18 Best National Parks in Australia that you have to see


Australia, National Parks, Oceania

While there are many incredible Australian national parks that are worth a visit, these 18 are the very best national parks in Australia!

Since the Royal National Park became the first Australian national park in 1879, the number of marine and national parks has steadily increased. Today, there are 681 national parks in Australia and even more conservation areas. All of them have been established to protect Australian native landscapes, flora, and fauna. However, only 6 national parks and 58 marine parks are owned by the nation.

Those managed on a national level are Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Booderee National Park, Norfolk Island National Park, Christmas Island National Park, and Pulu Keeling National Park. All other national parks in Australia are managed by agencies of state and territory governments. A fact that has led to some debates concerning the classification of these wonderful spots.

While some of the parks are internationally known, others are real Australian hidden gems. They are amazing and more than worth a visit but attract fewer visitors due to the large number of national parks and other incredible places to see in Australia.

Australian National Parks Map
Map of great National Parks in Australia

National Parks in Australia

I love exploring national parks and since I first moved abroad to Sydney, I have made it my mission to see as many of the national parks in Australia as possible. After all, they are incredibly diverse and are home to some of the best sights in the entire country. They are the perfect playground for adventure lovers and those seeking the ultimate thrill.

I have yet to make it to every single national park on my own shortlist of Australian national parks that I have to see. And by now my list has admittedly gotten incredibly long as I learn more about new ones. Therefore, it will be quite a while until I can write about all of them. For that reason, I asked fellow globetrotters to contribute to this list of incredible national parks in Australia. My favorite national park of those I have visited so far is also included.

The states are listed in no particular order and therein the Australian National Parks are sorted alphabetically.

National Parks in Western Australia

Cape Le Grand National Park

Cape Le Grand National Park is located in Esperance, which is on the south coast of Western Australia. This Australian National Park is home to several of the most beautiful beaches in all of Australia, some great hikes, and plenty of wildlife. The National Park is located less than an hour’s drive from the town of Esperance.

This is one of the most beautiful national parks, mainly due to the numerous amazing beaches. These include Thistle Cove, Hellfire Bay, and the best of them all, Lucky Bay. Lucky Bay has the whitest sand of any beach in Australia and this also means the water is an incredible shade of blue. Lucky Bay is also famous for having kangaroos that spend their day on the beach, basking in the warm sun. They are so used to people being around that they will hop right up to you to check you out. It’s amazing to see these animals in such a beautiful setting.

Kangaroo on Lucky Bay beach in one of Western Australia's national parks

If you want to stay active then you can walk along the Le Grand coastal trail, which links many of the spectacular coastal sections together or you can hike up Frenchman Peak to get an aerial view of the National Park.

Le Grand Beach and Lucky Bay both have campgrounds so you can stay right by the beach. Lucky Bay campground is the best option as you will get to wake up to views over Lucky Bay and you will have Kangaroos hopping right by your campsite all day. The summer months are generally the best time to visit but this is also when it is busiest. If you wish to camp here you will need to make a booking several months in advance as the campground books out quickly.

This is such a breath-taking part of the world and you will have an amazing visit while beach hopping around Cape Le Grand National Park.

Australian National Park recommended by Luke from The Coastal Campaign

Cape Range National Park

With its stunning beaches and gorges, Cape Range National Park is undeniably one of the best national parks in Western Australia. Located near Exmouth, it is located at the Ningaloo Reef, which makes the snorkeling spots within the national park some of the best ones in Australia. Visit this national park from April to October for the best weather and water conditions.

Turquoise Bay and Oyster Stacks are both incredible beaches and if you want to explore coral reefs without going on a boat ride first, they are perfect for you. The pristine reefs at these locations are full of marine life including turtles and just a few meters away from the great sandy beaches. Here, you can dive into the turquoise water and enjoy the vibrant life underwater. Turquoise Bay has two snorkeling spots and if you keep your eyes open, you might be able to snorkel with a turtle.

Cape Range National Park Turquoise Bay

The highlights of the inland part of Cape Range National Park are Charles Knife Canyon Gorge and Yardie Creek. Here, you can marvel at amazing views while exploring the gorge and hiking along the edge of the gorge. Additionally, you can go on a short hike or go on a boat ride on Yardie Creek. Keep your eyes open to spot black-footed rock wallabies.

If you want to stay within this amazing Australian national park itself, you can opt to camp at one of the 11 campsites. All of them are right at the beach so you cannot go wrong while choosing your place to stay. Alternatively, you can stay in Exmouth.

Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park is 600 km north of Perth. It is a perfect combination of gorges and ocean cliffs, which makes it one of the best Australian national parks. Best visited from April to October, it is the perfect weekend trip from Perth. Try to avoid school holidays if you want to explore the park without large crowds.

The best way to explore the cliff part of Kalbarri National Park is to walk along the Birgurda Trail. Doing so, allows you to marvel at all the interesting rock formations including Island Rock, the Natural Bridge, Castle Cove, and Shell House. The trail is an easy walk and the ocean view makes it one of the must-do activities in Western Australia. If you are lucky, you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the water. And during the whale migration season, you might just spot whales.

The best thing to do in the inland part of Kalbarri is to explore the Murchison River Gorge. One of the trails leads to Nature’s Window – an incredibly popular spot, where an arch forms a perfect frame for the view of the river that runs through the gorge. Meanwhile, the Kalbarri Skywalk allows you another stunning view of the gorge.

The Eco Haven Retreat is a wonderful place to stay if you want to have a private pool and a great view of the ocean after a long day of exploring Kalbarri. River Retreats Kalbarri is another great accommodation.

If you explore Kalbarri, you should also plan a stop at the nearby Pink Lake known as Hutt Lagoon.

Planning to visit it? Check out this Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip Itinerary

Natures Window Kalbarri National Park

Karijini National Park

There is no way to deny, that Karijini National Park is one of the best national parks in Australia. After all, it is home to red gorges, serene natural swimming holes, and transforms into a wonderland during Western Australia’s wildflower season. Located in the Pilbara region and 9 hours away from Exmouth, it is a worthwhile detour inland if you are on a Western Australia road trip.

Aside from spotting the diverse flora and fauna of the amazing Australian national park, you can explore the gorges or hike to the peak of Mount Bruce (Punurranha). Hereby, Weano Gorge with the Handrail Pool, Hancock Gorge, and Dales Gorge are the most impressive sights. The best natural swimming holes are Fern Pool, Kermit’s Pool, and the more remote Spa Pool.

Read More: Exploring Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park

Exploring Karijini is all about canyoning, swimming, and hiking. And if you want an extra thrill, you should book a guided exploration of the restricted class 6 areas. But first, you should climb down the most extreme passage of all unrestricted: the final climb down to the bottom of Joffre Falls.

The best time to visit this Western Australia’s second-biggest national park is from April to October. During these months, the temperatures are lower and there is little to no rain.

If you want to camp, the Dales Gorge Campground is a great option, and if you are looking for a more luxurious place to stay, the deluxe tents of the Karijini Eco Retreat are perfect for you.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National Park is another great Australian national park with unique features. It is the location of the Pinnacles Desert and also has a great coastal area with white sand beaches. Located 200 km north of Western Australia’s capital, it is a great day trip destination from Perth. It is a great place to explore year-round, but if you want to see the wildflowers, you should go there in September or October.

The Pinnacles Desert is a unique place with thousands of limestone pillars that are surrounded by deep yellow sand, with some of them being 3,5 meters tall. Visitors can either walk through the desert or drive along the loop, which takes approximately 1 hour. While beautiful throughout the day, it is best during sunrise or sunset when the sky turns colorful and the pillars cast long shadows.

While there, you should also explore the coastal part of Nambung National Park and visit the great beaches of Kangaroo Point or Hangover Bay. Hangover Bay happens to have a great picnic area with a roof, so it is the perfect stop to eat after exploring the Pinnacles Desert.

While it is not possible to stay in this Australian national park itself, you can stay in the Pinnacles Edge Resort or the RAC Holiday Park in the nearby town of Cervantes or in Lancelin, the location of the Lancelin Sand Dunes.

Nambung National Park Australia

National Parks in the Northern Territory

Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges National Park

If you are looking for incredible National Parks in Australia, you can’t go past the Tjoritja West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. Located just outside of Alice Springs, it is known colloquially as ‘the West Macs’ and is the main reason that Alice Springs is a major tourist hub.

It is a popular hiking destination and is home to numerous walking trails, including the Larapinta Trail, which is a 16 day, 223km multi-day hiking trail. If long hikes are not your thing, it is easy to get around the park by car, and there are plenty of shorter walks to see the must-see sites.

Ellery Creek in Thoritja West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, which is one of the best National Parks in Australia
Ellery Creek

The West Macs is a natural wonderland that has been shaped by natural elements over millennia. There are numerous permanent waterholes (always freezing), lots of unique wildlife, and incredible gorges. It is home to many sacred Aboriginal sites that are significant to the Arrernte people, including the ochre pits which were important for many cultural ceremonies.

Campsites are scattered throughout the park, generally near the most popular sites. Campgrounds in the Northern Territory are the best value of all the National Parks in Australia. Ellery Creek Campsite is great value at only $3.30 per night per adult, however, Ormiston Gorge Campsite has the best facilities including a shower and a café, at $6.60 per night per adult.

If you prefer a room, there are plenty in Alice Springs and it is easy to do the West Macs as a day trip. Alice’s Secret Traveller’s Inn is one of the most popular, with all the great facilities that you require.

It is far too hot to visit in Summer, so avoid the area from November to March. During winter (June, July, August) the daytime temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius, but it is freezing overnight, often dropping down to 0. The best months to visit are April, May, September, and October.

This beautiful Australian National Park was recommended by Rochelle from Love Family Life Travel

National Parks in Queensland

Daintree National Park

Gazing into this rainforest, the visitor is met with a spectrum of greens. Every shade from light to dark, and everything in between, can be seen here. A rustling can be heard from a tree in the distance. What was that sound? A snake? No, it has four legs… It must be a lizard! Go to take a closer look, and before you know it, the animal disappears into the dense forest. People often think of the Amazon as the oldest rainforest in the world, but it is in fact the wonder that is the Daintree that holds this title.

Mossman Gorge – This is for those seeking picture-perfect waterfalls and a chance to swim in crystal-clear waters surrounded by nature. You can also walk through the national park on boardwalks, giving you a bird’s-eye view into the trees. Indigenous people own and manage the land, and offer guided walks that provide a more in-depth understanding of the area.

Cape Tribulation – A coastal area within the National Park. It offers a spectacular combination of white soft sandy beaches with rainforest backdrops.

Discovery Center – This is a must-do for those interested in the conservation of the National Park. The ariel walkways include a 23 m tower from which you can explore. An on-site theatre highlights conservation efforts.

Cape Tribulation in Australia's Daintree National Park

Go crocodile spotting – Cruise down one of the rivers, and you never know what wildlife will find. The biggest crocodiles can be seen in low tide and early mornings when they are often walking alone on the river banks.

Visit the Daintree Ice Cream Company – Offering the tastiest ice cream ever. Specializing in tropical fruits grown in the fertile soils of the National Park.

May to September are the best months to explore this natural wonder, with cooler & dryer weather with pleasantly warm temperatures (averaging highs of 26 degrees) and less humidity.

Cape Tribulation Beach House is a unique 3-4 star accommodation within the National Park. It offers direct access to the beachfront and is a truly wild, unique & private tropical stay. For campers, there is also the Noah Beach camping area.

Explored by Lucina from Destined to Travel

Moreton Island National Park

Moreton Island National Park is worth adding to your list of National Parks in Australia. The island itself is made of sand and comes in second only to nearby Fraser Island for the title of Australia’s largest sand island.

Its uniqueness not only lies in its topography but also the vast amount of activities that are offered on the small slice of land just off the Brisbane coast. Highlights include snorkeling the wrecks at Tangalooma Beach, sand tobogganing in The Desert, offroading through the island, and catching dolphins at sunset.

The Summer season brings amazing weather, which makes for an easy ferry ride over. A ferry from Brisbane takes about 75 minutes. The beautiful blue water welcomes you as you approach the makeshift dock on the island’s shore.

Boat Wreck in Moreton Island National Park in Australia

One of the coolest ways to stay at Gheebulum Coonungai (Moreton Island) is to camp. A car with 4WD is required to access some of the campsites, and a permit is required to drive on the island. There is a camping area near The Wrecks, as well as four others. If camping is not your thing, the Tangalooma Island Resort is sure to amaze. Amenities exclusive to guests include a catamaran briefing and resort restaurants.

Moreton Island National Park has something for everyone, and its beauty combined with the many attractions make it a must-visit National Park in Australia!

Explored by Samantha from A Truthful Traveler

Munga-Thirri Simpson Desert National Park

Munga-Thirri National Park (formerly known as Simpson Desert National Park) is located in western Queensland and represents the largest National Park in the state. It’s not as popular among tourists as other Australian national parks since it mostly consists of an inaccessible desert. However, if you enjoy off-road driving, camping, and adventures, this national park in Australia’s north is an absolute must-see.

Despite its desert location the Munga-Thirri National Park actually has a lot of flooding and large shallow lakes that appear seasonally. During the cooler months, this area is subject to extreme flooding and lots of native bird species populate the park.

If wildlife interests you, you will love Munga-Thirri National Park. Keep an eye out for black swans, pelicans, emus, and of course kangaroos. The Munga-Thirri National Park also has a surprisingly large population of camels that were formerly used as means of transport and released into the wild once they were no longer needed. The camel population is flourishing in Munga-Thirri National Park and attracts events such as the annual camel races in the nearby towns of Bedourie and Birdsville. Thousands of spectators flock to the area during this time to witness this unique event.

Camper in Munga-Thirri National Park, that was formerly know as Simpson Desert National Park in Australia

Always be careful when visiting remote Australian Outback locations. Many roads are damaged and even a small issue like a flat tire can become incredibly dangerous if you don’t have the correct equipment.

Bring plenty of water and extra fuel and always keep up to date with current road conditions. Roads can sometimes be shut off due to flooding or damage so always have an alternative route in mind. Most roads in the Munga-Thirri National Park are dirt roads only so driving a 4-wheel-drive is highly recommended. 

National Park in Australia suggested by Victoria from Guide Your Travel

Naree Budjong Djara National Park – North Stradbroke Island

If you are ticking off the National Parks in Australia, then you might want to think about visiting North Stradbroke Island. It lies about 30 kilometers off the coast of Brisbane in Queensland and it is only a short 45 minutes ferry ride to get there. There are about 2000 people that permanently live on Straddie, and it welcomes over 300 thousand tourists each year.

North Stradbroke Island is otherwise known as Minjerribah, home to the Quandamooka Aboriginal people. It features a vast array of beaches, animal life, and activities to keep you entertained. It’s very popular for beach camping and may require a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Alternatively, you can still enjoy Stradbroke Island with a smaller car and driving on the many sealed roads.

Numerous beaches are on offer when you visit this lovely Island for swimming, surfing, or catching some sun. However, that’s not all you have to do! Visit the stores for local arts and crafts, hike the boardwalk track around the North and South gorge, or go spotting the wild kangaroos.

Additionally, there are freshwater lakes to visit, fishing, sand tobogganing, diving, or maybe enjoying some Jet Skiing. All this and more to make the perfect vacation for everyone.

People on the beach of North Stradbroke Island

The temperature on the Island can vary, but it’s always a great time to visit. Summertime between December and March can be warm, perfect for beaches and catching the rays. While wintertime between June and August will drop to 10 degrees Celsius in the evening, but days are mostly clear and cloud-free, so you will still enjoy the sunshine.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, then Minjerribah camping offers beach camping on Flinders or Main Beach. Furthermore, you can choose one of the many caravan parks around the Island, or the Manta Lodge Diving and Hostel.

On the other hand, if you after some creature comforts with Airbnb’s or Luxury style resorts, then North Stradbroke Island has you covered for your style and budget.

Suggested by Chris Fry, The Aquarius Traveller

Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park is a small park surrounded by development and the ocean, but it is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.  The main part of the park occupies Noosa Headlands, adjacent to the main area of touristy Noosa.  However, it is a world away from the bustle of nearby Hastings Street. 

The scenery is spectacular, with dramatic rocky shorelines, beautiful sandy beaches, and even subtropical rainforests.  It is a great place to see koalas, and recent sightings are recorded on a blackboard at the small visitor center at the park entrance to help you find them.  Huge monitor lizards, laughing kookaburras, and cheeky cockatoos are also commonly seen in the park. 

The trails are clearly marked, and an absolute must-do is the coastal walk.  The easy-to-follow trail proceeds through native bushland, hugging the coastline.  There are stunning views the entire way.  Keep an eye out for dolphins and even whales in season (July – October).  There are several gorgeous beaches, though swimming is not recommended since there are no lifeguards on duty. The nearby Noosa Beach – also incredibly beautiful – has lifeguards and is safe to swim in. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops in Noosa for entertainment outside the national park.

view over the ocean and beach in Noosa National Park, Australia

December-January is the peak time to visit since it coincides with the school holidays, but it is also the hottest time of year.  Optimal times are February-March and November, as the weather is cooler and the park is not so crowded.

There is no camping inside the national park, but the nearby heritage campground Noosa River Holiday Park is a great option.  Just 4 km from the main entrance to the national park, it’s a lovely peaceful spot on the Noosa River.  If you prefer four solid walls, a great budget choice is Chez Noosa Resort Motel.  There is a pool set in a lovely garden and clean, surprisingly large rooms with balconies.  It’s also just 4km from the national park. For something more upmarket, On The Beach Noosa Resort is a wonderful luxury hotel on Hastings Street and the main Noosa Beach, just a one-km/ 15-minute walk from the national park.

National Park in Australia explored by James Ian from Parks Collecting

National Parks in NSW

Blue Mountains National Park

With its cliff walls, waterfalls, and incredible viewpoints, the Blue Mountains National Park is one of the best Australian national parks. Named after the intense blue haze that is caused by the eucalyptus trees, it is incredibly popular and one of the best day trips from Sydney. After all, it is only one hour away from Sydney and it is incredibly easy to get there even if you do not have a car. If you take the train there on the weekend, you can even save money thanks to the weekend travel cap of the Opal Card.

While there are a lot of trails in the Blue Mountains, the Prince Henry Cliff walk is one of the best ones. With a length of 7 km, it takes 3 to 4 hours to hike from Leura to Katoomba. As you walk along the cliff’s edge, you can stop at many viewpoints including Echo Point Lookout, one of the best viewpoints of the entire national park. You pass the Three Sisters, and with Gordon Falls and the Katoomba Cascades, you even get to see some of the waterfalls of the Blue Mountains.

If you want to explore the forest itself and see the impressive Wentworth Falls that tumble down 187 meters in three steps, you should tackle the Wentworth Falls trails.

Other highlights of the Blue Mountains National Park are seeing the glow worms in an abandoned railway tunnel and exploring the artsy town of Katoomba. And if you love climbing, you will find an abundance of great spots.

If you want to stay the night and have an incredible view, you should book a room in the Echoes Boutique Hotel.

Blue Mountains National Park

Morton National Park

Morton National Park is in the southern highlands of New South Wales, 2 hours from Sydney. It is a large park with spectacular canyons and peaks, waterfalls, and dense eucalypt forests. There are trails for walkers and cyclists, it is a go-to region for birdwatchers and the rivers make it a great place to explore by kayak. With so much on offer, it’s little wonder this is one of the best National Parks in Australia. Spring and autumn are the perfect time to visit to see the most wildlife and wildflowers.

Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park in New South Wales

There are great views throughout the park. The 5km return Pigeon House Mountain walk is a tough but rewarding hike. For an easier walk but no less impressive views, try Grand Canyon Lookout or Belmore Falls. For more waterfalls, the popular West Rim Walk at Fitzroy Falls is a highlight. You can spot water from several points along the 4km return walk. For nature lovers, the East Rim walk also at Fitzroy Falls is the perfect trail for spotting all kinds of birds.

Another highlight of Morton National Park is the Kangaroo and Shoalhaven Rivers. Paddling is a great way to get deep into the park and see the pristine forest. There are water access-only campsites along the two rivers. Tallowa Dam separates the rivers. It is a lovely spot for a picnic and from there you can access the Three Views Walking track – a great option for getting different views of the National Park.

While you are in the area, check out Kangaroo Valley. This beautiful historic town is a great base for accessing the Kangaroo River and seeing other local attractions like Carrington Falls and the magnificent Cambewarra and Manning Lookouts.

There are also many accommodation options at Kangaroo Valley. Holiday Haven Kangaroo Valley has everything from campsites to cabins. If camping is more your style, Bendeela Recreation Area is the place to go. This large free camping area is on the Kangaroo River so it’s a perfect spot to launch a kayak and go camping deeper in the park. The Kangaroo Valley Country Resort is an amazing accommodation with small cottages.

Recommended by Natalia and Steve from Curius Campers

Mungo National Park

World Heritage Listed Mungo National Park should be on every Australian’s bucket list of places to visit, learn more about indigenous history and get a real sense of Australian ancient history.  The main attraction is an area called the Walls of China, where over tens of thousands of years of layers of soil raised the ground level above what previously was a lake. 

These days, wind and rain have progressively eroded the soil and as a result, every day new discoveries and artifacts emerge, including human remains.  Mungo Lady was found in 1968 and Mungo Man was discovered in 1974 – after the remains were removed they have since both have been returned to the site.  Both remains are approximately 42,000 years old!  The Aboriginal approach to history is to leave discoveries where they lie – as a result, artifacts can appear one day and be blown away the next day, so it is an ever-changing natural museum.

The only way to visit the Walls of China is with a local guide, so ensure you check out tour times with the Mungo Visitor Centre before visiting.  If you have a 4WD vehicle you can also do the 70km Mungo Self Guided Driving Tour loop to explore other park attractions.

Landscape of Mungo National Park in Australia

Mungo National Park is located 115km east from Mildura and while unsealed is accessible by 2WD vehicles, however, if it has recently rained ensure you check the road conditions.  Mildura is also an amazing area to visit – there are river paddleboats, wineries, restaurants, and produce farms galore to explore. 

The best time to visit Mungo National Park is in spring, from September to November.  Summer gets very hot, and winter is very cold and windy.  Avoid planning to travel in May as that is the rainy season.

Accommodation options include the Mungo Main Camping Grounds and the Mungo Shearers Quarters provide basic accommodation for non-campers.  For more luxurious accommodation check out the nearby Mungo Lodge.

Explored by Anne Sutherland-Smith from the Pretraveller

Watagans National Park

Watagans National Park straddles Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, and Cessnock in the Hunter region, about 100kms north of Sydney. With dirt roads climbing the Watagan Mountains that become inaccessible to 2WD vehicles during rainy weather, the national park has a rugged, wilderness feel that blends bush walks, rainforests, rambling creeks, and stunning vistas.

This Australian National Park is free to enter and a popular camping and 4WD destination with locals, but it’s also one of the region’s best-kept secrets. With a variety of lookouts to choose from, the views are some of the longest in the Hunter and a big part of what makes this one of the most spectacular National Parks in Australia.

The Great North Walk runs through Watagans National Park, taking hikers to Heaton Picnic Area where you can see from the Central Coast lakes in the south to the massive sand dunes of Stockton Beach in the north, even further on a clear day. For those that don’t want to do the hike, the lookout is accessible by car (weather permitting), as are other key sights like the Boarding House Dam and Gap Creek Falls walking track (which will lead you to the best waterfall in the Hunter, especially after rain).

Lake Macquarie in Watagans National Park as seen from Heaton, NSW, Australia
Lake Macquarie as seen from Heaton

While the narrow roads are especially dubious during wet weather, a day or two after a good rain is the best time to go. Gap Creek Falls turns into a gushing 40m torrent of water and the rainforest becomes especially vibrant. There is no particular time of year that is a better time to visit, however, weekdays are generally quieter than weekends. Long weekends can be especially busy with campers.

If you choose to camp, Gap Creek Falls Campground provides convenient access to Gap Creek Falls Walking Track. Camping not for you? You will need to stay outside of the National Park, below the mountains. There are not many hotels in close proximity to the park entrances, so an Airbnb will usually provide the best access. If you don’t mind being a little further from the park entrance, SilverWaters Waterfront Accommodation provides boutique self-contained units overlooking Lake Macquarie with spectacular sunrise views.

Explored by Matt from Still as Life

National Parks in Victoria

Port Campbell National Park

Port Campbell National Park is ranked highly when it comes to National Parks in Australia. Located in the South West of Victoria, three hours from Melbourne, Port Campbell National Park is filled with many beautiful natural landmarks and is home to the famous Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is a highlight of the Port Campbell National and is a well-known tourist route for a reason. Built between 1919 and 1932 by soldiers who had recently returned from WWI, the windy coastal route stretches 243km from the beachside town of Torquay to Warrnambool. The Great Ocean Road takes you to many of the well-known natural landmarks in the Port Campbell National Park including bells beach, if you’re a keen surfer this is the perfect place for you, the 12 apostles and of course Kennett River, where you might be lucky to spot a koala or two.

12 Apostles in Australia's Port Campbell National Park

If there is one stop, you make in Port Campbell National Park it has to be the 12 apostles. Once upon a time, there were 12 limestone stacks sticking out of the ocean, but due to natural erosion from the wind and the sea, there are no longer twelve. Along with the natural wonders in Port Campbell National Park, there are plenty of beautiful wineries, cellar doors, and amazing restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy.

It is recommended that you spend at least three days in the Port Campbell National Park, although many travelers drive through the Port Campbell National Park as part of a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide.

There are many beautiful hotels in Port Campbell National Park including The Sandridge Motel in Lorne and the Great Ocean Road Escapes in Apollo Bay or if you’d prefer to be at one with nature there are many camping options including Jamieson’s Track Bush Campground, which is close to the ocean and free but is limited in facilities. If you would prefer to camp where there are plenty of facilities try Marengo Caravan Park.

Recommended by Fiona from Travelling Thirties

Best National Parks in South Australia

Flinders Chase National Park

Flinders Chase National Park is located on the rugged western end of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It was designated a protected area in 1919 and is renowned for its wild coastal wilderness and its wildlife. Unfortunately, almost the entire national park was decimated by bushfires in January 2020, but nature is amazing and even during recovery, there is plenty to see and do here.

Visiting Flinders Chase National Park now gives the opportunity to see it as it recovers, including plants that flower or germinate only after fire. The Park fees also go towards the rebuild so we can enjoy even better access in the future.

The most iconic landmark in Flinders Chase is the Remarkable Rocks. These unique weathered granite boulders sit up high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. People love to climb all over the rocks, which are a great location for sunrise or sunset.

Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase National Park in Southern Australia

The Park also contains the unusual Admirals Arch underneath the cliff face at Cape du Couedic. This area is also well known for its lighthouse, and the seals that call this area home. There is a short walk to Weir’s Cove, a “hidden” beach which was the way early settlers received their supplies. This area is the small pocket of the park that was not destroyed in the fires.

All the infrastructure in the park, including walking trails, campsites, and the visitor center were destroyed but they are all being rebuilt. Along with the Cape du Couedic walks the Ravine Walk through the Valley of the Cassowaries is also now open. There is also the five-day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail that meanders through the park. Currently, it is only open to walking on organized walks.

The best place to stay to enjoy Flinders Chase National Park is the Western KI Caravan Park. They have camping, caravan, and cabin accommodation just outside the entrance to the park. Just recently two of the campgrounds inside the park have re-opened, at West Bay and Harvey’s Return. They need to be booked in advance on the National Parks website.

Explored by Josie from Exploring South Australia

National Parks in Tasmania

Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park

Renowned as one of the most pristine wilderness regions of the world, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is without a doubt one of the most beloved and best National Parks in Australia and attracts thousands of visitors from all around the globe each year.

It’s one of the best examples of alpine wilderness environments and includes temperate rainforests, button grass plains, giant grass trees, tranquil mountain lakes, and rugged glacial formed mountains, like the iconic Cradle Mountain.

The park is filled with stunning day walks including the popular Dove Lake Circuit, Marion’s Lookout, and the stunning Crater Lake, as well as being the starting point to the world-famous Overland Track. A hugely popular 65-kilometer multi-day hike from Cradle Mountain to Australia’s deepest lake, Lake St Clair.

Lake in Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania

Wildlife is one of the highlights of the park with regular sightings of everyone’s favorite fluffy barrels on legs, the common wombat. Which can usually be found wandering the grassland areas surrounding Ronny Creek. Echidnas, Pademelons, and the endemic Black Currawong, a black crow-like bird with iridescent yellow eyes, also make regular appearances.

While the park is stunning at any time of the year, with the arrival of Autumn, you’ll get the opportunity to witness the changing of the Fagus. Australia’s only cold climate deciduous trees put on a brilliant display of color as they change from emerald green to golden yellows and burnished hues of red. For the brave and cold tolerant, winter provides beautiful snow-capped mountains, fast-flowing waterfalls, and the possibility of snowfall.

Due to its remoteness, accommodation and food at Cradle Mountain can be slightly more expensive than in other parts of Tasmania, but accommodations for almost all budgets are available, ranging from high-end villas, and cozy family cottages to cheaper shared dorm rooms and campsites.

For those on a budget, bringing and cooking your own meals is advised as dining can be expensive at the few available restaurants in the area.

Visitors to the National Park are required to purchase a Tasmanian National Parks Pass at the visitors center or online before taking the shuttle bus service into the park.

Recommended by Adam from Explordia

About the National Parks in Australia

How many national parks are in Australia?

The number of national parks in Australia constantly changes and there is no official list that lists every single one. However, most reports estimate that there are between 500 and 650 national parks in Australia.
Meanwhile, there are only 6 Commonwealth National Parks, which are Booderee National Park, Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Norfolk Island National Park, Pulu Keeling National Park, and Christmas Island National Park.

What is the most famous park in Australia?

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory is the most famous Australian national park. Other commonly known parks are Kakadu National Park and Daintree National Park near Cairns.

What is the newest national park in Australia?

As of January 17, 2022, Dryandra Woodland National Park is the newest national park in Australia.

What is the largest park in Australia?

As of November 2021, Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert National Park is the largest national park in Australia. It has a size of 36000 km². Before the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert regained its national park status, Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, which has a size of 19.816 km², was the largest national park in Australia.

Planning a trip?

Check out these useful websites and resources I use to plan my own adventures.

Flights: Kiwi

Accommodation: Booking.com

Rental Cars: RentalCars.com

Day Trips & Tours: Get Your Guide, Viator —or— Klook

Travel Insurance: SafetyWing

Airport Lounge Access: Priority Pass

Wanderlust edited

Which of these National Parks in Australia are on your list?

While there are many, these are the best national parks in Australia. All of them offer unique features from incredible beaches to red gorges, unique landscapes, or formations. Every single one of these Australian national parks has its own charm and offers a lot of great things to do. Therefore, you should try to visit as many as you can when you get the chance to explore Australia.

After all, they each show you a different side of a vast country, so visiting the national parks of Australia is the perfect way to learn why it is such a fascinating and diverse country.

Chances are, that you love one of these best national parks in Australia more than the others, and I cannot wait to hear which one turns out to be your favorite one.

More about Australia

If you are making plans for your Australia trip, you might also want to check out these Australia Travel Guides:
Facts about Australia that you should know

Which National Park in Australia is your favorite one?

Let me know in the comments down below!

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Steph Kloeckener

I am the founder of A Nomad's Passport and a solo traveling digital nomad, photographer, and writer. Originally from Germany, I have lived in several countries around the world. My goal is to explore every country in the world while promoting ethical and sustainable traveling. And of course to write as many destination guides, itineraries, road trip guides, and content about scuba diving.

A Nomad's Passport is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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