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National Parks: Over 650 in Australia for Camping or Visiting

We are spoilt for choice in Australia when it comes to national parks and opportunities for remote camping and filling your days with hiking, biking, kayaking, and more. With over 650 national parks and over 28 million hectares across the country, each one is managed by individual states and territories.

What exactly is a national park? National parks are large parcels of land that have been reserved to protect areas and conserve biodiversity, plants, animals, ecosystems, habitats, places of cultural significance and geological importance. As well as provide education and foster appreciation.

Being a vast and varied continent, and the driest, flattest and oldest in the world – Australia is a diverse country with national parks located in wet and humid tropics, central deserts, ancient lands and mountain ranges.

To learn more of what is at your reach, here are a few to consider visiting. It is worth noting that some of these only cater for tent camping or only visiting, but many do offer sites suitable for campervan camping.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Beowa National Park, New South Wales
Formerly Ben Boyd National Park, Beowa spans 47km of coastline and sheltered inlets. It is divided into two areas with sparkling lakes and surf beaches in the Pambula-Haycock area and rocky cliffs in the Green Cape area. Located near the whale watching town of Eden, the turquoise ocean is a striking contrast to the red rock formations. Southern right and humpback whales pass through the waters between September to early December migrating to Antarctica.

Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales
Right on Sydney’s doorstep is this World Heritage-listed park. Known for the Three Sisters, as well as dramatic sandstone cliffs, mountain biking, historic walking tracks, scenic drives, rock climbing and Aboriginal culture.

Bongil Bongil National Park, New South Wales
Near Coffs Harbour, Bongil Bongil is home to one of the largest koala populations in New South Wales (not uncommon to catch them munching on eucalyptus leaves or sleeping), as well as approximately 165 species of birds. It is a popular place for fishing, mountain biking, picnicking and hiking. Soak in the sweeping coastal views, spot the wildlife and find your inner calm beside a stream. Guided tours are available from Bundagen Cottages at Tuckers Rocks during school holidays.

Boonoo Boonoo National Park, New South Wales
Boonoo Boonoo River passes through this park and includes a 210-metre cascading waterfall and secluded swimming holes. Camping, bushwalking and picnic spots are some the attractions to this area.

Eurobodalla National Park, New South Wales
Located on the far south coast, Eurobodalla offers exceptional camping, walking, surfing, fishing and whale watching. It stretches from Moruya Head to Mystery Bay.

Jervis Bay National Park, New South Wales
With powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, woodlands, wetlands and forests, Jervis Bay has got it all covered. Discover an array of birdlife, whales and dophins. Booderee is the pick for camping at Jervis Bay. Every site is unpowered,

Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales

Located in the Snowy Mountains this place will spoil you with snow sports in winter and mountain biking in the warmer months. It is the largest national park in New South Wales and Aboriginals used the park as a meeting point for over 20,000 years. The highest point was named after a Polish-Lithuanian hero, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko. It is mountainous with very few flat points.

Sydney Harbour National Park, New South Wales
This national park is scattered across Sydney Harbour and protects islands and foreshores in the area of the world’s most well-known harbours. There are plenty of swimming spots, hiking tracks, picnic spots and sights to see such as convict-built buildings, military fortifications, Aboriginal sites and a heritage lighthouse. If you are near a park lookout, then it is worth checking out the view.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
As a World Heritage-listed national park, Kakadu is a pristine, ancient playground with great cultural significance that sprawls nearly 20,000 square kilometres. It is Australia’s largest national park with over 5,000 sites of rock art dating back more than 20,000 years and home to an extensive array of wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, wallabies, flatback turtles and over 2,000 bird species. You will find thundering waterfalls, vast wetlands, lush rainforests, expansive gorges and breathtaking views. It’s one for your bucket list!

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
Described as a living, cultural landscape that features iconic rock formations, particularly the long-domed rock, Uluru. The monolith is Australia’s most well-known, visited and beloved landmark. The park is also home to Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas, that is a Pitjantjatjara word that means ‘many heads’. The area is jointly managed between @ParksAustralia and traditional owners. Take your time here to contemplate the soothing sounds, feel the echoes and breathe the tranquillity.


QUEENSLAND

Eungella National Park, Queensland
Eungella National Park is one of Queensland’s most ecologically diverse parks and the number one place in Australia to spot a wild platypus. It sits high above surrounding plains in a mist-shrouded and forest clad mountain that harbours diverse plants and wildlife. It is a protected area on the Clarke Range, located west of Mackay and home to the Eungella Day Frog, Eungella honeyeater and Mackay tulip oak.

Springbrook National Park, Queensland
Spectacular waterfalls, mountain streams, ancient trees, impressive views and natural beauty makes Springbrook a place to visit, in fact it’ll leave you speechless. It is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and one of Queensland’s five World Heritage-listed properties. Located 100km south of Brisbane. There are four main sections – Springbrook plateau, Mount Cougal to the south east and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Beachport Conservation Park, South Australia
Pack your binoculars when visiting Beachport Conservation Park. The white sandy beaches and coastal flora are home to an array of birdlife, and the walking trail around Woolley Lake offers panoramic views of the ocean.

Ikara-Flinders National Park

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia
Surrounded with rugged mountains and tree-lined gorges, this park is set on 95,000 hectares and proves there’s more than wineries to visit in South Australia. It includes the Hey­sen Range, Brachi­na and Bun­yeroo gorges and the vast amphithe­atre of moun­tains that is Ikara Wilpe­na Pound. There’s also plenty of camping, hiking, bird watching and mountain biking opportunities.

Lincoln National Park, South Australia
Lin­coln Nation­al Park over­looks Boston Bay, the largest nat­ur­al har­bour in Aus­tralia, with gran­ite head­lands, shel­tered bays and scenic off­shore islands. On the south­ern side of the park are the mas­sive, wind-sculpt­ed sand dunes and the pound­ing surf.

 

 

TASMANIA

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
In the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) is Cradle Mountain, covered in ancient rainforests, deep river gorges and snow-topped mountain peaks. The park is revered for its diverse landscape and there’s a wide range of top-notch walking trails to suit all level of hikers.

Douglas-Apsley National Park, Tasmania

Nestled in the east coast of Tasmania, Douglas-Apsley National Park is a gem awaiting discovery. It’s a place of surprising contrasts, featuring tranquil waterholes, deep river gorges and thundering waterfalls, including the spectacular Apsley Falls. Enjoy a picnic, a short walk, go for a refreshing swim, or take time out for quiet contemplation.

Walks within the national park will take you through a diversity of vegetation and terrain, including picturesque Apsley Gorge.

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
You might find you’ll be pinching yourself at the sight of the crystal-clear waters and pink granite mountains at Freycinet. Wineglass Bay is one of the most picturesque beaches on the planet.

VICTORIA

Alpine National Park, Victoria
Stretching from Gippsland to the New South Wales border where it adjoins Kosciuszko National Park. This area is a hiker’s dream, with trails galore for both walking and riding. The park is home to mountainous peaks, grassy high plains and escarpments.

Croajingolong National Park, Victoria
Located in the remote coast of the far-east corner of Victoria. Croajingolong is home to ancient forests, giant sand dunes and extensive wildlife. Basic but picturesque campgrounds are scattered along the coastline. Ideal area for fishing, kayaking and boating. Proudly a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means it is an area recognised for its extensive biodiversity and significant ecological systems.

Dandenong National Park, Victoria
A rainforest getaway located at the edge of Melbourne, and home to 1000 Steps Walks, a popular bush walk.

Goulburn River National Park, Victoria
Located in the Hunter Valley region, Goulburn River National Park is surrounded by forest and river for camping, hiking, kayaking, fishing and swimming.

Great Otway National Park, Victoria
Stretching from Torquay, along the iconic Great Ocean Road and to the Otways hinterland, this is where you tick off everything from Bells Beach, 12 Apostles, Erskine Falls, Cape Otway Lightstation, Californian Redwoods and so much more.

Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park

Port Campbell National Park, Victoria
Home to its primary feature and Victorian icon, the 12 Apostles, as well as other limestone formations such as blowholes, gorges, rock stacks and arches. The Apostles are located in the marine park. The area was commissioned in 1964 to protect these structures and formations on and near the coastline.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

 

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria
Fondly known as the Prom, this park is the southernmost point of the Australian mainland. There’s approximately 130km of walking trails and several campsites. The hub of the park is Tidal River.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Cape Range National Park, Western Australia
This rugged limestone range backs onto the pristine waters of Ningaloo Marine Park. It is rich and diverse and host to wildlife such as kangaroos, emus, echidnas, birds and black-flanked rock wallabies. The walk or boat cruise along the Yardie Creek is a must. There are a large number of caves at Cape Range and the Mandu Mandu necklace was found here, which was considered to be made 32,000 years ago and making it one of the oldest of such world artefacts. On the other side of the park is a drive trail around the deep canyons of Charles Knife Canyon and Shothole Canyon.

Karijini National Park
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
If you’ve visited Karijini, then you would know that it does not get much better than this place. This park is the second largest in Western Australia and it is the result of erosion of red rock that is over 2.5 billion years old. Its possible to walk into deep gorges, then plunge into freshwater swimming holes as a reward at the end. There’s nothing quite like it! There’s three bookable campgrounds – Dales Campground, Karijini Eco Retreat and Karijini Overflow Campground.

This is only a teaser of the many national parks to explore in Australia, and these are only the land-based ones as there are plenty of marine parks to dip your toes into as well. Start a list and see how many of these jaw-dropping wonders you can visit, experience and check off.

Remember to check before you go to ensure the park is open.

Other Instagram pages to follow for national park inspiration and information are:

@australia

Australia is made for campervan adventures. Pack your van, hit the road and see where it takes you… If you are in the market for a van email, bronwyn@achtungcamper.com.au.

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Happy vanning!