25 Outstanding National Parks in Australia to set foot on

As we travel around Australia, we’re making an effort to visit as many of the best national parks in Australia as possible.

Being the outdoorsy nature lovers that we are, show us a good national park and we’ll happily get lost exploring it for days.

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

We just love everything about them. The walks, waterfalls, gorges, swimming holes, forests, rivers, wildlife and camping.

Except the flies and mosquitoes – can somebody please remove those – and getting bogged in Kakadu, which is funny now, but at the time not so much.

There are some amazing National Parks in Australia, over 500 in total, and whilst we haven’t even scratched the surface yet, below is a list of some of our favourites we’ve recently visited.

Please tell us in the comments below what some of our favorite Australian national parks are. Not only will it be a great tip for us, it helps all those who read this post!

1. Freycinet National Park – Tasmania

Hazards Beach, Freycinet National Park - Tasmania, Australia
Hazards Beach, Freycinet NP Tasmania

Freycinet National Park is our favourite destination in Tasmania, and one of our top three national parks in Australia.

With plenty of lovely walks, stunning beaches, granite peaks and a beach consistently rated as one of the world’s best, what more could you ask?

All you need is great weather like we had and you’ll be singing its praises like us!

2. Cradle Mountain National Park – Tasmania

Cradle Mountain National Park - Tasmania, Australia

Located 165 km north west of Hobart this Australian National Park attracts walkers from all over the world and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area.

We didn’t do a lot of the walks here as we had limited time, but when the kids are older we’d love to go back and do the famous Overland Track.

See and do:

3. Wild Rivers National Park – Tasmania

Gordon River Cruise, Tasmania, Australia

Not as many people visit the west coast of Tassie, but it’s worth it.

Running through the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness much of this park is remote and rugged with dramatic mountain peaks, spectacular gorges and world-famous rivers.

Our cruise down the Gordon River was a highlight of our month long visit to Tasmania.

See and do:

4. Wilsons Promontory National Park – Victoria

Wilsons Promontory National Park - Victoria, Australia

Victorians have kept Wilsons Prom, or The Prom a secret for too long. We were blown away by this park and can’t believe it’s not promoted more in other Australian states.

You must book way ahead as it’s hugely popular with bush walkers and campers.

Just picture stunning vistas of pink granite boulder mountains, turquoise water, and squeaky-white sand and you’ll know why.

See and do:

5. Grampians National Park – Victoria

The Grampians Natioanl Park - Victoria, Australia

Commonly referred to as The Grampians, it’s a rugged mountain range located in Western Victoria and is renowned for its breathtaking rocky views, rich culture, stunning wildflower displays, bush walks and rock climbing.

One of our favourite moments – we conquered the summit of the 4km Pinnacle’s walk with our two young kiddies, they did so well.

See and do:

6. Great Otway National Park – Victoria

Great Otway National Park - Victoria
Triplet Falls

Also called The Otways, this park is one of the popular stops along the Great Ocean Road.

Immerse yourself in an ancient land and walk among tall trees and giant tree ferns, and discover beautiful waterfalls.

See and do:

7. Port Campbell National Park – Victoria

Port Campbell National Park - Victoria, Australia

If you only have time to visit one area along the Great Ocean Road, make it Port Campbell.

This is where you’ll see the best of the GOR and you could spend a whole day just here.

Amazing natural formations over the rugged coastline with cliff top tracks, gorges, beach walks and stories of shipwrecks to discover.

See and do:

8. Kosciuszko National Park – NSW

Mount Kosziusko National Park - NSW, Australia

If you’re looking to climb Australia’s highest peak, you’ll find it here in Kosciusko National Park.

Just don’t do what we did and attempt part of this walk with young kids in dress clothes and ill prepared for the freezing windy weather, lol.

Apparently visiting Kosciuszko in the summer is amazing as the wildflowers are in bloom. Plus the mountain biking is awesome. Since we don’t have a lot of mountains in the country, this is a unique national park in Australia.

And whilst you’re here, why not explore The Snowy Mountains region.

See and do:

9. Jervis Bay National Park – NSW

Jervis Bay - NSW, Australia

Jervis Bay is stunning.

Normally we’d head to the north coast of NSW from Sydney but on our current trip around Australia we headed to the south coast for the first time and spent five days in the Jervis Bay region.

The beaches and coastal walks around here are as good as any in Australia.

See and do:

10. Booderee National Park – NSW

Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay - NSW, Australia

Just when you think Jervis Bay is beautiful, around the corner from Jervis is this gem of a park called Booderee.

Very popular with the locals because of its unspoiled beaches and great camping, but I’m suspecting not well known around the country, we’d certainly never heard of it previously.

This region of NSW blew us away.

See and do:

  • Camp at Greenpatch Beach
  • Scottish Rocks
  • Murrays beach
  • The Cape St George Lighthouse ruin

11. Murramarang National Park – NSW

See wild kangaroos at Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park - NSW, Australia

Murramarang is 200km south of Sydney and famous for seeing wild kangaroos hopping about on the beaches.

They even hang out in front of your cabins and tent sites like well trained pets, which was a thrill for our kids.

Great swimming, surfing and bush walks here, plus the cliffs and headland walks are a must.

See and do:

12. Blue Mountains National Park – NSW

Blue Mountains Natioanl Park - NSW, Australia
credit: Shutterstock.com

You’ve probably heard of the Three Sisters?

But the Blue Mountains has a depth greater than the infamous Three Sisters and being close to Sydney is one of the most popular national parks in Australia.

There are waterfalls and rainforests, a wide variety of bushwalking tracks, adventure and rejuvenation, unbelievably good local produce, world class cafes, cosy pubs, and restaurants.

It’s a nature lovers and foodie’s paradise.

See and do:

13. Royal National Park – NSW

Royal National Park - Sydney, Australia
Wattamolla Beach – credit: Crouchy69

Did you know that the Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest National Park and the second oldest in the world behind Yellowstone?

We didn’t either until a few years ago.

Situated just one hour south of Sydney, the park’s diversity is seen in its coastal cliffs, sandy beaches, mountainous sandstone ridges and deep river valleys.

See and do:

14. Burleigh Head National Park – Queensland

Burleigh Head National Park - Gold Coast, Australia

Burleigh Heads is one of our favourite spots on the Gold Coast, but we’d never ventured into the national park until recently.

It’s a small park but a popular place for hiking, walkers and joggers because it provides great views.

The coastal walk combined with part of the rainforest circuit is about 2.5 km all up. It’s not difficult as both of our young kids walked most of the way.

See and do:

  • the Ocean view circuit
  • the Rainforest circuit
  • Echo Beach
  • Tallebudgera Creek
  • Tumgun Lookout

15. Noosa National Park – Queensland

Noosa National Park - Queensland, Australia

The town of Noosa is a popular high-end travel destination on the Sunshine Coast 1.5 hours north of Brisbane with a lively calendar of events and beautiful people, but for us the beauty lies in the National Park that hugs the headland.

It’s another one of the most popular parks in the country with lovely walks and several stunning beaches.

See and do:

  • The coastal walk from town to Sunshine Beach
  • Walk up Noosa Hill
  • The track to Hell’s Gate

Read More: Things to Do in Noosa, Queensland

16. Great Sandy National Park – Queensland

Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

This park is divided into two sections.

The Cooloola section between Noosa Heads in the south and Rainbow Beach in the north. And then there’s the incredible Fraser Island section.

Fraser is the world’s largest sand island and one of Queensland’s natural icons. If 4wd is your thing, you’ll love Fraser!

See and do:

17. Daintree National Park – Queensland

Daintree National Park - Queensland, Australia

At 110 million years old the The Daintree Rainforest pre-dates the Amazon and the dinosaurs.

The Daintree and Cape Tribulationa headland located within the national park looks anything but tattered and old.

In 1988 it became a World Heritage Site and it’s the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas meet – Daintree Rainforest meets the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef.

See and do:

18. Great Barrier Reef – Queensland

Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef - Queensland, Australia
Craig with a big thumbs up!

It’s called a Marine Park but the Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s natural icons and World Heritage listed so I’m adding it to my list of must visit parks.

Stretching 2,300 km long with over 900 islands we finally got to tick the Reef off our Australia bucket list this year.

Cairns is the main gateway but there are many access points along the Queensland coast from Port Douglas in the north down to Lady Elliot Island in the south.

19. Boodjamulla National Park – Queensland

Boodjamulla National Park - Queensland, Australia

We think this park is Queensland’s best kept secret.

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) is found along the Savannah Way Drive in Outback North Queensland and one of the last places to visit before you hit the Northern Territory.

It’s an emerald green oasis in a semi-arid land with a beautiful gorge, walks and camping.

See and do:

  • The Upper Gorge lookout walk
  • Indarri Falls walk
  • Canoeing on the lower and upper gorge
  • Camp at Boodjamulla National Park (book ahead)
  • Adels Grove

20. Undara Volcanic National Park – Queensland

Undara National Park - Queensland, Australia

Undara was one of the most fascinating places we visited on our road trip through Queensland.

I didn’t even know Australia had much volcanic history until visiting Undara Lava Tubes. This park is located along the Savannah Way drive heading west from Cairns in North Queensland.

See and do:

21. Whitsunday Islands National Park – Queensland

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands - Queensland, Australia

Looking for paradise? Then head to this park with 74 islands called The Whitsunday Islands.

These islands are boarded by the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea midway along the Queensland coast.

If you love stunning beaches with soft white sand, island life and any water sport you can imagine, go here!

See and do:

22. Nitmiluk National Park – Northern Territory

Katherine Gorge - Northern Territory, Australia

Previously named Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk is about a 5 hour drive from Darwin.

Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River which have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park.

See and do:

23. Kakadu National Park – Northern Territory

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Ahh, the wonders of Kakadu National Park.

From wetlands, to sandstone escarpments, waterfalls, swimming holes, billabongs, rivers, and wildlife – it teems with abundance and an ancient mysticism urging you to explore its changing landscapes.

Kakadu would sit in my top three national parks in Australia so far.

See and do:

24. Litchfield National Park – Northern Territory

Florence Falls - Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Litchfield is just over an hours drive from Darwin making it a great getaway from the city and easily accessible once you’re in the Top End.

The highlight of this park is it’s many beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes.

There’s some nice walking tracks and 4wd to be had for those equipped.

See and do:

25. Karijini National Park – Western Australia

Karijini National Park - Western Australia

So our last recommended park on this list is our most recently visited.

We left Karijini National Park just last week after five AMAZING days and it’s probably our favourite national park in Australia at the moment – and will be hard to beat as we continue to travel around Oz.

Incredible walks, gorges and swimming holes. Put it on your MUST VISIT list for Western Australia.

See and do:

  • Dales Gorge
  • Kalamina Gorge
  • Weano Gorge
  • Knox Gorge
  • Hamersley Gorge
  • and do all the walks within each gorge

Plan Your Trip in Australia

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National Park Tours in Australia

 

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What National Parks in Australia would you add to this list?

52 thoughts on “25 Outstanding National Parks in Australia to set foot on”

  1. Hi Caz & Craig,

    Thanks for this great post detailing some of Australia’s national parks. I had no idea there are 500! Wow, that’s phenomenal!

    I’m a massive outdoors & national parks lover like you guys. I also try to explore as many as I can in every country I visit.

    To date, I have spent a total of > 1 year in Australia, on 3 separate trips, and have explored the eastern half of the country – by caravan, bicycle, share rides, lifts from friends and flights. I’m happy to report that I’ve visited 10 of the parks you’ve listed here… plus a few more you haven’t covered yet in the Red Center.

    Thanks for taking me back down memory lane by having me think about which Aussie parks I’ve been to. They are really awesome ones!

    cheers, Lash

    1. It would be nice to visit all 500 parks wouldn’t it Lash 🙂

      Great to hear you’ve visited 10 of those mentioned so far. And yep, we’re looking forward to the Red Centre!!

  2. Hi Craig, What a great list, you and Caz are such great photographers i love reading your blogs. Have either of you ever heard or been to Carnarvon gorge in Carnarvon National Park- central Queensland? Ive never been but it seems amazing and id love to see what you guys think about it. From what I’ve read it seems to deserve a place on this list. I love your style of writing and that you give honest opinions of the places you visit. Thank you for all your posts 🙂

    1. Cheers Aaron. I recently heard of Carnarvon gorge from another travel friend, but up until then no. We might get into Central Queensland mid next year and will keep it in mind.

  3. Another post that makes me want to visit Australia! Such beautiful photos, so thanks for sharing all these places from your road trip.

  4. Hi guys, what a great post, and an even better blog. This truly has inspired me to get up and work towards taking my young family away and show the, how beautiful our country really is (outside Umina :))

    Owning a Branding and Marketing Agency, I see a lot of blogs and sites, this one is spot on. The UX & UI is perfect, content is really informative and the photos are stunning, you guys have nailed it.

    You just found some new fans with our family.

    Thank you and travel safe.

    1. Thanks Mick happy to hear that. We’re always hoping to inspire others to travel more often.

      Yeah we just re-launched our site actually. Glad to hear readers are enjoying the new layout.

    2. Hey Mick!! So cool to see you after all these years. Your design biz looks awesome. Our designer, Jenny from http://NeverNorth.com helped us nail this site – it took us ages to get it right. There’s so many more Australian gems other than Umina!!

  5. It would be awesome to visit all 500!

    I have to say that the USA and Australia are very similar on that point: A LOT of amazing, gorgeous adn varied outdoor places & national parks. So awesome.

    cheers, Lash

  6. Amazing pictures! Have been to a some of these, but there’s a few I hadn’t even heard of before.

    If you do make it to south of WA, then Fitzgerald River national park is pretty cool; lots of very different species of plants unlike any others I’ve seen.

    Nearby, Cape le Grande has some of the most stunning beaches and turquoise seas. Plus very tame kangaroos that hop along the beach.

  7. What a fantastic summary. We have been to many of the National Parks you name in your post but not all of them. Does that mean we have to come back to beautiful OZ?

  8. Wow, the national parks in Aus seem amazing. Outdoors stuff in general is great, I really envy places like Australia and the US that have the huge, stunning national parks.

  9. Juergen | dare2go

    I’m surprised how many of them I know and have been to, although some of my favorites are missing, not only in Western Australia, which is underrepresented in your list. Also Washpool (near Grafton) in NSW, and Carnavon George (near Roma) in Queensland – both nice parks and fairly quiet.
    And isn’t this a bit of a contradiction: “We were blown away by this park and can’t believe it’s not promoted more in other Australian states. You must book way ahead as it’s hugely popular…” Where was the editor? LOL

    1. It’s actually not a contradiction Jeurgen. It’s not promoted in OTHER Australian states as we said. It is hugely popular in Victoria, and there are minimal campsites which is why you have to book ahead.

      Also Western Australia is underrepresented because we’ve only been in the state for two months as is mentioned in the introduction,
      “and whilst we haven’t even scratched the surface yet, below is a list of some of our favourites we’ve recently visited.”

  10. Marie @ Marie Away

    My favourite memories of my Australian travels are from Kakadu and Litchfield. So many beautiful parks in the country. I’ve been to just a few of these, but the rest are on my to-do list! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi Caz and Craig,

    We have long had diving the Great Barrier Reef on our Bucket List but the diversity of Australia always amazes me. You’ve gathered quite a lot of interesting national parks here. I’m looking forward to your next post for the continuation.

    The US National Parks System has created a “passport” booklet that allows visitors to collect cancellation stamps from visitor centers at the national parks and monuments as they visit them. It makes a nice memento. Do you have anything like that in Oz?

    cheers, Linda

    1. Hi Linda,

      As far as I know we don’t have anything like that. Good idea though. Hope you make it to some of our parks, and looking forward to exploring more of the US National Parks in the near future!

  12. Are We There Yet? (@fealyfamily)

    Great post – we’ve ticked a few off that list but lots still to go! I think Springbrook National Park should make the cut – beautiful & interesting!

      1. Henry Hintermeister

        My wife and I (US) are planning on a 3 month meander through Western Australia within a year. Looking forward to further comments from you in that huge area.

  13. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited almost 20 of the above parks and return 16 years later to show my family 5 of them. Nambung National Park ‘The Pinnacles’ in Western Australia and the Purnululu National Park ‘The Bungle Bungles’ also in Western Australia need to be added to the list without doubt!!!!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I’m from Sydney and had no idea that the Royal National Park is classified as the second oldest in the world – now that is some truly awesome trivia! If you have a spare moment I think you may also enjoy some of my posts of travel tips/itineraries/stories for both Australian and international destinations at http://thisisyugen.blogspot.com.au.

    Either way, keep on blogging and travelling 🙂
    Elle

  15. Weve been to 13/25 listed here. Disappointed that there is nothing listed between sydney and qld border. There are some outstanding places to explore here. Oxley wild rivers being one of them with excellent facilities and very accessible for young familes. Great post though!

    1. We travel and write from a personal perspective. We’ve not explored South Australia. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments

  16. Have looked every where re entrance fee to the national parcs. We are for sure visiting Uluru and maybe others. What are the rates and is it better to buy a pass. which parks are included in the passes. we are 2 seniors traveling together in Feb 2017

  17. A lot of these are on our list to visit.
    Rottnest Island, WA is a must. Phenomenal views, stunning beaches and nowhere else in Aus is there Quokkas.

    I’d also recommend Ku-rin-gui Chase National Park in Sydney. Only got to walk 2 of the trails and a small portion of the park but the views were breathtaking.

  18. I love your website! It always pops up when I am searching and working on my wishlists for Australia! So much detail, not just amazing pictures! Thank you!

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