Australia’s National Parks to Visit

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Australia is the cleanest continent in the world. The country is renowned for its unique flora and fauna, with 5% of its territory designated as reserves and natural landmarks. The government and specialised organisations have developed numerous nature conservation projects. At present, 11 of Australia’s national parks have been included by the United Nations Organization on the list of places of exceptional significance to humanity. Hence, travellers refer to this country as the “land of parks.” In this article, we will explore the most beautiful and popular national parks in Australia.

  1. Freycinet National Park

Located on the island state of Tasmania, it is considered the most beautiful place in Tasmania. Freycinet was named after the explorer and cartographer Louis de Freycinet, who mapped the coastlines of Australia and its neighbouring islands. The park was founded in 1916, making it the oldest park in all of Tasmania. It boasts a unique climate reminiscent of that of France, with an average of 600mm of precipitation and over 300 sunny days per year.

The main attraction is Wineglass Bay, which has a shape resembling a wine glass. Another iconic feature in the park is the Hazard Range, comprising pink granite rocks with grey jagged peaks. The name “Hazard” translates as “dangerous.” The park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. There are 49 species of endemics growing here, and visitors may encounter possums, flying squirrels, echidnas, long-eared and kangaroo rats, as well as wombats. Tourists can enjoy an overview of Wineglass Bay, embark on a three-day journey across the Freycinet Peninsula, wander through Friendly Beaches, swim in the pristine waters, observe the park’s wild nature, and engage in diving or snorkelling.

  1. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Another national park on the island of Tasmania is Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, which is part of the World Heritage Wilderness Area. The park was established in 1922 with active involvement from the Australian amateur botanist Gustav Weindorfer. On average, the park receives 1880 mm of rainfall per year, with August being the wettest month. 68% of all plants found in Tasmanian forests can be found in this park. Notable attractions in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair include Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair, Mount Pelion East, Dove Lake, and the Overland Track.

The six-day Overland Track hike is particularly popular among tourists. Embarking on this adventure allows you to witness the vastness of the wilderness area, stretching 65 km through valleys formed by glaciers millions of years ago, tropical forests, and majestic mountains. Before 2005, the Overland Track was free of charge. However, now a reservation system is in place to avoid large crowds during the peak season. The ticket price for adults is $200, while for children up to 17 years old, it is $160. It may seem like a considerable sum, but the proceeds go towards compensating park rangers, maintaining roads and facilities, and constructing new cultural landmarks.

  1. Franklin-Gordon-Wild Rivers National Park

In the south of Tasmania, numerous mountain ranges and deep valleys are situated. Here lies the Franklin-Gordon-Wild Rivers National Park, named after Tasmania’s two largest rivers, which were saved by environmental defenders in 1983. The park’s highest point is Freeman’s Cap Peak, standing at an elevation of 1443 metres above sea level. Much of the landscape was shaped during the Ice Age. Tourists are drawn to the local flora, typical of the subtropical and tropical zones.

What can tourists do here? During the summer, one can embark on a kayaking expedition down the river, disembark on the shore, and take a stroll to the Huon Pine, which is around 2000 years old. Experienced adventurers can hike up Frenchman’s Cap Peak. Within the park’s boundaries lies the Darwin Crater, a natural monument of meteoritic origin, and the source of Darwin glass scattered across an approximately 410 km² area. A walking excursion to the designated crater boundaries is possible.

  1. Wilsons Promontory National Park

In the southern mainland of Australia, in the state of Victoria, lies a stunning place — Wilsons Promontory National Park, often referred to as “the Prom.” It is Victoria’s oldest national park, offering breathtaking landscapes and diverse leisure activities to tourists. The park can be reached from Melbourne, about 200 km away, or from Leongatha, approximately 90 km away. Car rental in Australia can be useful here, providing ample opportunities for comfortable recreation. The area of Wilsons Promontory has a moderate maritime climate, with average annual rainfall of about 1000 mm on the coast and 1500 mm on the hills.

Tourists come here for the unique juxtaposition of granite mountain ranges alongside expansive beaches and lush forest greenery. If desired, one can camp under the open sky or rent small cabins in the tourist village. The park is home to about 30 species of mammals, 180 species of birds, and over 700 species of plants. You can encounter the diverse flora and fauna while walking along the designated trails spanning a total of 130 km. In recent years, wedding ceremonies have become increasingly common in Wilsons Promontory Park. Perhaps, during your journey, you may be fortunate to witness one.

  1. Grampians National Park

In the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia, lies the third-largest reserve in the area — Grampians National Park. It stretches approximately 80 kilometres from north to south and 40 km from east to west. The park is famous for its gorges, sheer cliffs, and waterfalls. It received its name in 1836 when explorer Thomas Mitchell named them after the Grampian Mountains in his native Scotland. Long before civilised humans appeared here, the area was inhabited by aboriginals, and around 80% of Australia’s authentic rock art is preserved in the caves.

Several lookout points, hiking trails, and rock climbing sites are organised in Grampians National Park. The best time to visit is from August to October when spring begins, and hundreds of flowers bloom, creating a beautiful spectacle of various colours. Among the notable attractions of Grampians are its numerous mountain ranges, rivers, and waterfalls. 

  1. Otway National Park

Located in the southwest region of Barwon, Victoria state. The park was established in 2004 to avoid the destruction of the forest for logging. Otway covers an area of 1031 square kilometres and is a popular stop for tourist routes along the Great Ocean Road. Visiting the park is especially appealing to forest enthusiasts. Here, ferns grow as tall as palms, and ancient trees have trunks with a circumference of up to 15 metres. Such enormous sizes are attributed to the active work of saprophytic fungi, which decompose fallen leaves and branches into nutrient-rich humus for the local vegetation.

For tourists, there are three campgrounds at Joanna, on the Aire River, and Blanket Bay. The park encompasses both the coastline and the interior areas of the Otway Ranges. Therefore, visitors can experience both beaches and forests. From the coast, travellers can witness the migration of whales and dolphins. Special tours are offered during the rainy seasons, introducing visitors to the local fungal kingdom. Additionally, at night along the streams and walking trails, one can observe the glowing worms Arachnocampa otwayensis.

  1. Port Campbell National Park

Located in the Western region of Victoria state. The park stretches along the coastline and offers surreal landscapes. Its area is approximately 17.5 square kilometres. The park was established on May 5, 1964, initially covering just 7 square kilometres, to preserve the limestone formations along the coast. Tourists often come here to visit the Twelve Apostles, a group of limestone stacks in the ocean, some reaching a height of 45 metres. Helicopter flights around the rock formations are also popular among tourists.

The park’s fauna is predominantly composed of birds. On the coast, one can spot penguins, shearwaters, and albatrosses. Nowadays, visitors can also observe another natural attraction – London Arch. This rock formation is around 20 million years old and, due to constant water action, has taken on the appearance of a bridge with two spans. The arch was named for its resemblance to London Bridge. Interesting fact: in 1998, the park welcomed around two million visitors.

  1. Kosciuszko National Park

The largest park in New South Wales state. Kosciuszko National Park is part of the Australian Alps, included in the National Heritage List. The name is pronounced “Kozzi-osko” in English and was given in honour of the mountain with the highest peak in Australia. Each year, the park attracts about 3 million tourists who come to relax in the thermal pools rich in mineral salts. The water temperature in these pools reaches +27 degrees Celsius, while snow lies at 2228 metres above sea level. The park is the source of several rivers, including the Snowy River, Murray, and Murrumbidgee.

All of New South Wales’ ski resorts are located within Kosciuszko National Park, making winter tickets almost twice as expensive as in summer. Here, you can learn to ski from experienced instructors or, if you already know how, enjoy skiing down the slopes. In Kosciuszko, every tourist can revel in breathtaking mountain landscapes and take a hike. The park’s walking trails lead through crystal-clear streams, glacial lakes, deep gorges, high peaks, historical huts, and other culturally significant sites. There are also numerous campgrounds with essential facilities.

  1. Jervis Bay Marine Park

Located on the southeastern coast of Australia. It was established in 1998 and is divided based on the habitats of protected species. The park also houses a naval base and the capital’s commercial port. Jervis Bay is a protected bay where seals, penguins, dolphins, and migrating whales can be observed from August to November. In the summer, travellers can go fishing, swimming, surfing, diving, and kayaking. The largest city in the Jervis Bay area is Huskisson. Once an inconspicuous and calm village, it has turned into a bustling hive due to the influx of tourists. Travellers make up two-thirds of its population. Jervis Bay holds cultural and historical significance. In 1995, a part of the national park was handed over to Aboriginal people, and this land was designated as Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens. In Jervis Bay, you can try extreme activities like cage diving with sharks.

  1. Murramarang National Park

Located 200 kilometres from Sydney, Murramarang Park covers an area of almost 120 square kilometres. It is considered a particularly protected territory of New South Wales, featuring magnificent eucalyptus forests and broad sandy beaches. The park includes both mainland and four adjacent islands. Just imagine how much diverse beauty you can witness by visiting a single reserve. The area is very clean, and kangaroos will come right up to your tent. Camping is possible on the national park’s beach, with all necessary amenities available. Every traveller can admire the pebbled beach wedged between two capes. This place is a favourite destination for surfers. 

How to find the time to visit all the national parks in Australia

National parks of Australia are among the most diverse in the world. Each of them represents a unique set of components that every tourist must see. If you want to visit all the national parks presented in our article, you need to be prepared. The most important thing is to calculate the travel time correctly. We have written several tips and strategies that will help the tourist see all or most of Australia’s national parks.

* Create a travel plan

Study the list of parks presented in the previous section. Read about each place carefully and determine the route. The idea is to create an optimal trip across the country and not waste time on unnecessary travel from one part of the island to another. Some national parks are located in quite remote areas, such as Fraser Island or Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair in Tasmania, so it is important to calculate the time for travel between the mainland and the island.

* Book accommodation in advance

This will help you avoid unexpected problems during the trip. Some national parks have restrictions on visitation. Find out in advance which ones and book your spot. In most cases, this can be done on official websites. You can also use camping grounds or guest accommodations. Otherwise, imagine how disappointing it would be to travel all the way to Australia, cross the entire country, and not see what you desire.

* Rent a vehicle

Many national parks are located in remote areas. And car transportation will be the most practical way to travel here. You will be able to plan your route calmly and not depend on the public transport schedule and domestic flights. Cars in Australia can be rented on the website of LocalCarRents. Do not hesitate to use this service because it opens up a sea of opportunities for you. With a car, your journey will be easy, economical, and fast.

* Purchase park passes

This will save you a considerable amount of money on visiting national parks. Passes give you access to most national parks at one price throughout the year. There are several types of passes: a single pass for visiting most parks, a pass for one park, and a pass for a group or family. You can buy it on the official website or at national park management offices.

* Use local guides

Local guides will provide you with a lot of valuable information about national parks that you will not find in guidebooks or on websites. Guides are well acquainted with local attractions, know the optimal routes for travel, and can suggest secret spots in the parks. You can find guides on online platforms, at official tourist centres, as well as through recommendations and reviews on websites.

* Prepare for weather and terrain conditions

The weather in different parts of Australia can vary. Accordingly, during one park visit, you may experience a sunny day, while during the second trip, it may rain. Be prepared for such conditions. First, familiarise yourself with the climate peculiarities for the month in which you plan your vacation. Do not forget to bring sun protection, water, and snacks. Some parks may be closed due to weather conditions, so check the information right before each visit.

* Do not rush and do not overestimate your abilities

Visiting all the national parks in Australia can take a lot of time and effort, so there is no need to rush. Take breaks between travels and simply relax. It could be a beach vacation or a delicious snack at a city restaurant. Do not overestimate your abilities and do not forget about your health and safety. And by no means be disappointed if you did not manage to see all the planned places. it is an excellent reason to return to Australia again.

* Enjoy the journey and nature

Visiting national parks in Australia should not turn into a pursuit of quantity. it is your unique and unforgettable experience that you will tell all your acquaintances about upon your return. Enjoy the journey, carefully observe everything around you in each park, discover new places, and take unusual photos.

Visiting all the national parks in Australia can be a great challenge, but with proper planning and strategies, you will be able to see what you’ve planned. Australia offers not only the opportunity to admire natural areas. You will have to come back here again to see the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, Lake Hillier, and many other iconic places.

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