National Parks Visits (ongoing…)


We’ve had several other travellers we’ve met on the road and couple of our subscribers asked us which National Parks we’d suggest to visit or stay. Hopefully this blog will give many a couple of ideas from our NP experiences so far on this trip. This is not an exhaustive list but just the NP we managed to visit. We will endeavour to keep adding more NP as we continue to explore them on our journey so keep coming back to this page from time to time.

Whilst there are many wonderful gazetted forests and reserves to explore in all states and territories, we have only recorded a list of Australian Gazetted National Parks we have either visited, stayed overnight, or explored at some rudimentary level on this trip that could be used for other travellers planning a trip like ours or, if planning a trip to a specific NP we’ve mentioned or blogged about.

However these are not descriptive notes or trip logs, but simple basic thoughts of the NP’s we’ve spent a little time in that maybe useful to some.

The list we’ve put together is in chronological order of each park visit we’ve done all with coordinates, week & month of visit and even some with images or a blog or two as well.

Tip: Most National Parks charge visitor fees per vehicle – typically anywhere from $8-$14 per entry.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 8.35.45 pmAs we planned to spend the bulk of our trip in Western Australia we decided early on to purchased an annual WA National Parks Pass (like this one with the Numbat to the right) to avoid having to worry about the right $money (often an honesty unmanned cashbox system) at most NP entrances.

The pass is a bargain $88.00 and permits you to visit all NP’s in WA (with exception of only two) as many times as you like within 12 months of the date of purchase. (A no brainer in our case).

Lastly, we have also split Western Australia’s National Parks into three state regions; North, Mid and the South West and all photo’s used in the blog are the property of the Hunters and are under copyright ©.

*** Disclaimer ***

Please read and carefully note: All stated thoughts in this blog to each National Park are ours, and ours alone based from our visit or stay, time of year of our visit or stay, all of which is important for you to take note of if planning a trip to any of these areas yourself. Please especially observe the dates to our visits so as to compare if these are favourable temperatures and weather conditions for your planning. In doing so, you should only use this information as a “O N E  S O U R C E  I N  M A N Y process in an effort to diligently plan specific NP visits for your own journey.

Please also note: Some national parks in the more remote regions of WA (such as Purnululu NP) request you register at a >S I G N  I N<  &  <S I G N  O U T> rangers hut whether you have an annual or day pass or otherwise. Please make sure you follow this procedure for due care and safety reasons so the park rangers know who to come looking for, and approx where you are going to be, in the case of emergency or accident when they notice you have not returned to sign yourself out of the park.

 


National Park Trip List


 

Legend

* B L U E NP name highlighting donotes some of our more favoured NP’s we have visited and if you have a liking for flora or fauna, wonderful vistas and landscapes, perhaps even good hiking, try to see some of these.

* R E Dhighlighting are must see NP’s in our opinions if you’re travelling through or near that region, make every opportunity to see the NP in question if possible.

* M A P  C O O D I N A T E S example of a stated NP appear like this example 24.2517°S 131.632°E or like this decimal 25.312222222222°S 131.01861111111°E Also note when you click coordinates you will be asked to choose your preferred map – there are several to choose from.

* I M A G E S and B L O G S are also linked in light blue and underlined and will open a new tab on your browser when clicked.


 

New South Wales

  • No National Parks recorded (yet) but will near the end of our journey. 😦

South Australia 

  • *Flinders Ranges National Park (Wilpena Pound) – 31.4222°S 138.705°E , (Aug 2015)
    • Although it mainly rained in our 5 days there late last year in late August, it is still a place of wondrous beauty. Wilpena Pound especially is a fascinating range with great camping sites in two main locations with other more remote free-camping locations between Blinman and Parachilna in the many gorges along this rough dry river bed road. If you like Emu’s, you’ll love this place – they are everywhere as we found. And we all look forward to getting back to the Flinders on route to do the Birdsville track in April/May 2016 on the tail-end of our trip.
  • Lake Eyre National Park (Oodnadatta track region) – 28.6689°S 137.524°E , Lake Eyre South
    • You don’t come out this way looking to see trees. It is harsh arid country out this way and if not prepared, many people have become unstuck at certain times of the year. However, thats part of the attraction and the area is full of interesting earlier explorer and stockman history. Beware of the extreme temps in this region which in summer can regularly top 45, sometimes even hit 50deg C. We would love to see Lake Eyre after a season big wet and to see the migratory birds flock to this huge inland lake system. A must see at anytime, but especially after large and heavy prolonged rains when the lake Eyre system fills to near capacity.

Northern Territory

  • *Uluru National Park (Ayers Rock) – 25.312222222222°S 
    • An Aussie icon known the world over. If you’re travelling through NT, make sure Uluru is on you’re itinerary. The rock is a magical place at anytime but especially at Sunset. Click here for images and blog
  • *Kata-Tjuta National Park (Olgas) – 131.01861111111°E 
    • coming into kata Tjita from within the  D4Same as Uluru above – 45kms apart and a symbolic must do as well. Some great walks, not too hard and some are even mostly in the shade. Beautiful spot and wish we spent a little more time here.
    • Click here for images and blog.

 

  • *Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) – 24.2517°S 131.632°E
    • A little out of the way but a worthy detour if you are into canyons, desolate escarpments and hiking. Watarrka has some fantastic hikes and walks for all fitness levels, just make sure when visiting it is in the winter/spring months to avoid the heat or start walking no later then first light as we had to in Mid-October.  Click here for images and blog.
  • Gregory National Park (Judbarra) – 15.6339°S 131.267°E 
    • I wish we had a break in the hot temps so we could have camped in this park when we were passing through but it was 42 deg and camp stays are remote, dusty and without power. The Fitzroy River area escarpments of the NP are quite spectacular and the colours were amazing. Winter only unless you love the extreme temps that often occur in this region. Water is also plentiful here so be sure to pick a camp ground or caravan park closely to the Fitzroy and enjoy. *Also beware of fresh water crocs*.

Western Australia

North Western Australia

  • *Hidden Valley National Park (Kununurra) – 15.7739°S 128.764°E 
    • The NP is in Kununurra itself and a hauntingly beautiful place which is an homage to the local indigenous tribal people of Kununurra and surrounds – click here to see image and here for blog.

 

  • *Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle) – 17.463055555556°S 128.56416666667°E 
    • If you are within 500kms of the place, go there …but you will need a proper 4WD vehicle to get in/out of Purnululu NP, or do a flight from somewhere remotely nearby. Temps were again high (35deg at 10am) as we did the Cathedral walk but what a place of beauty. We would love ti get back here for 3-4 days in winter as it would be much cooler and the water holes replenished. Must see. Click here for Blog along with funny tourist story that we encountered along the way out of Purnululu.
  • *Karijini National Park – (Pilbara) 22.2506°S 117.976°E  (Mid-Oct, 2015)
    • Wow! This place is awesome.
    • We stayed at the park a week or so just before the Dales Campground was closing for the wet season but it was still spectacular in every sense. If you love to immerse yourself in all things outdoory beautiful, colourful and rugged – get yourself here and aim for at least 5 days just to scratch the surface of this amazing park. For images click here and here for our special Karijini blog on this very special park.
    • Note: This park has some camp restrictions at Dales Gorge Campground (where we stayed) which typically closes for the wet (Nov-Apr) so make sue you observe the closure / opening dates if planning to come to this part of the park. The only other campground is 40kms away at the Karijini Eco Retreat which opens all year round (subject to weather conditions), but beware, the gorges here can be very dangerous due to extreme flooding during the wet season. Blog
    • Comment: We would love to come back here during the wet-season to really experience the often extreme weather this park cops, especially around Jan-Feb. However it would be very uncomfortably and extremely hot and seeking temp respite in the many glorious pools Karijini has to offer may not be an (safe) option. If you have deep’ish pockets, perhaps the Eco-retreat is a better option in the summer time. Peak season is from April-Oct when the temps are significantly milder during the day and often cool to cold at night.
    • 21°16′24″S 117°06′27″E We also wanted to visit the Millstream-Chichester National Park which is also in the Pilbara but the heat was too much for us. if you plan to do Karijini, we have nothing but good things about Millstream-Chichester so you might like to look at the NP as well?

Mid Western Australia

  • Cape Range National Park (Ningaloo Reef) – 22.1233°S 113.921°E  (late Oct / early Nov, 2015)
    • A mostly marine park on the coral coast near Exmouth. We experienced Ningaloo after the whale sharks had moved on for the season and the winds were mostly high. April-Aug would be best time to visit. We loved it, especially the boys but being here when the whale sharks would be another level again. Coral Bay is another popular area to visit on this coastal section. Blog, click here
  • Kalbarri National Park – (Kalbarri) 27.7847°S 114.246°E (late-Nov/early-Dec, 2015)
    • In wildflower season (July-Oct) apparently there are few better. We came through at the end of the season however the obvious beauty of the park can be still seen, but not at it’s peak. If you’re driving past, do call in for a couple of days. Click here for images and blog.
  • *Abrolhos Islands – (Geraldton) 28°43′S 113°47′E  (Early Dec, 2015)
    • If you wish to experience what it must be like to be Sir David Attenborough for a day, head out to the Abrolhos Islands 60kms off Geraldton. If you are a budding outdoor photographer or into birds, get yourself out there. But be warned, the winds on these islands at certain times of the year are often fierce. Click here for images and blog of our two days on these unique islands.
  • *Leseuer National Park – (Jurien Bay) 30.1344°S 115.101°E  (Mid-Dec, 2015)
    • Perhaps the loveliest flora-ubundant park (outside a botanical garden) I have possibly ever visited, period. It’s small in size for a NP, but it’s just stunning! As with a lot of the NP’s in WA we have visited on our journey so far, we were there at the wrong time of the year but the wildflower seasonal evidence was rather extreme by comparison. Probably the most surprising NP we have encountered on the trip so far.
  • *Nambung National Park (Cervantes) – 30.576111111111°S 115.17°E (Mid-Dec, 2015)
    • The infamous Pinnacles. I remember a few years back the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly skipping nude around the Pinnacles on one of his explore Aust TV series and I could not be rid of this unfortunate scene from my mind during our visit. Damn you Connolly! But seriously, the NP is quite different and unique to all others we’ve come across with it’s strange eroded formed rock spires jutting out of sand dunes that you can even drive a 4km circuit amongst them. Well worth the effort …but early morning or dusk would be best from a photographic perspective to catch the true colours and shadows these formations can provide when the sun is at it’s lowest in the sky.

South-West Western Australia

  • *Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park (Margaret River / Augusta area) – 34.2386°S 115.047°E (mid-late Dec 2015)
    • A lovely narrow coastal NP with many facets. Large Karri forests on one side and regular big ocean swells on a rugged coastline on the other. Margaret River is right there as well and can be great for photography or simply exploring the area.
  • Gloucester National Park (Pemberton) – 34.4444°S 116.059°E (Dec/Jan 2016)
    • The main attraction is the Gloucester Tree, which if you’re game, you can climb 61 metres up it’s main trunk to a look out crows nest. Although we did not go to the popular tourist tree, we chose to do some casual 4WD’ing skirting around the parks lower boundaries which have many old growth Karri forests. They are always beautiful and a much better option to visit if it’s blowing on the coast which it does often in the part of the south-west.
  • Walpole-Nornalup National Park (Walpole) – 34.9833°S 116.767°E (Early Jan 2016)
    • Another series of Karri and Tingle (type of eucalyptus) forests many of which have very well (and costly) designed/installed walking ramps and wheel chair accessable too – some of which are the best we’ve seen anywhere.
  • Mount Frankland National Park (Walpole) – 34.7664°S 116.743°E (early Jan 2016)
    • Similar to Gloucester and Walpole however proximity of access to the NP’s main lookouts are a little easier. Good if you don’t have much time but still wish to experience (& smell) the Karri forests of the region. For fauna enthusiasts, plenty of birds to watch, marvel and photograph – well worth the effort. Blog and other images coming shortly.
  • D’Entrecasteaux National Park (Windy Harbour) – 34.7469°S 116.115°E (Early Jan, 2016)
    • The NP combines pristine beaches with large granite and sandstone boulders along a mostly rugged coastline. The seas can be large and waters frigid as these waters face Antartica, so pick the right time to enjoy properly and the general local consensus is Autumn and Spring. Blog and other images coming shortly.
  • *William Bay National Park (Denmark)- 35.02638889°S 117.235°E (mid Jan, 2016)
    • A spectacular piece of coastline with two equally spectacular places to swim with the Green Pools and Elephant Rock. We enjoyed a few hours here (with many others I might add). A very popular place in Summer holiday time and for tourists to also visit and access is good. The seas can be large around Green pools and waters frigid as they do face Antartica; so pick the right time to enjoy properly and the general local consensus is Autumn and Spring. We struck it on another blowy and hot day and our boys could not last very long in it’s teeth-chattering waters but still had a lot of fun jumping in the water from the many boulders. 🙂 More photo’s coming in next blog!
  • Torndirrup National Park (Albany) – 35.0903°S 117.891°E (Mid Jan, 2016)
    • 15 minutes from Albany town centre. Takes in the renowned Bibbulmun walking track in places as well as the famous Albany whaling museum which was excellent. The park itself is a lot like other in this region from a coastal perspective so don’t expect any dramatic changes until you get down Esperance way. Nonetheless, if you are in Albany for a couple of days, get to the whaling museum and the Anzac Memorial and fit in some of the NP coastal lookouts which are just on the outskirts of town (like Nature’s Bridge in the photo) if you have time. in fact, you drive past the turn off for this photo going out to the whaling museum.
  • *Fitzgerald River National Park (Bremer Bay / Hopetoun) – 33.9475°S 119.615°E  (mid Jan 2016)
    • Great NP. We spent a whole day exploring this park as much as we could from it’s remote access roads which keep visitor numbers down. We had to bail late afternoon due to thunder & lightening which just made the park more surreal. We saw only three other cars the whole day – not bad for the middle of the summer holidays. So far in the south-west region of WA, the Fitzgerald River NP has been our clear favourite as it’s a much larger version of Leseuer NP with a large coastal frontage. Many unique species of flora and fauna are found only here, popular with southern right whales calving and we even got to see up close a flock of the highly endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo. The parks facilities out at Anne Point were unlike we have seen at any NP in any state. The WA parks and wildlife dept have done a fabulous job managing this park. Overall, the NP is a must see if in the area however, it is large, roads are rough, so allow for plenty of time to fully explore – a couple of days at least.
  • Stirling Range National Park 
    • Blog and other images coming shortly.

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