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

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.

1. Freycinet National Park – 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 it’s praises like us!

See and do:

Walk to Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach

Coles Bay

Honeymoon Bay

Friendly Beaches

Fly over Freycinet and Hazards

Eat at Tombolo Freycinet

Stay at The Blue House

2. Cradle Mountain National Park – Tasmania

Located 165km north west of Hobart this 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:

Dove Lake circuit

Visitor Center Rainforest Walk

Lake St Clair

World famous Overland Track

Prey for good weather

3. Wild Rivers National Park – Tasmania

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:

World Heritage Gordon River Cruise

Hogarth Falls

Nelson Falls

King William Saddle

Surprise Valley Lookout

Franklin River Nature Trail

Sunset in the town of Strahan

4. Wilsons Promontory National Park – Victoria

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:

Squeaky Beach

Sealers Cove

Norman Beach

Mount Oberon

Go walking

Stay at Tidal River Campground (we saw wombats)

5. Grampians National Park – Victoria

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:

The Pinnacle’s Walk

Reeds Lookout

Boroka Lookout

Cycle from Town to Lake Bellfield.

Explore the town of Halls Gap

MacKenzie Falls

Brambuk The National Park & Cultural Centre

Eat and drink at Livefast Lifestyle Cafe

Stay at the YHA

6. 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:

Triplet Falls

See wild koalas in Kennet River, along the Grey River Road

Cape Otway Lighthouse (oldest lighthouse in Australia)

Otway Fly Treetop Walk

Melba Gully

7. Port Campbell National Park – Victoria

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:

Sunset or sunrise at The Twelve Apostles (miss the lunchtime madness)

Gibson Steps

Loch Ard Gorge

London Arch

The Grotto

The Arch

Stay in Port Campbell.

8. Kosciuszko National Park – NSW

If you’re looking to climb Australia’s highest peak, you’ll find it here. 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. And whilst you’re here, why not explore The Snowy Mountains region.

See and do:

Climb Mount Kosciusko

Skiing at Thredbo or Perisher

Mountain bike riding

See the wildflowers in summer

Eagles Nest restaurant (Australia’s highest restaurant) for a gourmet hot chocolate

9. Jervis Bay National Park – NSW

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:

Hyams Beach

Greenfields Beach

White Sands Walk

Eat at Hyams Beach Cafe

10. Booderee National Park – NSW

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

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:

Pretty Beach

Pebbly Beach

Depot Beach

Durras Beach

Walk from Pretty Beach to Merry Beach

See wild kangaroos

Stay at Pretty Beach cabins

12. Blue Mountains National Park – NSW

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:

The Three Sisters

National Pass Trail

Grand Canyon Walk

Echo Point lookout

The Scenic Railway


Rock climbing

Visit the town of Leura

Wentworth Falls

13. Royal National Park – NSW

Wattamolla Beach – credit: Crouchy69

Did you know that the Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest NP 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:

Wattamolla Beach

A Moonwalk

14. Burleigh Head National Park – Queensland

Burleigh Heads is one of our favourtie 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

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

16. Great Sandy National Park – Queensland

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:

75 Mile Beach

Lake Mackenzie

Eli Creek

The Pinnacles

Maheno Shipwreck

Rainbow Beach

17. Daintree National Park – Queensland

At 110 million years old the The Daintree Rainforest pre-dates the Amazon and the dinosaurs. The Daintree and Cape Tribulation – a 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:

Cape Tribulation

Mossman Gorge and a Dreamtime Walk

Daintree Discovery Centre

Daintree Village

Road trip from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation

Spearfishing at Cooya Beach

Cape Kimberley

Alexandra Lookout

Mason’s Cafe and swimming hole

18. Great Barrier Reef – Queensland

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 2,300km 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 Elliott Island in the south.

See and do:

Go snorkeling

Learn to dive

Take a helicopter flight

Take a glass bottom boat tour

Get stranded on an island (not really)

19. Boodjamulla National Park – Queensland

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 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:

Archway Explorer Lava Tubes Tour

Wildlife sunset tour

Walk to the rim of Kalkani Crater

Sleep in a railway carriage

21. Whitsunday Islands National Park – Queensland

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 mid-way 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:

World famous Whitehaven Beach

Go sailing

Daydream Island

Snorkel at Manta Ray Bay

Airlie Beach

Hayman Island

Cedar Creek Falls

Take a helicopter flight

22. Nitmiluk National Park – Northern Territory

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:

Sunrise cruise in Katherine Gorge

Kayak into Katherine Gorge

Walk to Barrawei Lookout

See the fruit bats at sunset

Stay at Nitmiluk Caravan Park

23. Kakadu National Park – Northern Territory

Ahh, the wonders of Kakadu National Park. From wetlands, to sandstone escarpments, waterfalls, swimming holes, billabongs, rivers, and wwildlife – 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:

Gunlom Falls

Yellow Water Billabong Cruise

Sunset at Nardab Lookout, Ubirr

Nourlangie Rock Art

Nourlangie Lookout for sunset

Barramundi Gorge

Jim Jim Falls

Twin Falls

24. Litchfield National Park – Northern Territory

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:

Florence Falls

Buley Rockhole

Wangi Falls

Walker Creek

Magnetic Termite Mounds

25. Karijini National Park – Western Australia

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

To be continued…

We still have plenty of distance to cover on this road trip around Australia with much more of Western Australia still to see, we haven’t touched South Australia yet and of course the Red Centre in the Northern Territory is on our itinerary too.

We’ll be seeking out the best parks to explore in those states to add to this list, plus we’ll be revisiting the other states over time as well.

So with your help we’d love to discover more amazing parks we’ve yet to see.

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

25 National Parks in Australia to set foot in

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