Many travelers dream of taking a trip Down Under to explore Australia’s dramatic landscapes, bustling cities and native wildlife. The country-continent is home to some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world, and these national parks certainly do not disappoint.
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Karijini National Park is a dream destination for anyone in pursuit of adventure. Spend the day hiking along stunning trails that wind through ancient gorges, sparkling pools of crystal clear water and surging cascades. Marbled rock cliffs tower throughout the park’s 2,422 square miles, providing plenty of panoramic overlooks. Team up with a local tour operator like Lestok Tours to discover Karijini’s hidden gems.
Flinders Chase National Park, South Australia
Located on the northwestern end of pristine Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park is a sprawling sanctuary for Australia’s endangered species. Soak up its rugged charm while strolling along endless coastlines, mountain biking, whale watching or bushwalking. The star attractions of Flinders Chase include the iconic Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch; two natural rock formations shaped by the Southern Ocean’s powerful tides. Kangaroo Island Odysseys offers the area’s best tours and naturalist guides.
Twelve Apostles Marine National Park
The Twelve Apostles Marine Park is a must-see stop along Australia’s legendary Great Ocean Road. The 19,000-acre protected park sits on the southwest coast of Victoria and was deemed a national park in 2002. Each year, the destination attracts hordes of water enthusiasts looking for a relaxing aquatic escape. Named for its famed Twelve Apostles limestone rock stacks, it’s also home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna, including magnificent kelp forests, rainbow-hued sponge gardens, and colonies of little penguins.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is one of Tasmania’s top natural wonders. The park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which accounts for approximately 20 percent of the area’s total footprint. It’s also home to the starting point of the world-famous Overland Track. Visitors can expect jagged cliffs, rainforests, grasslands and waterfalls. It also has wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else on the continent.
The Royal National Park, New South Wales
At 58 square miles, the Royal National Park may be small, but it certainly makes a statement. Located just south of Sydney, it’s the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone). Nicknamed “Nash” by locals, the diverse attractions span from tranquil beaches to dense forests, making it especially popular with birdwatchers, bushwalkers, surfers and picnickers. Tap the experts at Barefoot Downunder to plan a day trip to the park’s famous Figure 8 Pools.
The Daintree National Park, Queensland
The Daintree National Park holds the honor of being the oldest living rainforest on earth; beating the Amazon by a cool 65 million years. The national park was created in 1981 and became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site seven years later. The park caters to every type of traveler ranging from thrill seekers to lavish holidaymakers. Here, the rainforest of the Wet Tropics meets the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and also offers a raging river, coastal lowlands and remote villages.