Australia's top 10 national parks

Australia has a rich tradition of capturing and preserving nature’s best in its national parks. They reward the visitor with an opportunity to be transported to ancient pristine landscapes in all their timeless beauty, brimming with the flora and fauna that make this land so unique.

You probably have your own favourites, but we thought we would give you our take on the top ten from all around the country.

1. Litchfield National Park – Northern Territory
Starting at the top, Litchfield National Park sits 100 kilometres south-west of Darwin and offers a microcosm of all the majestic beauty of the top end. Thundering waterfalls carve their way off the table top sandstone range and the torrents wend their way into peaceful streams and rivers, festooned with tropical vegetation. It’s not hard to understand why the original inhabitants recognised the spiritual significance of this archaic landscape.

Access is available all year round via sealed roads and the park has ample walking tracks and four wheel drive opportunities for the more adventurous. Highlights include the many historic sites, the alien landscape of magnetic termite mounds, Florence Falls, Tabletop Swamp, Greenant Creek, Wangi Falls and Walker Creek.
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2. Daintree National Park - Queensland
The Daintree is just 80 kms north of Cairns and its name has slipped into Australia’s folklore as a place of special significance. As a visitor you can step back in time when you enter the million year old rainforest. This sits alongside Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation to make up the park’s three main attractions.

The Mossman River relentlessly surges around granite boulders in Mossman Gorge. A great place to start your visit is at the state of the art Mossman Gorge Centre; a state of the art Indigenous eco-tourism enterprise that offers an authentic window into the Indigenous heritage of the region. From here you can book a Dreamtime walk or take the regular shuttle bus that takes you into the heart of the gorge itself.
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3. Great Sandy National Park - Queensland
Stretching north from Noosa, this park runs along the coast and is divided into two main sections; Cooloola on the mainland and Fraser Island. Cooloola is bounded by the upper Noosa River on its western edge. Access can be gained to some areas by two wheel drive, or alternately join a guided four wheel drive tour to experience the full vista of the magnificent white sand beaches that stretch out forever. Ferry tours from Noosa or nearby Tewantin offer another way to sample this unique region.

Fraser Island is only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles, which can reach the island via a constant shuttle of vehicle barges. It’s the world's largest sand island and has a landscape that offers a simply awesome combination of infinitely long beaches, dramatic coloured-sand cliffs and picturesque freshwater lakes.
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4. Washpool National Park
Come further south to northern New South Wales to experience World Heritage wonder of Washpool National Park. Located between Grafton on the coast and Glen Innes in the northern tablelands, it’s around 80 kms from each of those towns. Access is just off the Gwydir Highway where Washpool is ready to surprise you with stunning wilderness walks through forest that are so heavy with atmosphere that a dinosaur or hobbit would not seem out of place!

This is national park charm in its purest form and features magnificent stands of coachwood trees and giant red cedars, as well as ample places to camp or picnic and drink in the cool forest air. 
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5. Kosciuszko National Park – New South Wales
190 kms south west of Canberra is the ‘top of Australia’ at Kosciuszko National Park. This rugged alpine landscape has the dual appeal of a winter playground in the colder months and an adventure park when it’s warmer. It’s home to Perisher and Thredbo; two of the country’s premier skiing or snowboarding holiday destinations.

If snow sports are not your fancy, the park offers a range of outdoor recreation options, from lofty mountain walking trails that sample the vistas of alpine flowers, to the aquatic appeal of the streams and lakes dotted across the park. Here you can enjoy boating and some of the nation’s best trout fishing. Why not try a guided fly fishing tour or horse trek to really get in touch with the inspiring landscape?
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6. Freycinet National Park - Tasmania
Tasmania's glorious east coast is home to some of the most dramatically beautiful coastline in the country and this is perfectly encapsulated in the bounds of the Freycinet National Park. The park is formed by a north-south running peninsula that projects into the Tasman Sea, featuring a granite mountain backdrop that provides a striking contrast to the flawless bays, azure waters and white sand beaches along the parks eastern edge.

The jewel in the crown is Wineglass Bay in the centre of the park; a visual treat of surreal beauty with its unusual shape and crystalline waters. Camping and cabin accommodation is available, but is in high demand and is allocated by ballot, but day tripping is a practical option. A superb visitor’s centre is a great starting point and walking trails and scenic drives give plenty of options to experience all the park has to offer.
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7. Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park - Tasmania
South west of Devonport in the remote mountains of western Tasmania lies one of the world’s great Wilderness World Heritage Areas. Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park remains much as it was since ancient times, with its imposing granite bluffs, lush rainforests, glacial lakes and alpine heathlands. 

Cradle Mountain is at the head of the fabled Overland Track – a six day experience, which takes the lucky visitor to the most sought after locations. Of course there are many other less strenuous walking trails, as well as opportunities for unforgettable kayaking and fishing expeditions. Cabin and camping facilities are available, but early booking is recommended due to the popularity. 
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8. Port Campbell National Park - Victoria
A coastal National Park located 190 kilometres south of Melbourne, Port Campbell National Park is best known for the majestic Twelve Apostles; a series of limestone monoliths that tower out of the ocean. However these are just one of the many rugged formations that adorn this part of the Southern Ocean coastline. Cliffs, hidden offshore islets, rock stacks, remarkable gorges and awe-inspiring blow holes can also delight the visitor.

The park skirts the coastline and is traversed by the famous Great Ocean Road, so access to the various points of interest is easy. Port Campbell itself is nestled in the centre of the park and provides a peaceful safe haven amid the otherwise wild and woolly coastal stretch. Galleries, restaurants and cafes give it a quaint village feel and you can’t leave town without sampling the luscious local lobster!
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9. Flinders Ranges National Park – South Australia
Iron red soils, big blue sky and the carpet of green and gold vegetation make the rugged Flinders Ranges National Park the quintessential Australian outback experience. Rolling hills, hidden gorges and sheltered creeks lined with river red gums are ready to restore the spirit and the abundant wildlife will help you make a warm connection with the enthralling landscape.

Wilpena Pound, an enormous naturally formed sedimentary rock amphitheatre, is the park’s centrepiece attraction and the Wipena Pound Resort offers a comfortable hotel or luxury camp accommodation to act as your base for exploration, while enjoying all its modern facilities. Guided 4WD and walking tours can be organised too and a scenic flight to gain the full impact of the formation is a must.
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10. Walpole-Nornalup National Park - Western Australia
120km west of Albany on the Rainbow Coast on WA’s south western corner is the wonderland of Walpole-Nornalup National Park. The signature experience here is The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk; a breathtaking walkway suspended 40 metres above the ground, where you can stroll through the canopy of massive karri trees. The Hill Top Scenic Drive leads you to the Hilltop Lookout where you can scope the inlets of the meandering coastline.

Whale watching is a popular attraction and the protected waters of the Deep and Frankland Rivers offer a peaceful haven for canoeing and fishing. The variety of accommodation options within the park area can add to an intense natural experience and include self-contained units, camping, houseboats and farm stays.
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