An outdoor adventure that’s better than any theme park
There is such undeniable beauty in our own backyard, and our beaches are only the beginning! Contrary to the photos and videos you see in the internet, Australia isn’t just the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney beaches, the iconic Opera House and giant coat-hanger Harbour Bridge, the cosmopolitan café set of Melbourne, or easy access to the South Pacific. In fact, our gorgeous beaches (as beautiful as they are), only scratch the surface of Australia’s rare and unique natural beauty!
In this blog, we’ve gathered together 5 of our magic National Parks and the best ways to see them. Let’s start with…
Australia’s last frontier, where ancient landscapes meet hidden treasures, complemented by ancient Aboriginal rock galleries taking us back to the mystical Dreamtime. Here you’ll see the Derby Boab “Prison” Tree, fascinating Wandjina rock art located among remote mountains and secret sacred rock formations. Ride a camel on Cable Beach at sunset, journey to the serenity of King George’s beautiful river gorges and incredible sandstone cliffs, ride the horizontal waterfall and take a zodiac to aquatic wonderlands – you might even see the gentle giant of the sea, the elusive whale shark!
Fancy a spectacularly unique view? The Bungle Bungle range in World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park is host to huge beehive-shaped towers, Devonian-age quartz sandstone, shaped over eons by erosion and a rugged climate. The whole Kimberley region is host to Australia’s unique and interesting wildlife, vibrant rust red landscapes under searing blue skies and an extensive history taking you from Dreamtime to the farming frontier and beyond.
Welcome to Oz’s third largest island: Kangaroo Island! While there are guided tours that you can take here, you can also opt to self-drive and see the island at your own pace. Whichever option you take, you’ll experience perfect swimming conditions in the island’s crystal-clear waters, plus there’s the option for some scuba diving and surfing if you’re up for it! As its name suggests, it’s here you’ll come face to face with kangaroos, wallabies, seals, penguins, pelicans and other diverse bird and wildlife. You’ll also see some remarkable rock formations in Flinders Chase, and some of the most beautiful bays you’ll see Down Under. Be sure to visit Hanson Bay, Vivonne Bay, and Seal Bay for some awesome photographs, perfect for your Facebook travel album and making your friends jealous on Instagram! Getting there is aa snap too with day trips from Adelaide readily available. Why not extend your stay with an iconic Murray River cruise to take in the great Australian outback on an elegant paddlewheeler – departing from Mannum weekly.
Daintree National Park
Contrary to popular belief, South America’s Amazon Rainforest is NOT the oldest living rainforest on earth. That title belongs to our own rainforested areas found in abundance in Queensland’s Daintree National Park, and showcasing rare and spectacular plant and animal species. Undeniably this is a great tourist destination where you can discover a magnificent natural eco-system that you can jungle surf your way among giant trees and their towering canopy. Home to many environmentally friendly eco hotels and resorts, this area is located just north of beautiful Port Douglas and Cairns, gateways to the Great Barrier Reef (another unique National Park and World Heritage Listed area). Take time out for scenic helicopter flights across the rainforests, diving the reef, snorkelling and swimming from the golden beaches, and more as you take in the beauty and natural majesty of this National Park. (If you have additional holiday time, why not head further south the the spectacular Whitsunday – or sail north from Brissy and take them all in!)
To experience one of Australia’s most iconic wilderness regions, you can’t go wrong with Tasmania’s beautiful Cradle Mountain. Not only will you witness the towering, jagged peaks of the mountain itself, you’ll also have a perfect view of Crater Lake with its clear waters mirroring the incredible surrounding scenery. Cradle Mountain is also home to secretive exotic Australian bird and wildlife, such as spiky echidnas, quolls, warbling currawongs, pademelons, wallaby, wombats and more, all taking refuge in the silent isolation of centuries old alpine trees. Make sure you visit the Tasmanian Devil wildlife sanctuary, to go up, up, and away on a scenic helicopter, to discover the country’s storied culture through her age-old rock-art galleries, or simply relax in a lodge, glass of wine in hand, burning log fire in the hearth. If you are there in winter it may even snow! Sound dreamy?
Kakadu National Park
Last, but definitely not least, is Australia’s biggest nature reserve Kakadu National Park. Close to Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, the reserve is home to an impressive array of unique plant and wildlife that ranges from exotic birds and flatback turtles to large saltwater crocodiles, found amid natural landscapes that will just take your breath away. Time it right for a locally-inspired gastronomic adventure at the Taste of Kakadu food festival that will allow you to taste the unique flavours of the bush. Sit down with local indigenous Biniji/Mungguy people who willingly share their lifestyle, hunting practices, beliefs, and Dreamtime stories during traditional corroboree. What a way to immerse yourself in the Australian outback and learn about her unique culture – you’ll never know if you don’t go!
Did we tempt your inner explorer? Cruising and travelling around Australia will surely be the start of a beautiful adventure – and setting foot in any of our National Parks is a great place to start. Hidden waterfalls, secluded swimming holes, rainforests, rivers, unique wildlife, and plenty of opportunities to sit around the campfire and share a few yarns with the locals.