Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park

Design Feature
Type of Project
Playground, Placemaking
State
Western Australia
Location
Urban

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park uniquely and positively contributes to a local and regional sense of place. It also supports Kings Park and Botanic Garden’s vision for a community that is environmentally sustainable into the future. Many urban children miss out on the wonder of exploring and playing in nature. Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is a unique place to learn through adventure and unstructured play.

The space helps children to understand the sensitive Western Australian ecosystems, the importance of bushland and natural resources, all while benefiting from physical activity. It is devoted to connecting children with nature and learning about the Western Australian environment, local Aboriginal culture and the natural sciences.

A meaningful environment 

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is a place for children to connect with nature and learn to appreciate the Western Australian environment. The space provides children with a real ‘bush’ experience in the middle of the city, an experience not common for children in urban environments. Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park comprises 60 000 square metres of native bushland and trails located within the 400 hectares of Kings Park. It is a short walk from the main visitor hub of Fraser Avenue, comprising cafes, the Visitor Information Centre and Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop, as well as the Western Australian Botanic Garden.  

Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park allows children to engage with nature
Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park allows children to engage with nature

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park provides a new experience for young children who, unlike their parents, are growing up indoors surrounded by technology, rather than outdoors. It supports the development of children’s motor skills, senses, emotion, intellect, personal growth and social skills.

Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park creates opportunities for active recreation
Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park creates opportunities for active recreation

The design of Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is deliberately different from the structured play areas usually found in local parks. The space is natural with children being able to play in mud, climb on logs, build cubbies and paddle in water. A wheelchair accessible trail links different areas, exposing children to a number of different environments. Trained volunteers and Kings Park Naturescapers assist children and parents to get the most out of the unique natural experience.

Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park generates a strong sense of place through acknowledgement of the natural environment
Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park generates a strong sense of place through acknowledgement of the natural environment

Covering six hectares and surrounded by natural bushland, the facility includes popular elements including two aerial walkways, a running creek and waterhole with rocky banks, log bridges, climbing ropes, tree hides, a cubby building zone, bridges and meandering paths. Two thirds of the precinct is open to the general public and one third is a dedicated Education zone. Each section offers a unique experience, designed to appeal to children of different ages, personalities and abilities.

Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park is a community facility that facilitates social connection
Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park is a community facility that facilitates social connection

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park recently reopened after being closed for much of 2017 for an exciting Stage 2 development. The site reopened in December 2017 allowing visitors to explore the expanded Paperbark Creek, the two new aerial walkways The Bungarra and The Python, an expanded climbing rope section called The Tangle and a new cubby-building zone. New outdoor teaching facilities were also added to keep up with demand from schools for education programs.

Project Team 

  • Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
  • Friends of Kings Park
  • Lotterywest
  • Plan E Landscape Design
  • Rio Tinto

Project Cost 

Rio Tinto is providing funding of almost $9 million during its 12-year partnership with the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, including $3 million for the Stage 2 redevelopment. Lotterywest and the Water Corporation provided $3 million and $1 million respectively during the Stage 1 development, along with additional support from the federal government’s past Solar Cities program.

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