Known for its spirit of preserving pristine natural gems, Australia boasts quite a range of national parks that continue to attract locals as well as international visitors. Even the versatile cultural scene and rich heritage of the urban centres such as Sydney and Melbourne are interspersed with numerous gardens and national parks that steal the spotlight as the main, most cherished attractions.
From Western Australia’s Karijini to the Whitsunday islands right off the north-eastern shores of the Sunshine State, the country is a true treasure trove of wilderness, and these are some of its most beloved, vast natural wonders.
Karijini National Park
Safely cradled in the untamed red rocks of Pilbara, this majestic masterpiece of nature hides steep ravines with waterfalls and river beds, while its main inhabitants range from wildflowers and aviary species to red kangaroos and diverse reptile species. The most spectacular vistas and hikes include walks through some of the park’s most incredible gorges, such as the Weano Gorge and the Knox Gorge.
One of the more distant chasms in the north-west of Karijini named the Hamersley Gorge has swirling rock formations that after a thorough walk reveal breathtaking waterfalls and pools of translucent water beneath their ancient surface. While most of the gorges come with a guided hike, they are not suitable for inexperienced nature-lovers due to their unpredictable nature, harsh weather, and steep grounds.
Booderee National Park
A less known destination even among the locals, Booderee is a wonderful cluster of secluded, unspoiled beaches, a perfect bird and whale watching spot, and home to numerous hiking trails suitable for people of all preferences and fitness levels. The locals visit the park for the sake of its beautiful picnic areas, snorkelling and diving opportunities, and since tourists rarely come in crowds, it remains one of those few hidden treasures worthy of your bucket list.
Located in the Jervis Bay which is a beauty on its own, several nooks you can visit include Murrays beach with its crisp clear waters and white sand, and the mesmerizing Scottish Rocks, yet another beach with dreamlike rock formations that slide into the waves and create a picturesque view of the shore.
Jervis Bay National Park
A ride away from Canberra, and a perfect spot for a several-day-long excursion, this little paradise is brimming with opportunities for laid-back exploring as well as more adventurous trips. There are several notable walks worth a try, such as the White Sands walk with dolphin sighting, bird watching and, of course, a swim or two in the translucent waters at the beaches you come across during the hike.
If you plan on coming with a few friends or even your family, a group charter bus rental is a recommended travel option, especially if you’re heading out to the park from Canberra. With various accommodation options, you can choose your own pace of trekking through the region in order not to miss out on other beautiful sights during the Hare Point walk or the Hyams Beach trail, which is perfect for enjoying the local bird life.
Cape Le Grand National Park
Another gem of Western Australia, and comfortably close to the city of Esperance, Cape Le Grand is a blend of hiking-friendly shoreline and versatile inland area teeming with relict as well as more common species, such as the adorable bandicoot, pigmy possums, legless lizards and blind snakes, while the sand-covered land allows the gorgeous banksias to bloom in abundance.
You can spend your days in the shade near the Hellfire Bay or hiking to the whistling rock of the Thistle Cove, which also boasts several wonderful viewpoints. Moreover, fishing fans can also visit the Dunn Rocks, while the daring enthusiasts can head for the Frenchman peak for a stunning view of the park as well as the adjacent Recherche Archipelago islands.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
The most significant site of historic and cultural value of the region and perhaps even the entire country, the Uluru belongs to the sparsely populated Northern Territory of Australia. The rock monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta are considered sacred to the indigenous Aboriginal people, whose stories make for a relevant segment of the visits to the national park.
You will be greeted by romantic sunsets and bewildering sunrises, while the bush hikes will introduce you to the local wildlife and the desert scenery through a uniquely crafted experience. Each walk in enriched by the stories of the Aboriginal culture, and you can also opt for a helicopter ride, a bike ride or even have a true desert adventure on a camel’s back.