10 Best National Parks In Australia

Published:

Modified: August 27, 2021

by Gayle Aggiss

National Parks in Australia
©Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

Australia is a country that’s filled with sweeping, stunning landscapes. There are lush tropical jungles, endless mountains, and barren landscapes that look like they belong on another planet. The landscape is part of what draws travellers to this hot, ancient country. And it’s definitely what you’ll remember most when you return home after your trip. So, if you’re ready for some stunning scenery that you won’t get anywhere else, it’s time to explore the best national parks, Australia.

 

Finding The Best National Parks In Australia

 

It isn’t as easy as it might seem to find the best national parks in Australia. This is a huge country, with vast distances between major towns. Traveling between the parks can be a long, hot, dusty, and expensive undertaking. But it’s worth it.

 

You’ll also see some of the world’s most unique and unusual species when you travel to some of the popular national parks in Australia. There are animals on this continent that can’t be found anywhere else. And if you love nature, you’ll enjoy the vast variety of outdoor activities in Australia’s national parks.

 

Here are just some of the most amazing national parks in Australia.

 

1.

Cradle Mountain National Park

Cradle Mountain, National Parks Australia

Image from Pixabay

 

Tasmania is a tiny island to the south of Australia’s mainland and home to one of the best national parks in Australia. The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park contains a variety of environments. So, you’ll be able to see alpine mountains, ancient rainforests, icy streams, and glacial lakes.

 

This park is awesome in every season. Summer offers the best hiking opportunities because the weather is milder and less changeable. In spring and autumn, the weather is a little more unstable, but the colour changes make up for it. And in winter, you can experience the landscape covered in snow. The landscape beauty and variability are part of what makes this one of the best national parks in Australia.

 

What To Do There

 

This park is famous for its hiking and walks. There are a wide variety of trails available including the world-famous Overland Track. It runs for 65 kilometres and takes several days to complete. There are also smaller walks available like the 10-minute-long Visitor Centre Rainforest Walk, which is suitable for all levels, including guests in wheelchairs.

 

This is one of the best national parks in Australia for children too. Throughout the year, it holds ranger-led activities like walks, slide shows, and talks for all ages.

 

2.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uhuru, Australia, Northern Territory

Image from Pixabay

 

This is one of the most famous and recognizable national parks in Australia. Home to Uluru, the enormous red rock, it’s the spiritual centre for Australia’s Aboriginal people. Going to the desert to look at a rock might seem underwhelming. But when you see the monolith rising out of the flat soil, you’ll feel differently.

 

Try to avoid this national park in summer. It’s located quite literally in the centre of the country and is surrounded by miles of desert. The temperatures can soar as high as 45 degrees, which will make for a stifling visit. Between May and September is the absolute best time to visit for cooler daytime temperatures.

 

What To Do There

 

The best times to visit this national park are at sunset or sunrise. At this time, the dust particles and water vapour in the air act as a filter, making it look as if the rock is changing colours. Uluru literally shimmers with vivid hues at this time, making for spectacular photographs.

 

You’ll find a lot to do at this park, which is what makes it one of the most interesting national parks in Australia. You can go on tours to learn more about the land’s Aboriginal history, go birdwatching, explore the traditional rock art, or take a nature tour and see more of Australia’s unique animal life.

 

3.

Grampians National Park

Grampians, national parks australia

Photo from Pixabay

 

The Grampians National Park is in Victoria and is a series of rugged sandstone mountains and forests. It’s one of the most popular national parks in Australia for its stunning landscape and varied wildlife. You can visit this park at any time of year, but spring and autumn are the best. The changing colours, the wildflowers, and the cooler weather make it worth risking some rain.

 

What To Do There

 

There’s a lot to do at this park, which is why it’s one of the most visited national parks in Australia. Some of the most popular activities are camping, hiking and climbing, but there are also activities for every type of traveler. If you don’t like hiking, try going on one of the scenic drives or wander the walking trails to see cascading waterfalls and wildflowers.

 

There are also scenic outlooks all throughout the park where you can take in spectacular views. Try the Reeds or Boroka lookouts for the best views or visit the incredible Fish Falls. You can also explore the land’s rich Aboriginal heritage at one of the many important rock art sites.

 

4.

Kakadu National Park

National Parks Australia, Kakadu, Aboriginal cave art

Image from Pixabay

 

Kakadu is one of the best national parks in Australia if you want to see crocodiles and Aboriginal rock art. This park is located in the Northern Territory and is home to an incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna. You’ll see some of Australia’s most famous animal friends in this park, including kangaroos and crocodiles. And the park is simply huge, the largest in Australia, so you’ll find it easy to carve out your own quiet corner to explore.

 

The climate in the Northern Territory is different to most parts of the world. It has a wet season and a dry season, with fairly warm temperatures year-round. The best time to visit is in the dry season between May and September.

 

What To Do There

 

Kakadu is a global treasure and dual World-Heritage listed because of its environmental and cultural value. This is what makes it one of the best national parks in Australia. There’s a lot to do there, from hiking to exploring the Aboriginal cave art at Ubirr. Other popular activities are cruising the billabongs, swimming at the Gunlom or Maguk plunge pools, bushwalking, camping, or going on nature walks. You can even take a scenic flight over the area and see it from a bird’s eye view.

 

5.

Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains, Australia

Image from Pixabay

 

Located in New South Wales, the Blue Mountains National Park includes some of the most stunning scenery in the world. The attractions in this park are absolutely iconic, from the Three Sisters to incredible lookouts. The convenient location close to Sydney and wide range of activities and attractions make it one of the best national parks in Australia.

 

This is a magical place to visit at any time of year. Whether dressed up in snow, glowing red leave, colourful spring flowers, or the heat of summer, you’ll always find something to gawk at when you visit this park.

 

What To Do There

 

This is one of the most popular national parks in Australia, so it’s set up well for travelers. Some of the most iconic sites include the Three Sisters, Scenic World for the adventure activities, Wentworth Falls, and Govetts Leap Lookout.

 

If you want a more active holiday, this is the perfect place for it. The park is full of historic walking tracks, Aboriginal culture and camping spots. You can also go mountain biking or indulge in some of the area’s famous adventure sports.

 

6.

Royal National Park

Australian animals, koala

Image from Pixabay

 

The Royal National Park is located just south of Sydney and is a popular spot for day trips and school excursions. The park has a wide range of landscapes, from cliffs that look out over the ocean to open grassland. And it’s home to some of the strangest and cutest animals in Australia, which is why it’s one of the most visited national parks in Australia.

 

The Royal National Park is a great place to visit at any time of year. Summer and winter are the most popular times to visit. In winter, the weather is cooler, which makes hiking easier. And it’s also the only time of year when you can see whales passing by the cliffs. And in summer, you can go swimming at one of the many beaches in the park.

 

What To Do There

 

This is one of the most convenient national parks in Australia if you need a quick day trip out of the city. There are lots of facilities and opportunities for bushwalking, fishing, birdwatching, and barbecues. And you’ll get to do all these things in Australia’s famous bushland.

 

There are also some great beaches for swimming and surfing including Garie Beach, the beach at Bundeena’s Bonnie Vale, and Little Marley, Jibbon, or Wattamolla beaches.

 

7.

Ningaloo Reef National Park

Whale Park, Ningaloo National Park, Australia

Image from Pixabay

 

Not every national park is on the land. Ningaloo Marine Park is famous for one reason; the chance to swim with the giant whale shark. But there’s a lot more to see and experience here. This 300-kilometre marine park protects the Ningaloo Reef, one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. The reef is incredibly accessible and you can walk straight off the beach and into its heart. It stretches from Bundegi Reef in the Exmouth Gulf to just north of Carnarvon in Western Australia.

 

If you want to swim with a whale shark, then visit this park between March and June. But you can visit the park at any time of year to see an amazing variety of marine life. This is what makes it one of the most interesting national parks in Australia.

 

What To Do There

 

There are more than 200 astonishing coral species in this park as well as more than 500 tropical fish species. And even more species regularly visit the area such as turtles, sharks, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, and humpback whales. This incredible variety is what makes this park one of the most incredible national parks in Australia.

 

The park is so close to shore that you can go snorkelling and explore on your own. But if you want to see more, you can try kayaking or scuba diving, both great ways to explore more of this underwater paradise. There are also regular tours from Tantabiddi and Coral Bay, so you don’t miss out on the best attractions.

 

8.

Great Barrier Reef Park

Great Barrier Reef, Marine Park

Image from Pixabay

 

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most iconic attractions in Australia and perhaps in the world. That’s what makes this one of the must-see national parks in Australia. The reef itself is huge, sprawling over 344,400 kilometres squared of ocean, which is roughly half the size of Texas. The park is home to some of the most colourful marine creatures and provides needed shelter for other animals on their journey around the globe.

 

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is in winter between June and October. The weather is a little cooler but not cold, and there is less rain at this time. However, the reef is truly spectacular at any time of year.

 

What To Do There

 

There are lots of places to explore in the park. Go island hopping and explore a range of environments. Go snorkelling and experience the incredible bursts of colour and movement that is the reef. Or go scuba diving to immerse yourself in this incredible underwater world.

 

Whale watching is what makes this one of the most popular national parks in Australia. During July and September, humpback whales pass through the reef for their breeding season. And in May, it’s the turn of the Minke whales.

 

9.

Daintree National Park

Daintree, National Parks Australia

Image from Pixabay

 

The Daintree rainforest is the oldest in the world. Located in Queensland’s Far North, this park is home to animals and plants that are entirely unique to the area. It’s one of the best national parks in Australia for bushwalking and for experiencing the jungle environment.

 

This park gets heavy rainfall year-round, which accounts for the incredibly lush plant life. If you want to avoid the worst of the rain, try visiting outside of the summer monsoon season, which goes from November to April.

 

What To Do There

 

The Daintree is one of the most beautiful national parks in Australia and inspired the scenery in the movie Avatar. It can also be a little dangerous. It’s home to huge crocodiles, jellyfish and other animals that can be dangerous. That’s why it’s usually best to take a guided tour. Cruise along the waterways looking for crocodiles or take a guided night walk to see Australia’s nocturnal wildlife. And if you’re a bit of an adrenalin junkie, you can also zipline through the rainforest and explore from on high.

 

10.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National Park, Australia, the Pinnacles

Image from Pixabay

 

If you like the beach and otherworldly scenery, then you’ll enjoy Nambung National Park. The landscape in this area runs from a low heartland with flowering plants to the desert. The highlight is the Pinnacles, strange rock formations in a desolate landscape. How they were created is a bit of a mystery, but they stand like sentries in the otherwise barren surroundings.

 

The best time to visit this park is during September and October when the wildflowers are in bloom. But it’s one of the most striking national parks in Australia at any time of year.

 

What To Do There

 

There are some beautiful and isolated beaches in this area where you can walk for miles across the sand. Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay are the most popular choices, and just offshore is the stunning reef system of Jurien Bay Marine Park.

 

If you’re interested in seeing the Pinnacles, you can take a drive out to the area. There’s also a Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center where you can learn more about these strange constructs.

 

Australia is filled with friendly people, fascinating tourist spots, and spectacular scenery. If you love the outdoors, then visiting the national parks in Australia should be on your bucket list.