Australia’s Best National Parks

Australia is a country quite unlike any other. With diverse landscapes and terrains, ranging from lush rainforest to deep red desert to white sandy beaches, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the world’s premier destinations. With its beautiful climate and incredible national parks, it offers so much to the intrepid traveller. 

With over 500 national parks covering over 28 million hectares of land, Australia is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife along with 14 World Heritage Sights and 13 marine parks. Of course, you’d be hard pushed to visit every single national park in Australia – which is why the editorial team here at Thrifty have put this handy guide together. 

Whitsunday Islands National Park, Queensland

This is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful national parks. The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of 74 islands located off the coast in Queensland. It actually sits in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, so you know when you visit you’ll see some beautiful sights both on and off land. One trip we definitely recommend (other than to the underwater magic of the Reef), is to Whitehaven Beach. It’s got gleaming white sands that are 98% silica and has the most beautiful unique formation every single day caused by the tidal waters. Enjoy this national park by either staying on one of the island resorts or on a boat on the water. It’s magical.

To experience the Whitsundays region, hire a car from Airlie Beach.

Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales

The Blue Mountains National Park is a huge 662,130 acres in New South Wales, and it’s just a 2-hour drive from Sydney. It’s a part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the beautiful blue haze atop the dense rainforest as you look out over the Three Sisters and beyond. Take the time to drive through the surrounding towns and check out the different hikes available – it’s like travelling to a land before time as you descend into the incredible canyons throughout the park. 

To discover the Blue Mountainshire a car from Katoomba.

Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Kakadu National Park is known throughout the world as one of the best national parks there is. It’s an incredible combination of natural beauty, rich Indigenous culture, and ancient history. It’s situated in the Northern Territory and is the largest national park in Australia. At a whopping 12, 427 square kilometres, you’d be hard-pressed to cover even the smallest section of this beautiful place. Check out important cultural sites like Naguluwur and Ubirr, as well as naturally stunning spots like Jim Jim Falls.

To explore Kakadu National Park, hire a car from Darwin Airport.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

No list like this would be complete without Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Home to the most iconic natural attraction in Australia, Uluru, this national park is world-renowned. With huge cultural significance to the Indigenous people of Australia, Uluru is a place that many aim to visit at least in their lifetime. Uluru itself is also a UNESCO World-Heritage Site, with many visitors flocking to this national park for a taste of the true Australian outback, as well as an opportunity to learn about the cultural and historical significance of the area. 

To discover Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parkhire a car from Ayers Rock Airport.

Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

This national park sure is a beauty! Freycinet National Park is located on the east coast of Tasmania, and with world-class beaches, turquoise waters, and pink granite mountains, it’s easy to see why many tourists visit here year on year. Freycinet is also home to Wineglass Bay: a regular on any ‘best beaches’ list. Make sure to visit here on a good day, so you can marvel at the incredible curved shoreline that forms an almost wine glass shape – marvel at it from above at one of the lookout points before climbing down and walking across the beach itself. 

To visit Freycinet National Park, hire a car from Hobart Airport or Launceston Airport.

If there is one thing that’s for sure –  Australia has some fantastic national parks. This list barely scratches the surface, and we could have listed many more. But, these national parks are truly the best of the best. And they’re located either in the middle or next to UNESCO World Heritage spots.

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