When looking to explore all the natural beauty that Australia has to offer, you cannot overlook its national parks. No matter if you’re looking to go biking, hiking, or camping, the Land Down Under is home to more than 500 national parks, meaning that you can easily find one in your vicinity that suits all your preferences. Here are some of the most beautiful ones to consider visiting.
Freycinet National Park
Located on Tasmania’s east coast, you can find Freycinet National Park 125 kilometers northeast of Hobart. This park comes with a wide array of activities that outdoor lovers can enjoy, such as hiking over the Hazard Ranges to get a spectacular view of Wineglass Bay in all its white-sand and sapphire-water glory. Moreover, you can try sea kayaking, rock climbing, and even swimming with dolphins, among other things. Plus, you might also get a chance to see some interesting species of flora and fauna, like the red-necked wallaby and the eastern quoll, or you can go whale watching.
Purnululu National Park
If you find yourself in Western Australia, you don’t want to skip a trip to the Purnululu National Park. This World Heritage Site, 239,723-hectare area is located in the East Kimberley Region and you can access it by road or air. Once you arrive, you will surely be left speechless when you see the Bungle Bungle Range, famous for sandstone domes with orange and gray stripes. While exploring the park, you can camp at one of the two campgrounds or look for accommodation in one of the two lodges at Bellburn.
Port Campbell National Park
When visiting Victoria, you should also go on a three-hour drive from Melbourne to see the Port Campbell National Park. This park is home to some of the most iconic natural landmarks in Australia. First of all, there are the Twelve Apostles – a collection of limestone rock stacks. There were originally nine stacks but two of them collapsed in 2005 and 2009, respectively. To see the remaining seven at their best, consider visiting this area at sunset. Another interesting site to see is London Arch, known as London Bridge before a part of it collapsed in 1990. If you’re a birdwatcher, you’ll love this park as well.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
In case you’re looking for a proper Australian Outback adventure, a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory is a must. This park is home to Uluru, a UNESCO World Heritage Site sacred to the Aboriginal people. It will take you about three hours to walk around this attraction also known as Ayers Rock and to be respectful, it’s suggested that tourists don’t climb the sacred rock. Close by, you will also find Kata Tjuta, a group of 36 rock formations that are also stunning to see, including Mount Olga – the highest dome that is 1,066 meters above sea level.
Kosciuszko National Park
New South Wales is home to many interesting national parks that you should consider visiting if you’re planning a trip to the area. For example, the Kosciuszko National Park, named after the highest peak of mainland Australia – Mount Kosciuszko, is located five hours from Sydney. This park has an alpine climate, which is why it is so popular among tourists looking to ski and snowboard. However, during the summer, it is also a great spot for bushwalking and mountain biking.
Daintree National Park
Going to Far North Queensland will provide you with a chance to see the Daintree rainforest. This national park covers 1,200 km2 and is estimated to be 110 million years old, meaning that it’s older than the Amazon rainforest. There are so many amazing things to see and do here so it might be best to start from the Daintree Rainforest Discovery Centre. From exploring the forest on foot and sleeping in the trees to bareback riding and going on jungle surfing canopy tours, you will not be lacking options. However, keep in mind that there are countless animals in these parts and you might encounter everything from bats to crocodiles.
Royal National Park
If you’re looking for something a bit closer to Sydney that you can explore with your kids, why not opt for the Royal National Park? Only 29 kilometers from the NSW capital, this is the second oldest national park in the world, after Yellowstone. While here, you can consider conquering Lady Carrington Drive with your little ones, as this easy 10-kilometer track is perfect for families that want to have a picnic and explore the area; just make sure to find reliable kids’ bikes that are appropriate for your children’s ages as well as protective gear, to ensure they are safe at all times. In addition to seeing ancient Aboriginal art, you might also encounter some animals like wallabies or spot whales and dolphins from the shore.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
South Australia is not without interesting national parks either, which you can see firsthand if you decide to visit the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Located around 400 kilometers north of the capital, its area is over 900 km2 and there, you can find Wilpena Pound – a natural amphitheater that’s nearly 80 square kilometers big. The traditional name for this landmark is Ikara, which means “meeting place” and was included in the park’s name in 2016. Most areas are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles, except after heavy rain and in bad weather.
Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) National Park
Finally, while there are so many other national parks to consider, you don’t want to overlook Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) National Park. Previously known only as Moreton, in 2021, it was renamed to reflect the new ownership of the Quandamooka People. The current name includes two spiritually significant sand hills that are located within the park. This Queensland spot offers various activities so you can go cycling, rent quad bikes, go bushwalking, try stand-up paddleboarding, spend time kayaking, and, of course, have fun while sandboarding.
It can be difficult to choose from so many beautiful national parks that Australia has but start with these nine and you will surely not be disappointed. Have fun!