Visitation to Bold Park is difficult to estimate due to the many entry points to the bushland and the limited opportunities available to collect accurate visitation data. During the year, a trial of battery powered pedestrian counters was initiated at the Reabold Hill Summit Boardwalk and at the start of the Zamia Trail. Data is not available for the full year but daily average pedestrian counts were 175 for Reabold Hill and 125 for Zamia Trail. The Reabold Hill Summit figures are most likely higher as it offers spectacular views over the city and coastline and is only a short walk from the carpark.
The vehicle counter on Scenic Drive that leads to Reabold Hill measured the number of vehicles at 65,733, an increase of almost 9,000 (15.8%) over the previous year with a daily average of around 200 vehicles.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden welcomed 5.8 million visitors in 2012/13 based on car count and pedestrian data collated at the park’s entry points on Fraser Avenue, Saw Avenue, Pool Avenue and Park Avenue. Visitation to Kings Park and Botanic Garden has remained consistent over the past three years after a peak at 6.5 million in 2008/09.
The spring and summer months once again proved to have higher visitation, coinciding with peak flowering times for the gardens, the Kings Park Festival, school holidays and the Summer Events season. Traditionally busy days such as New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Valentine’s Day, Anzac Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas and Boxing Days also remained popular.
Staff at both Bold Park and Kings Park and Botanic Garden respond to a consistent stream of daily enquiries from the general community on a diverse range of subjects including plant identification and plant information, comments and questions about activities and a host of general enquiries. The majority of these came from visitors from the wider Perth area with others coming from further afield including country areas, interstate and overseas.
The Visitor Information Centre in Kings Park and Botanic Garden, operated by the Kings Park Volunteer Guides, is open daily and provides visitor information on park activities, what to see and do and how to get there. All the BGPA’s maps and brochures are available from the Centre, which is often the first port of call for first time park visitors. The Kings Park Guides are highly trained and share information on a variety of native plants as well as their extensive knowledge of the history and cultural heritage of Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
The BGPA’s Park Management Officers play an essential role in all visitor liaison, providing front-line customer service to visitors in relation to their bookings, lost property, parking and traffic management, general park information and assistance with any emergencies. The Park Management Officers maintain daily contact with the Kings Park Volunteer Guides through the Visitor Information Centre and have regular interactions with all lessees.
In Bold Park, the Community Liaison Officer fulfils a similar role in delivering front-line customer service to visitors throughout the park. In addition, the Western Australian Ecology Centre is open during office hours and is attended daily by a Customer Service Officer to assist with face to face and telephone enquiries.
The BGPA continues to ensure that people with disabilities have access to events, services, facilities and information. For more information on the BGPA’s approach refer to the report again disability access and inclusion in the Government and Legal Requirements section of this report.
Annual visitor surveys are conducted in both Bold Park and Kings Park and Botanic Garden to assess visitor satisfaction with services, facilities and the overall visitor experience. This visitor feedback plays an important role in general management and planning for both parks. Results of these surveys are also used to provide data for the BGPA’s Key Performance Indicators.
In addition to visitor surveys, visitors have the opportunity to provide comments directly. As with results from formal visitor surveys, the BGPA’s procedures ensure that complaints as well as comments/suggestions from visitors and stakeholders are recorded and considered in the monitoring, management and improvement of visitor service and park management. All communications that require a reply are responded to promptly and directly.
Excluding the many telephone and email enquiries received daily and the hundreds of positive comments written in the visitor book in the Visitor Information Centre, 130 formal communications were recorded between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013, of this there were 79 complaints, 24 compliments and 27 comments and/or suggestions. With the total number of visitors to Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park estimated at 6 million for the same period, the complaints received represent less than 0.002% of all visitors.
In response to visitor feedback the BGPA has undertaken more active traffic management with additional visitor information provided on-site and online regarding parking and access by public transport. The BGPA reviews visitor demand and feedback in planning new facilities and in adding to facilities, such as provision of bins, drinking fountains, seating and barbeque facilities. Access to information is also enhanced through improving information available online and the development of frequently asked questions and answers.
Bold Park Visitor Survey
A survey of visitors to Bold Park in 2013 demonstrated a consistent high level of overall satisfaction with their visitor experience in the park with 100% of those surveyed indicating an overall very high to excellent rating. Bushland experience and cleanliness of the park were the highest ranked elements at 99% very good to excellent, followed by signage (77%) and condition of walking trails (74%) rated as very good to excellent. In addition, 67% were regular weekly visitors and 14% were visiting Bold Park for the first time.
King Park and Botanic Garden Visitor Survey
A general survey of 503 visitors was conducted in across Kings Park and Botanic Garden in 2013. Overall, respondents’ impressions of their visit were very positive with 97.4% stating that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their visit.
The most popular aspects for visitors were the views, time spent with friends and family and the park itself. Almost a quarter of respondents cited the views as the highlight of their visit, making it the most popular response. Other common responses in terms of highlights were spending time with family and friends, the peaceful/relaxed atmosphere and the gardens. 60% of visitors surveyed cited a family outing as the primary motivation for their visit.
The two highest rated elements about the service quality at Kings Park and Botanic Garden were ‘a safe place to visit’ and ‘showcases a wide diversity of plants’. The services of ‘toilets’ and ‘food’were both rated lower when compared to other characteristics and services of the park, although even the ratings on these were not poor. Parking was reported to be the least enjoyable aspect of their visit, noting that almost all respondents (85.6%) drove to Kings Park. This feedback is very similar to the survey results of the past three years.
Facilities and Infrastructure
With consistently very high annual visitation rates, there is continued pressure to maintain visitor facilities and amenities. During busy periods, parking is at a premium and BGPA staff continue to monitor parking and provide active management of traffic for busy days, special events. The BGPA is actively promoting public transport services, particularly during the very busy summer events season.
Cleaning schedules are regularly reviewed and tested for quality control to ensure that the facilities are appropriately maintained and a tender was undertaken in 2012/13 with a new contract awarded for this essential outsourced service. Where opportunities are available through capital works, new public toilet facilities have been installed and/or existing facilities renovated. Additional barbeque and picnic facilities are anticipated as part of the planned Stage Two works of the Saw Avenue Picnic Area in 2013/14.
Through planned upgrades, the BGPA works toward ensuring access and facilities are suitable for people with disabilities. More information is available in the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan report in the Government and Legal Compliance Section.
Play and Discovery Spaces
Kings Park offers visitors a number of themed play and discovery learning places that cater for families with children of different ages, each one delivering a different experience through its landscaped setting and unique play elements. These play areas continued to be very popular with families, particularly during school holidays, weekends and public holidays. Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park has proved very popular with an estimated 100,000 visitors in the first year.
Regular maintenance, minor upgrades and safety checks remain a high priority in all facilities to ensure high standards of public safety and asset protection. Activities included replacement of shade sails and some rubber softfall, regular oiling of timber furniture, artworks and play elements, quarterly cleaning of sand in the Lotterywest Family Area and decking repairs at Synergy Parkland.
In addition, three new picnic settings were installed near the toddler’s play space near Stickybeaks Café and new bin enclosures Planning for Stage Two of the Saw Avenue Picnic Area upgrade is underway and due for completion mid to late 2014. Refer to Major Projects and Achievements for additional information on Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park and the Saw Avenue Picnic Area Upgrade.
Parkland and Turf
The expansive lawns throughout the parkland and the Western Australian Botanic Garden continued to be the subject of highly positive feedback from the public with many visitors expressing admiration for the outstanding presentation standards of the turf, reflecting the skills and commitment of the turf curation team.
Turf development and maintenance activities included ongoing monitoring and adjustment of sprinklers and irrigation systems to ensure efficient water use balanced with high quality turf. Careful monitoring of fertiliser levels and their penetration into the soil ensured appropriate application without leaching to the water table.
The regular program of mowing, fertilising, weed and pest control and lawn renovation continued throughout the year, to maintain the lawns in peak condition for visitors. Parkland areas remained a popular location for fitness groups in addition to picnics, other social gatherings and larger events.
Treatments for the introduced lawn pest Sting Nematode continued to be trialled in the isolated affected areas, with the addition of a 100% organic compost mix to the soil at 125mm depth proving to be the most effective control mechanism to date. Other treatments will continue to be trialled and monitored by the BGPA.
Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop
Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop is owned and operated by the BGPA. All proceeds from the sale of goods at Aspects of Kings Park are directly reinvested to support the BGPA’s commitment to the unique Western Australian environment. 11% of the BGPA’s total revenue was generated through Aspects sales in 2012/13.
Aspects of Kings Park’s growing customer base has an opportunity to see and purchase an innovative collection of Australian art, design and botanically inspired products, friendly ambience, creative displays and outstanding customer service. Aspects of Kings Park offers customers several evening events each year to celebrate new products, meet featured artists or launch new books. These events highlight the wide range of services provided by this high quality gallery shop. The Aspects of Kings Park business plan was reviewed and updated to guide the direction of the core business, including marketing, product selection and development.
Aspects of Kings Park continues to earn its reputation as a destination shopping experience by retaining and expanding its solidfollowing. It provides a tailored and high value service for corporate and wedding gifts, and launched a new website with an online shopping facility this year. The new Aspects of Kings Park website has improved accessibility, images, artists’ information and news. The online shop has a wide range of products, and is regularly updated to ensure it is accurate and relevant for the expanding online clientele.
Aspects works with local artists to showcase the unique beauty of Western Australia and, in particular, Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Aspects’ reputation continues to be very positive and it is recognised as providing ongoing cross portfolio contributions to the tourism, art, resources and environmental sectors.
A range of private commercial businesses operate in Kings Park and Botanic Garden under formal agreements with the BGPA. These businesses provide both an important revenue stream for the BGPA’s ongoing operations and highly valued services to the meet the various visitor demands.
Three cafes operate within Kings Park and Botanic Garden; Stickybeaks Café (in the Lotterywest Family Area off Kings Park Road); Zamia Café (in Synergy Parkland on May Drive) and; The Botanical Café (as part of the Fraser’s Restaurant complex on Fraser Avenue). The Fraser’s Restaurant Complex also includes Fraser’s Restaurant, Fraser’s Kiosk, Fraser’s Function Room and the new State Reception Centre Kings Park.
The Royal Kings Park Tennis Club, incorporating the Next Generation Kings Park continued operations including provision of fitness and tennis facilities for members.
Commercial operations providing events for visitors in the past year include Mellen Events (concerts), Shakespeare WA (theatre), Moonlight Cinema (outdoor films) and Prompt Corner (children’s theatre). Further information on these events is available in the Events section.
The City Sightseeing service provides a regular ticketed bus tour of Kings Park and Botanic Garden. The Indigenous Heritage Tours and the Aboriginal Art Gallery continued to operate through the year, providing visitors with an insight into Aboriginal culture and in the case of the Gallery, the opportunity to purchase Aboriginal artworks.
2012 Kings Park Festival
The Kings Park Festival is Kings Park’s premier event held annually in September. Each year thousands of visitors attend the month long event with a program of activities, workshops and seminars and incredible native plant displays in the gardens. An estimated 620,000 people attended the Kings Park Festival in September 2012. More information about the Kings Park Festival can be found in the Major Projects and Events section.
Kings Park Summer Events Season
The Kings Park Summer Events series of concerts, theatre performances and outdoor cinema continue to be popular. The program of events attracted more than 86,000 visitors from November 2012 to April 2013. The Summer Events program is supported by horticultural and grounds staff with on site supervision of events contractors to protect park assets and ongoing maintenance and repair of turf areas to ensure high standards of presentation to all visitors. The 2012/13 Summer Events program included:
Seven concerts were presented by Mellen Events with artists including The Angels with Dave Gleeson, Simple Minds, Elvis Costello, Sarah Blasko with WASO, Glenn Frey with WASO and two Neil Finn and Paul Kelly shows.
In January 2013, Shakespeare WA presented Much Ado About Nothing in the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Prompt Corner presented a children’s theatre performance of Treasure Island at the Saw Avenue Amphitheatre from 5 to 20 January 2013.
From December 2012 to March 2013, Moonlight Cinema screened latest release, contemporary, cult and classic movies on the lawns of Synergy Parkland with record attendance figures for the season.
The Perth International Arts Festival, with support from the BGPA, this year presented ‘Scattered Light’ as part of the annual Perth Festival from 7 February to 4 March 2013. The display, designed by San Francisco artist Jim Campbell attracted an estimated 200,000 visitors to the Fraser Avenue lawn precinct over a three week period. The BGPA provided on-site support for this display including the installation of a new power supply.
Estimated attendance at Kings Park Events in 2012/13
Kings Park Festival
Scattered Light Exhibition(3)
Estimated Total Attendees
Seven concerts were held during the 2012/13 events season compared with five concerts in 2011/12, and which reflects the increased attendance figures. This is a significantly reduced number of concerts compared to previous years (13 concerts in 2010/11) which is in part due to a decline in the entertainment industry and the availability of national and international acts.
Outdoor Theatre figures include Shakespeare in the Park and Prompt Corner productions. Shakespeare in the Park experienced significant decrease in attendance figures over the January 2013 season compared with previous years.
This figure was provided to BGPA from the Perth International Arts Festival.
Community, Cultural and Sporting Events
Local community, cultural and sporting events continue to attract visitors to Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park. Large attendance and spectator numbers have significant impact on access to parking and facilities and require support from BGPA, road closures and traffic management.
The annual Australia Day Skyworks over the Swan River draws large spectator crowds to Kings Park and Botanic Garden throughout the day. Kings Park is closed to all vehicle traffic and BGPA staff work closely with the City of Perth and WA Police every year to ensure the success of this event. Reabold Hill Lookout at Bold Park is also a popular viewing spot for this event.
The BGPA works closely with the Western Australian Returned and Services League (RSLWA) to present the annual ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the State War Memorial. This is a significant event to the Perth community and attendance is growing each year, estimated at 45,000 in 2013, requiring additional infrastructure and resources. In addition, a number of memorial services are held in the State War memorial precinct throughout the year.
The annual City to Surf running event, held in August 2012, attracts many thousands of participants and spectators across the entire route between Perth City and City Beach including Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park. The Marathon and Half Marathon courses traverse large areas of Kings Park and Botanic Garden, requiring BGPA event management during the day.
The Islamic community has held twice annual Eid events at the Saw Avenue Picnic Area in Kings Park and Botanic Garden for many years. Attendance at these events has significantly increased in recent years to the point where the site capacity has been regularly exceeded. Other locations in the park are being examined where smaller events can be held consistent with the capacity of those sites. Alternative locations external to Kings Park where large Eid events can be held in 2013/14 and beyond are being investigated by the Islamic community.
The BGPA manages bookings for private, corporate and community functions and events in Bold Park and at the many venues throughout Bold Park and Kings Park and Botanic Garden. The BGPA continues to review bookings processes to ensure the best possible service to customers. Information regarding venues and bookings is available on the BGPA website.
The Tamala Room in the Western Australian Ecology Centre at Bold Park offers a high quality venue for corporate, Government and community group bookings. Bookings this year are slightly reduced from the previous year. The number of fee-paying bookings was significantly less, possibly due to increased hire fees to enable appropriate recoup of operating costs. There was a slight increase in community group bookings demonstrating the value of the venue as a community facility for environmental and related group activities.
More than 2,600 participants attended booked events in the Bold Park bushland, which increased by more than 50% compared with the previous year. These bookings included talks to schools and other educational institutions, guided walks and low impact recreational activities.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden remains a popular location for the many weddings, family, private and corporate functions, sporting events and fitness activities booked throughout the year.
Bookings figures have remained consistent with only minor variations. Wedding bookings have increased this year as the popular wedding venues have been notably impacted by works and events in recent years rendering some venues unavailable. The popular wedding venues along Fraser Avenue and in the Botanic Garden are not available in the afternoons during the summer events season due to the disruptions created by concert set-up, access to venues, parking and sound checks. The increasing popularity of the Place of Reflection has seen a significant growth in weddings and other special events in this stunning location.
Booking numbers are illustrated in the table on the following page.
Kings Park Bookings received and managed in 2012/13
Corporate Functions – The reasons for the decrease in Corporate Functions this year is unknown.
Community Groups – These figures include two booked events for the Islamic community at 4,500 and 5,000 (9,500 in total) attendees at each event.
Sporting Events and Fitness Groups – There has been an increase in personal training/fitness groups with multiple bookings on a weekly basis, generally with low participation numbers per group.
Booked Guided Walks – Numbers of Booked Guided Walks decreased this year. School groups that previously booked Guided Walks are generally now accommodated through tailored programs by the Kings Park Education service.
Articulating the BGPA’s contribution to education, community well-being, cultural heritage, scientific research, horticulture, indigenous culture and the conservation of Western Australia’s unique plant life has been the focus of the BGPA Communications team in 2012/13.
Key projects this year have included promoting Kings Park Education (new facilities and programs), marketing the Kings Park Festival, managing communications for Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park and a proactive public relations strategy targeting industry and general media.
The BGPA Communications team has also maintained positive relationships with sponsors, supported volunteer recruitment activities and contributed to a range of publications. Communications with visitors also includes a range of brochures, maps and signage. Refer to the Maps, Brochures and Publications section of the Report.
Greater priority has been given to better understanding the community in which the BGPA operates in 2012/13 –motivations, demographics, behaviour trends and current issues – to help refine and better target communications activities. The changing media landscape (such as the growing use of mobile internet devices and social media platforms) has also influenced the communications strategy. New media and technologies have been embraced to improve reach and engagement with a range of audiences, encouraging community conversations wherever possible.
The BGPA’s online presence continued to be developed during the year, in recognition of its important role in public communication. In addition to managing in-house communication, the BGPA has actively liaised with and provided information and images to external organisations that refer to BGPA activities.
The major focus was the redevelopment of the Aspects of Kings Park website to meet the State Government's Website Governance Framework objectives and Accessibility Guidelines. The website was redeveloped with this inclusion of an online shopping facility and launched in May 2013. Feedback from customers and suppliers has been positive. The Aspects of Kings Park website received 22,053 visits during the year (a 21% increase from 2011/12), including 16,772 unique visitors. A further 1,682 visitors subscribed to the Aspects e-newsletter.
The BGPA website received significant attention in preparation for its redevelopment in 2013/14. Based on the premise ‘How can we help you?’ a number of improvements occurred including a notices and alert module, visitor checklist, better search facility and content review. A business plan and redevelopment project brief were finalised to facilitate the bulk of the technical redevelopment between July-December 2013. The redevelopment aims to improve site functionality, increase support for front-line staff enquiries and ensure compliance with Government requirements.
The website continued to communicate to an impressive public base with 418,085 visits during the year (a 16% increase from 2011/12 and including 289,016 unique visitors). The website was recognised as the key entry for a number of important BGPA activities including visitor services, volunteer recruitment and education program bookings. Key messages were communicated to the 2,934 visitors who subscribed to the BGPA e-newsletter and the 665 subscribers to the Kings Park Education e-newsletter.
The BGPA’s first social media strategy has been implemented, along with changes to the BGPA website and more proactive management of the online presence on key external websites (e.g. for tourism, event listings, news sites). These new tools have been integrated into the traditional suite of visitor publications, billboards, park signage, the BGPA website and media liaison.
The BGPA managed Facebook pages grew significantly in the 2012/13 year, with the Kings Park and Botanic Garden page and Western Australian Botanic Garden page growing by 517% and 327% respectively. The Kings Park Festival Facebook page continued to receive significant interest, with visitation growing by 240% since the 2011 event.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park and Kings Park Education Facebook pages were introduced to cater for specific audiences as a part of the developing social media strategy. These Facebook pages are proving to be a valuable tool to engage more effectively with target groups and provide timely and targeted visitor information and responses to enquiries and comments. A social media plan is in development to address the significant growth of BGPA social media and to adequately manage visitor use and expectations of these mediums.
The overall aim of the communication’s strategy is to build positive and productive relationships with the community to promote Bold Park and Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
The BGPA engaged with the local and regional community to ensure an appropriate level of communication and information exchange and to promote mutual cooperation. A key component of this involves regular, two-way communication with the volunteer groups that are linked to Kings Park and Bold Park, as their diverse membership provides key representation of the wider community.
BGPA staff work closely with key stakeholders such as the City of Perth, RSLWA, WA Police and event organisers to ensure the success of important Western Australian community events such as Australia Day, ANZAC Day and the City to Surf event. The BGPA ensures surrounding neighbours are aware of upcoming events in Kings Park through annual notices distributed prior to the summer events season. In addition, regular communication occurs with lessees to notify them of significant events, works or changes that may impact on their business operations
BGPA staff liaise regularly with the City of Perth, City of Subiaco, City of Nedlands and other neighbours on activities that impact on the boundaries of Kings Park and Botanic Garden. This included liaison with neighbouring land managers to ensure that BGPA interests were represented in planning processes for new developments or changes to neighbouring properties around Kings Park.
In Bold Park, feedback was sought from the Town of Cambridge regarding the upgrade of the Bold Park car parks and the BGPA provided input to the Town of Cambridge regarding ongoing boundary management issues and a formal submission on the proposed Quarry Amphitheatre redevelopment plans. Feedback was also provided to Wollaston Theological College near Bold Park on their draft Fire Management Plan.
The Bush to Beach Regional Trail, which includes a section through Bold Park, was officially opened in November 2012. BGPA contributed to this project through ongoing liaison with WESROC, including the development of trail markers, promotional and interpretive material and a mobile phone application.
Other consultation included liaison with Water Corporation, the Japanese School and with Western Power regarding vegetation management during an upgrade to power poles in Bold Park.
In a joint initiative with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, letters were again sent to all property owners surrounding Kings Park and Bold Park to engage with them regarding fire management and preparedness in the parks and on their own properties, offering further information if required. Advice regarding appropriate notification procedures in the event of fire was also distributed.
The BGPA recognises that support and contributions from the community, government and private organisations is essential in achieving the BGPA’s outcomes. The BGPA is privileged to work with many individuals and groups who provide resources to Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park for major projects, events and research. A comprehensive list of these stakeholders is included in Appendix 1.