There’s no denying how immensely beautiful the National Parks in Australia are: from its gorgeous beaches to breathtaking outback, World Heritage-listed rainforests and amazing wildlife. These national parks are protected because of their unspoilt landscapes and great variety of plants and animals. With more than 500 national parks in Australia, there’s more than enough to explore, learn about and enjoy!

 

Here we give you 15 of Australia’s spectacular national parks.

 

1.  ROYAL NATIONAL PARK, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

Royal National Park

 

The Royal National Park, renamed after Queen Elizabeth II, is the first national park in Australia, proclaimed in April 1879. Located an hour south of Sydney and previously named “The National Park” is also the second oldest in the world, only behind the Yellowstone National Park in USA. It boasts of beautiful surf beaches, bushwalks, sandstone ridges and dramatic coastal cliffs. Take an incredible moonwalk and nocturnal hike along the coastal track. Swim and surf at Garrie Beach, Jibbon Beach or Wattamolla Beach.  Explore the bushwalk by foot or go camping. The Royal National Park offers various exciting activities for every visitor.

 

 

 

2.   GREAT SANDY NATIONAL PARK, QUEENSLAND

 

Great Sandy National ParkPhoto: visitsunshinecoast.com, David Wall, sunrover.com.au, commons.wikimedia.org

 

Great Sandy National Park is a coastal national park divided into two sections:  Cooloola on the mainland and the World-Heritage listed Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world. Cooloola offers wide open beaches, towering cliffs of coloured sands, tall forests, fringing mangroves and serene waterways. Fraser Island, meanwhile, is also spectacular with its white, sandy beaches and fresh water lakes. It is also the only place on earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes!   And with its amazing 120-kilometre beach highway, Fraser Island has become synonymous with 4wd.

 

3.  PORT CAMPBELL NATIONAL PARK,  VICTORIA

 

Port Campbell National ParkPhotos: gibsonsothebysrealty.com, ausemade.com.au, sude57, skenescreekmotel.com.au

 

Port Campbell National Park is home to the iconic 12 Apostles, the London Arch, the Gibson steps and the scenic Great Ocean Road. This beautiful national park is famous for its spectacular limestone cliffs overlooking rock stacks, islets and arches which were designed by the sea and caused by harsh weather conditions from the Southern Ocean.  Embark on a scenic road trip to the Great Ocean Road or hike the trail to the Port Campbell Discovery Walk and learn the heritage of the Shipwreck Coast. Stop on various lookouts and be blown away with the breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles coastline.

 

 

4.  KAKADU NATIONAL PARK, NORTHERN TERRITORY

 

KakaduPhotos: LLudo, Parks Australia, travelonline.com, expedia.com

 

Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park covering almost 20,000 sq km, that’s about half the size of Switzerland! The traditionalowners, Bininj Mungguy have lived on and cared for the area for more than 50,000 years. With its rich Aboriginal cultural sites, diverse terrain-sandstone escarpments, floodplains, rainforests, billabongs, rivers, waterfalls and amazing wildlife, it is no wonder that it is World Heritage-listed site.  

 

5.   KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

KarijiniPhotos:  Alwyn Simple, Australia.com

 

Located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Karijini National Park is the second largest national park in Western Australia. Formed over 2 billion years, the breathtaking landscape will take you to deep ancient gorges, canyons, emerald coloured rock pools and stunning waterfalls. Go camping on the outback sky or choose safari tents in an eco-retreat. Take a dip in crystal clear swimming holes. Clamber over boulders and squeeze through narrow tunnels. Or take a guided tour and explore the national park’s spectacular sceneries.

 

 

6.  GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK, VICTORIA

 

Grampians National ParkPhotos: Ilya Genkin, visitvictoria.com, everythingaustralia.com

 

The Grampians National Park located in Victoria is a spectacle to behold with its jaw-dropping sceneries. It has the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. With its sandstone mountain ranges, hidden valleys, amazing wildlife, local wineries, the iconic Halls Gap in the north, the historic Ararat, the quaint Hamilton and the lively city of Horsham- its diversity leaves one with endless adventures.

 

7.  DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK, QUEENSLAND

 

Daintree National ParkPhotos: australiantraveller.com, Cairns-Australia, bestourism.com

 

Another World Heritage Site, the Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland has the world’s most ancient rainforest thought to be about 165 million years old! This vast, dense but beautiful rainforest has extraordinary diversity, with high concentration for flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Take a scenic drive and explore this amazing rainforest that meets the pristine beach. Enjoy the forest canopy in a flash through an exhilarating zip line or experience it through an aerial walkway. Take a laid-back and leisurely cruise along the Daintree River and spot crocs! Join a spotlighting tour to see other native animals like cassowaries. Here, you’ll see how two World Heritage Sites connect as the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.

 

 

8.  CRADLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, TASMANIA

 

Cradle National ParkPhoto: australia.com

 

At Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, you will find the famous six-day Overland Track that will take you through spectacular mountain views. It is also home Tasmania’s beautiful landmark and popular tourist destination, Cradle Mountain which is in the north and to the similarly breathtaking Lake St. Clair in the south.  With lush rainforests to alpine mountains, Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park makes it one of the popular areas in Tasmania.

 

9.  KOSCIUSZKO NATIONAL PARK, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

KOSCIUSZKO NATIONAL PARKPhoto: snowymountains.com

 

Kosciuszko National Park, the largest national park in New South Wales, has Australia’s highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko. It is an amazing spot for a winter roadtrip. Spectacular countryside views and amazing walks, Kosciuszko National Park, offers plenty of great places to stop & take in the views. You can go camping, explore caves or climb Mt Kosciuszko. You can either take the full hike or catch the ski lift, either way you will be blown away by the magnificent views upon reaching the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.

 

 

10.  FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK, TASMANIA

 

Freycinet National ParkPhotos: australia.com

 

Set on Tasmania's beautiful East Coast, Freycinet National Park boasts of pink granite mountains called “Hazards Range, surrounded by secluded bays, pristine white beaches and abundant bird life. The beautiful beaches that surround the park can be enjoyed with swimming, kayaking or just lazing on the sand, while diving and snorkelling are rewarded with spectacular underwater views of abundant marine life.

 

11.  FLINDERS RANGES NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA 

 

Flinders RangesPhoto: southaustralia.traveller.com

 

Flinders National Park is park is famous for its Aboriginal rock art sites, geological history, fossils and well-preserved cultural heritage. With an area of 95,000 hectares, it includes Brachina and Bunyeroo gorges, Heysen Range and the breathtaking Wilpena Pound in the heart of Flinders Ranges National Park. Marvel at the magnificent aerial view of Wilpena Pound’s immense size and beauty. Or take a guided tour and experience the park’s spectacular sceneries.

 

 

12. BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

 Blue Mountains National ParkPhoto: paradise-fall.com

 

50 miles from Sydney lays the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its blue hues radiates from the eucalyptus trees that cover the mountains. The 664,000 acres comprises of waterfalls, aboriginal rock paintings, magnificent gorges, and gorgeous hiking trails. The Three Sisters sandstone rock formations are one of the most popular points within the National Park.

 

13. PURNULULU NATIONAL PARK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

PURNULULU NATIONAL PARKPhotos: daringphotography.com, NeilsPhotography, adventuretours.com.au

 

Purnululu National Park, located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, contains one of the world’s most unique geological structures, the Bungle Bungle Range which looks like giant sandstone beehives marked with orange and black stripes. It was formed by erosion for over 20 million years but was just recently discovered by Europeans in the mid 1980’s.

 

14.  NAMBUNG NATIONAL PARK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Nambung National Park Photo: Ilya Genkin

 

Set in the in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, Nambung National Park includes the famous outstanding limestone formations called “The Pinnacles”, which dates back to over 3.6 billion years in the Pinnacles Desert. The park teems with amazing wildlife with western grey kangaroo, red kangaroo, dingo, red fox and honey possum.  Nambung National Park is also bordered by white beaches perfect for swimming, surfing and snorkelling.

 

15.  WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK, QUEENSLAND

 

WhitsundaysPhoto: Ken Duncan

 

Whitsunday Islands National Park consists of continental islands lying off the Queensland coast 25km east of Airlie Beach. Charter a yacht and explore the tropical paradise of Whitsundays. Enjoy the cruise with swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing. Delight in the breathtaking views of secluded coves and sandy beaches. Whitsundays are made up of 74 islands located on the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland and right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system.