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Nature at its best

National Parks in Australia

With over 500 national parks to explore, covering millions of hectares, Australia is truly a natural wonderland. Due to the variety of nature, there is something for everyone. Deep gorges, special rock formations, rainforest, coral reefs and long-stretched beaches. Many also offering unique cultural treasures.

15 of the best national parks in Australia

The question is, ‘Which national parks should I visit?’ With our local knowledge and your interests, we can help you make that important decision. Whether you are a bird lover or a photographer, or if you enjoy waterfalls and hikes, we will ensure you make the most of your time in Australia. To help you decide, we have listed 15 of our favourite national parks.

Learn about the oldest living culture on the planet
© Tourism Western Australia
Have close encounters with unique wildlife
© Meg Jerrard

1. Lamington National Park

Be charmed by a mountain-fringed rainforest escape, Lamington National Park. Located in South-East Queensland, two hours south of Brisbane. This World Heritage Listed region boasts geology and dates back more than 225 million years. It features densely forested mountains, raging waterfalls and over 160 kilometres of walking trails.

Admire ancient trees, unique vegetation and various animal species. Uncover the magic of the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, where you can find the world’s first suspension bridge. This bridge allows you to observe nature in a unique and fascinating way.

Head over to the Araucaria Lookout to spot Australia’s largest remaining forests of Hoop pine. Or explore the Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls Walk. Here, you can rock hop and try to spot spiny blue crayfish in the water! Along the way, visit award-winning wineries, mountain cafes and local bakeries.

Lamington National park | Australia holiday
Discover the natural beauty of Lamington National Park
Lamington National park | Australia holiday
Admire ancient trees and unique vegetation

2. The Blue Mountains

The mystical, Blue Mountains is located two hours drive, west of Sydney in New South Wales. The name was chosen because the mountains have a unique blue glow. This is due to its spectacular eucalyptus forests, a magical occurrence happens when the sun heats the leaves. There are 92 different species of eucalyptus growing in the area.

The region also boasts quaint and charming towns, grand landscapes, forested valleys and waterfalls. Take a wander on one of the many walking trails. This place is a walker’s dream! Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture and rich history. Visit the famous Three Sisters and learn about its value to the local Indigenous Australians. Hop on the steepest passenger railway in the world, the Scenic Railway, with a thrilling 52-degree incline!

"The Blue Mountains has such a beautiful community of people and it's right in the middle of a World Heritage National Park."

Local hosts, Monique and Jason
Three Sisters | Australia holiday
Admire the iconic Three Sisters
Blue mountains kangaroo | Australia holiday
Have close encounters with Australian wildlife

3. K'gari | Fraser Island

K'gari (Fraser Island) is the world’s largest sand island, stretching over 123 kilometres along the southern coast of Queensland. This rugged island features champagne pools, extensive beaches, towering pines and has over 100 freshwater lakes. It is the only place in the world where tall rainforests grow on the sand dunes.

The Indigenous people of the region, the Butchulla people, named the island K’gari which means paradise. Here, you can discover shipwrecks, endless walks and untamed waters. Explore the subtropical rainforests, spot dingoes and take a refreshing swim at the famous, Lake McKenzie.

Beach Fraser Island | Australia holiday
Hop in a 4WD and explore Fraser Island
Fraser Island trees | Australia nature
Discover the ancient forests of Satinay and Brush Box trees on Fraser Island

4. Kakadu National Park

Kakadu, an untamed wonder of the Top End. Featuring the oldest culture on earth. Kakadu is rich with ecological and biological diversity and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Covering an area of over 20,000 square kilometres, this fascinating area is Australia’s largest National Park.

South Kakadu is characterised by a rugged and rocky landscape. Visit the iconic waterfalls, Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. Both waterfalls are surrounded by impressive rock formations that can only be reached by 4WD and boat during the dry season.

Kakadu National Park | Australia holiday
Swim in natural pools
© Tourism NT | Shaana McNaught
Birds South Kakadu | Australia holiday
Kakadu is home to one-third of Australia’s bird species

At Gunlom Falls, make the steep climb to the top for an unforgettable view over South-Kakadu. Take a dip in the freshwater of Gunlom Falls. Join in the Yellow Water Cruise and travel along a billabong while your guide teaches you about this unique and diverse landscape.

North Kakadu features an assortment of landscapes which extends to the ocean. Discover floodplains, billabongs, swamps, lowlands, rocky ridges and one-third of Australia’s bird species. Admire Aboriginal rock art which dates back to prehistoric times. During the wet season, you can expect the rivers to flood, creating a natural spectacle.

National Parc | Australia landscape
Discover Australia's wide-open spaces
Kakadu National Park | Australia holiday
Be mesmerised by Kakadu National Park

5. Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is a nature lover and hikers paradise. Forming the northern end of Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair National Park, it is a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. It is one of Tasmania’s most renowned natural environments. A wild landscape featuring ancient rainforests and alpine heathlands. Icy streams cascading out of the mountains, glacial lakes, and a wealth of wildlife.

A place where you can spot possums, pademelons, wallabies, and wombats. If you are lucky, maybe even the rare Tasmanian Devil. Visit the sanctuary in Cradle Mountains and learn more about these fascinating creatures! Cradle is the starting point for the world-famous Overland Track, a sensational six-day trek. There is something in Cradle Mountain to captivate everyone.

"Cradle Mountain in Tasmania is a great area for hiking, regardless of your level of fitness. It caters for everyone."

Judi, Travel specialist
Stunning views Cradle Mountain | Australia holiday
Conquer Cradle Mountain
Magic Cradle Mountain | Australia holiday
Tasmania has 19 national parks to explore

6. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Be captured by one of nature’s greatest spectacles - Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olga’s). Located in the Red Centre, 470 kilometres west of Alice Springs, this place is bursting with a powerful spiritual presence. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu (the Aboriginal people of the area) and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 348-metre giant monolith was formed over 600 million years ago with a circumference of 9.4 kilometres. For decades the Anangu people have asked tourists not to climb Uluru because it holds such importance to them. Since October 2019, climbing Uluru has been banned.

Walk around the rim of Uluru together with a local Indigenous guide
© TravelEssence
Wake up to one of the best views in Australia

"A 3 or 4-day camping safari in the Red Centre is the most unique thing, I have experienced in Australia."

Sylvia, Travel specialist

Marvel at the striking formation of Kata Tjuta

Nearby, you can also visit the 36 red rock domes that form Kata Tjuta (The Olga’s), located about 40 kilometres west of Uluru. Watch the sunrise and set as nature showcases striking outback colours, from burnt orange to bright red!

Stunning Red Center | Australia nature holiday
Admire the colours of Kata Tjuta
© TravelEssence
Get "off the beaten" track and explore Australia's Outback

7. Stirling Range National Park

Be entranced by a natural oasis, an ancient landform and a biodiversity 'hotspot' - Stirling Range National Park. Located in the great southern region of Western Australia, 337 kilometres south-east of Perth. The national park and mountain ranges are an astounding 1000 metres above sea level.

Be mesmerised by the tallest peak in the region, Bluff Knoll. The only place in Western Australia to ever see snow! Rich in Aboriginal heritage, the Indigenous name for the range is Koi Kyenunu-ruff, meaning 'mist rolling around the mountains'.

Renowned for colourful blooming wildflowers in the spring. Boasting over 12,000 different species, some of which are found nowhere else. A bushwalker's haven with an abundance of nature and wildlife to discover, one of the richest floras in the world. Spot parrots, emu's, kangaroos and wallabies.

Range | Australia holiday
Get "off the grid" and discover the Stirling Range National Park
Marvel at the collection of wildflowers

8. The Grampians

The Grampians is a pure gem located 260 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, Victoria. An enticing mix of ancient culture, mountain forests with eucalyptus trees and more than 200 species of birds. A national park bursting with a soothing ambience, it’s ideal for exploring either by cycling or hiking. The iconic Pinnacle Walk is worth a look, you will be rewarded with spectacular scenery.

Go waterfall hopping! MacKenzie Falls is an impressive 25 metres high and 25 metres wide. Say G’day to local kangaroos grazing in the late afternoon. Admire Indigenous rock paintings or visit The Brambuk Cultural Centre and learn more about the Aboriginal traditional way of life. Stop by quirky country towns such as Halls Gap for a delicious cup of coffee. Or, visit The Old Bakery in Dunkeld for a freshly baked chocolate croissant.

Breathtaking lookout point | Australia adventure holiday
Uncover the secrets of the Grampians
© TravelEssence
Waterfall Grampians | Australia nature
Be mesmerised by endless waterfalls

9. Daintree

Discover the oldest rainforest on earth, which is over 135 million years old. The Daintree National Park is located in Tropical North Queensland and is nestled between Mossman and Cape Tribulation. This one-of-a-kind UNESCO World Heritage Site is located approximately 100 kilometres northwest of Cairns.

Be captivated by Cape Tribulation
© Manno Moreno, Unsplash
Take a journey through an ancient rainforest
© Tourism and Events Queensland

Uncover an abundance of rare and beautiful flora and fauna

Admire over 18,000 species of flowers, plants and trees that are more than 2500 years old. Are you a bird lover? There are over 400 species of birds found here including the elusive cassowary.

Take a cruise along the Daintree River, which is 140 kilometres long and spot crocodiles sunbathing on the banks. Hop in a 4WD with a local guide and explore this spectacular part of the world. Go on an Indigenous tour through the rainforest and coastline and learn more about this wondrous environment.

Keep an eye out for crocodiles, various birds, butterflies, lizards, bats and tree kangaroos - a guaranteed impressive Jurassic Park style experience.

Spot wild cassowary
Conquer the Daintree River and spot crocodiles!
© Tourism and Events Queensland

10. Mount Field National park

Uncover a beautiful and diverse landscape, approximately 64 kilometres northwest of Hobart. Mount Field National park is Tasmania's first national park and is renowned for its unique wildlife, hiking trails, and spectacular views. An ideal day trip from Hobart, this part of Tasmania is bursting with nature including eucalyptus, fern forests, and some of the world's tallest trees.

Marvel at stunning rainforest landscapes
© Tourism Tasmania/ Michael Walters Photography
Say G'day to the Eastern quoll
© Ash Thomson Photography

11. Flinders Ranges

Discover Australia’s most accessible outback, Flinders Ranges. Located in South Australia, an approximately five-hour drive from Adelaide, stretching over 400 kilometres. There are plenty of things to do and see in this part of the country. Marvel at geographical wonders, deep red rock gorges, deserted plains and ancient rocky landscapes. See Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre, from above with a scenic flight. Get in your 4WD and explore wide open roads, red dirt and big stations.

Helicopter view Flinders Ranges | Australia holiday
Get a bird's eye view of Wilpena Pound
Hop in a 4WD and discover this special part of Australia
© South Australian Tourism Commission

12. Freycinet

Located on the east coast of Tasmania, 125-kilometres north-east of Hobart is Freycinet. A natural wonderland that features white pearled beaches, rare flora and fauna, secluded bays, and an assortment of birds. Take a short stroll to the iconic Wineglass Bay or visit the pink granite peaks, The Hazards.

Visit Wineglass Bay
© TravelEssence
Feel like you have Freycinet all for yourself
© Stu Gibson

13. Litchfield National park

Get acquainted with a water wonderland, Litchfield. A national park with an ancient landscape that has been shaped by water. Located just 100 kilometres southwest of Darwin and covering 1500 square kilometres, this gem is a real hotspot for locals! Discover misty waterfalls, crystal clear waters, monsoon forests and the oldest culture on earth.

Go waterfall hopping in Litchfield
Nature Litchfield | Australia holiday
Admire termite mounds that are higher than you!
© TravelEssence

14. Kings Canyon/ Watarrka National park

Uncover the majestic Kings Canyon, one of the Northern Territory's treasures within Watarrka National Park, in the Red Centre. The spectacular sandstone walls of Kings Canyon are over 300 metres high and feature fantastic views of the desert and palm-filled crevices. A walker's paradise, the area is ideal for long and short hikes. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also descend into the ravine to the Garden of Eden; a pool of water surrounded by green plants.

Be enchanted by the stunning landscapes of Kings canyon
© Pixabay | walesjacqueline
A 4WD truck touring in the Outback
Get off the grid with a local Aussie guide!

15. Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of the largest wild coastal areas in the state of Victoria and is also known as ‘The Prom’. You will find no less than 50,000 hectares of pure nature with many hiking trails to explore. Along the way, you may notice that there is an array of wildlife living here, including wombats, emus, kangaroos and parrots.

This raw dramatic scenery is surrounded by calm rivers, granite peaks and green forest valleys. Wilsons Promontory also has many deserted beaches and rugged rock formations. One of the most famous beaches is Squeaky Beach. If you walk here, it looks like you are walking on styrofoam.

Secluded beach | Australia holiday
Discover squeaky-clean beaches
Gorgeous kangaroo | Australia wildlife
Say G'day to kangaroos
© TravelEssence

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