Would you believe that Australia has over 28 million hectares of national park land? Imagine yourself picnicking by a natural waterfall, the kids running around amongst the trees, breathing in the freshest air you’ve ever known.
Quality family time in a national park is an affordable and unique experience that will ignite a newfound appreciation for nature.
But with more than 500 national parks in Australia to choose from, how could you possibly decide which ones to visit? That’s where we come in. We’ve found some of the best parks and activities for families with kids of all ages.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
At the top of our list is perhaps the most famous national park in Australia. Kakadu is as abundant in culture as it is in natural beauty. During your visit, you’re bound to discover astonishing ridges, ancient rock art, tranquil billabongs and an array of flora and fauna that must be seen to be believed.
Connect with and appreciate the ancient cultures of Kakadu through guided group and private tours. Gain local knowledge of life in floodplain country from the guides of the Ayal Aboriginal tour, and experience incredible didgeridoo, spear throwing and weaving demonstrations from the Pukadul tour.
Kids have the chance to see Kakadu through the eyes of the local rangers. The Kakadu Croc ‘n’ Tell talk and the Ubirr Rock Art talk, both included in your Park Pass, are great ways for kids to learn about the area and its people. Between spirit dancing and croc-spotting, this is a holiday they’ll never forget.
Ikara – Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia
Fascinating dreamtime history, sweeping ranges and awesome rock formations – Flinders Ranges is one of Australia’s most spectacular national parks. Get amongst the incredible parkland and wildlife on one of the parks many walking trails. Wilpena Pound, Sacred Canyon and Yourambulla Caves are our favourites, varying in length and grade to suit all ages.
You will have a chance to hear the ‘creation stories’ about how the landscapes came to be from indigenous tribes through song, storytelling and dance. Kids will also enjoy the variety of wildlife that call this national park home. Bounding kangaroos, proud emus, soaring eagles, spiky echidnas, and waddling wombats – you’ll meet them all.
Away from the big smoke, the skies are unbelievably clear out in Flinders Ranges. Kids can enjoy outback stargazing tours, where they’ll spot shooting stars, learn about star constellations and galaxies, and how it all ties in to the rich dreamtime history of the area.
Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria
Wilsons Prom is a favourite of ours for so many reasons. It has a tonne of activities tailored to kids, it is extremely accessible for less mobile visitors, and juts right out on to the Bass Strait, its wild waters protected as a marine national park.
Kids can discover an underwater world at Tidal River with a crew of local Rangers. They’ll also get to use microscopes to examine the tiny creatures that call this national park home. Covered footwear is a must and the cost in included in the park fee.
Wilsons Prom was one of the first national parks in Australia to offer beach wheelchairs for less mobile visitors. They are designed to handle sand, rock and soil with either balloon tyres or wide wheels, available for children and adults.
We’re so excited that National Park experiences are becoming more accessible for everyone. Read more about it here.
Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales
This wonderful national park is only a short drive from Sydney, but feels like a world away. Perfect as a day trip or a weekend getaway, with some fantastic accommodation in and around the park, from luxurious forrest cottages to rustic cabins and camping grounds.
A trip to the Blue Mountains isn’t complete without snapping a photo of the three sisters. The dreamtime story behind this beautiful natural rock formation is fascinating. Wenthworth Falls is another must-see, with a number of walking trails allowing visitors to see it from all angles.
The National Parks Discovery Program will keep kids entertained all day, offering spotlight tours, camp fire fun, Eco-tours and wild walks on their Junior Ranger Days and Toddler Treasure Hunts. Other fun activities include the Zig Zag railway, horse riding, the Scenic Cableway, and even bushland Segway tours.
Daintree National Park, Queensland
In far north Queensland, this UNESCO listed national park is the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world (135 million years old!). The Kuku Yalanhi peope are the traditional owners of the land, and share this beautiful expanse with thousands of rare, indigenous species of flora and fauna.
Local Aboriginal elders host Dreamtime tours, sharing their knowledge of traditional indigenous practices and ways of life. You can also take a drive through the national park, spotting cassowaries, crocodiles and other incredible wildlife native to the area.
Frequent shuttle services to Mossman Gorge will drop you in the perfect spot to begin your national park adventure. With tonnes of boardwalks, walking trails, lookouts, and suspension bridges, your family is bound to have a fantastic time at Daintree.