park Road. Ok, that's enough fluffing around in Kings Park for today, it's almost 9am and the stores will be open soon. Better make my way to the Hay Street and Murray Street Malls where I am sure to find the perfect camera bag.

After a bit of a wander around different camera stores I finally return to Camera House on Hay Street and purchase the first bag I noticed on my shopping journey. That's the way shopping usually is for me, the first item that interests me is going to be the one I purchase, regardless of how much additional searching I do. So what did I buy? The Tamrac Evolution 8, Model 5788, Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack. How much did it cost? $AU199! Seems like a lot of money for a bag doesn't it? Only time will tell if it is worth it.

The Tamrac Evolution 8 seems to have all the features I need: it holds a DSLR camera; has a number of compartments to hold food, water and other camera accessories; it has a rain cover; it can hold a laptop so it can be a dual use bag; there is a tripod (another accessory I need to buy) attachment system at the front; and it felt comfortable in the store. Buyers regret? None yet.

So I am almost set. I have the camera bag and hopefully in the next couple of days the camera. Can't wait to get back out onto the trail and try out my new toys.

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