Top National Parks in Australia for Wildlife Lovers
Australia’s diverse and extremely unique wildlife find protection in the country’s vast network of national parks and protected areas. From the deserts of the Red Centre to the rainforests of Far North Queensland, Australia’s national parks offer refuge to endangered species found nowhere else on earth. From the strange-looking platypus to the unmistakable kangaroo, Australia’s protected areas offer the prime spots to begin your search for the country’s incredible animals. We have rounded up Australia’s finest national parks to help guide your journey down under.
Port Campbell National Park
Located on the Shipwreck coast of the state of Victoria, Port Campbell National Park is the place to be if you are seeking unique landscapes. Due to the constant water erosion from the Southern Ocean, spectacular rock formations like the iconic Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge have formed. The coast is aptly named for its abundance of historical shipwrecks can be followed by taking the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most scenic drives. Discover countless bird species, koalas around Kennett River, emus, kangaroos, and abundant marine life along the way.
Nambung National Park
This ancient desert landscape filled with giant limestone pillars upwards of 3-metres tall is just a 3-hour drive from Perth. The park contains the Pinnacles Desert which is home to dingoes, red and grey kangaroos, wedge-tailed eagles, honey possums, and wide variety of reptiles. Catch expansive carpets of wildflowers from August to October.
Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park has the unique distinction of having one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Many of the flora and fauna species found here are found nowhere else in the world. The park is home to tree climbing kangaroos like the Bennett’s tree kangaroo, cassowaries, forest dragons, rat kangaroos, spotted-tailed quolls, and stunning metallic blue Ulysses butterflies. The park meets the coast where the Great Barrier Reef awaits.
Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park
Ranging from rainforests to alpine landscapes, the Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park is Tasmania’s natural treasure. The region is one of the top spots in the state for hikers wanting to hike the lovely Dove Lake Circuit or the much more challenging Overland Track. The park is home to countless species that are endemic to the island including the Tasmanian devil, black currawong, yellow wattlebird, Tasmanian native hen, and green rosella. Other famous faces include its healthy population of wombats, pademelons, brushtail possums, and echidnas. Top providers like Naturetrek wildlife holidays can custom create your Australian wildlife itinerary.
Great Sandy National Park
Queensland’s Fraser Island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world and one of the best spots to get close to dingoes. The wild dogs are abundant here and quite used to people, allowing for very close encounters. The island is restricted to 4WD access and offers several multi-day hikes. Try to spot eastern ground parrot and one of the last coastal emu populations. The waters surrounding the island are home to humpback whales, dugongs, dolphins, tiger sharks, and sometimes crocodiles while the skies above are patrolled by sea eagles and ospreys.
Kakadu National Park
Occupying an area roughly half the size of Switzerland, Kakadu National Park is the largest park in Australia. This is the prime spot to witness giant saltwater crocodiles, towering termite mounds, flying fox bat colonies, and the comical frill-necked lizards. The park offers the chance to see about one-third of Australia’s bird species which includes brolgas, black-necked storks, comb-crested jacanas, and blue-winged kookaburras. With so many birds to spot, you may want to pick up an Australian birds field guide before you go.
Litchfield National Park
A short two hour drive from Darwin will bring you to the lush woodland of Litchfield National Park. The park is one of the rare places in Australia where you can see unique giant termite mounds resembling huge tombstones. These intelligently built structures have been constructed by millions and millions of termites on a specific alignment to safeguard themselves from the strong rays of the sun. Wildlife enthusiasts have the option to go on a cruise along the Reynolds River to see the diverse flora and fauna of the region.
Whitsunday Islands National Park
Situated along the lovely tropical coast of Queensland are a collection of 74 mostly uninhabited islands which form a boundary for the Whitsunday Islands National Park. The park finds itself in the dead centre of the Great Barrier Reef, which offers countless incredible dive sites. The park is mostly accessible by boat and is known to be a popular site to see humpback whales during the calving season which occurs from May to September every year. Don’t miss the stunning white sands of Whitehaven Beach. Dive beneath the waters to discover rays, sharks, sea turtle, sea snakes, and giant potato grouper.
Kosciuszko National Park
The vast 2700 square miles Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales is home to Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia at 7310 feet. Temperatures tend to dip below freezing in winter, but during summer visitors come here to tackle the trek to the summit. The park is home to the endangered corroboree frog, dusky antechinus, and mountain pygmy possum. A herd of around 15,000 wild horses have also made the park their home.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Journey to the Red Centre of Australia to see what is most likely the country’s most iconic natural landmark, the giant monolith that is Uluru. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to giant perentie monitor lizards, dingoes, thorny devils, marsupial moles, woma pythons, Major Mitchell’s cockatoos, and brown falcons. Hike around the base of Uluru or the numerous rock domes of Kata Tjuta, learning Aboriginal culture along the way.
Cape Le Grand National Park
Situated in Western Australia, the Cape Le Grand National Park is a short 45 minutes drive from Esperance. The area is known for its incredible scenery, and white sand beaches along a spectacular rugged coastline. This is the abode of the Western Gray Kangaroo, pygmy possum among others. There are two campgrounds available here which can be booked on first come first served basis.
Lord Howe Island
Often described as ‘paradise on earth’ the Lord Howe Island in New South Wales is a World Heritage Site, where entry is limited to just 400 visitors at any given time. Volcanic activity over millions of years has forged together a remarkable ecosystem with unspoiled environment. The scuba diving sites are teeming with green turtles, angelfish and coloured parrot fish. The unique fauna includes nearly 130 bird species, with the rare and highly endangered flightless woodhen being the most sought after by birders.