The Best National Parks in Western Australia
Western Australia is the largest state by land area in the country, with an extensive coastline and vast landscapes to explore. It’s arguably the most diverse region in Australia, and every different climate and species of flora or fauna imaginable can be found somewhere within the state boundaries. From arid outback deserts and rugged coastal cliffs, to white sand beaches and impenetrable forests, Western Australia really does have everything.
And with such an array of scenery, the state boasts a huge number of National Parks to protect it all, so many that it would be impossible to visit each one in just a single trip. Unless you have a few years to spare. With huge distances between parks, and with each offering its own compelling attractions to visitors, it can be difficult narrowing down which ones to actually see. So to help you out and to inspire your travels in Western Australia, we compiled this list of our favourite National Parks to visit in WA.
The Whitest Sand in the World - Cape Le Grand National Park
Cape Le Grand National Park is home to some of the whitest beaches in the world. Found 400 miles from Perth near the south eastern city of Esperance, the sand here is pristine and spotless. Cape Le Grand is renowned for its bays and beaches, the most famous of them being Lucky Bay, where a resident population of over friendly kangaroos are happy to join travellers on the white sand for photographs.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks - William Bay National Park
William Bay National Park near the small, picturesque town of Denmark on the south coast of WA is one of the most colourful and clear coastal areas in the state. This is where Greens Pool is found, where a white sand beach meets with turquoise water to a backdrop of smooth granite formations known as the Elephant Rocks. It’s utterly captivating scenery.
The Valley of the Giants - Walpole-Nornalup National Park
South of Perth near Walpole is a vast area of towering trees, known officially as the Walpole Nornalup National Park, but more evocatively as The Valley of the Giants. This huge forest is the site of the staggeringly tall Karri Tree, which can reach lofty heights of up to 90 metres. The Valley of the Giants is a tree top walkway which takes you through the canopy of this spectacular forest.
Powerful Ocean and Natural Bridges - Torndirrup National Park
While much of Western Australia’s southern coastline is known for its beauty, white sands and colourful water, Torndirrup National Park near the city of Albany is better known for its surging currents and rugged coastline. It’s beautiful in a wild sort of way, and here you can experience the full force of the ocean at natural attractions such as The Gap, where a huge break in the cliffs traps powerful swells and over millennia has formed a natural, stone arch over the water.
Mountains and Snow - Stirling Range National Park
The Stirling Range is a series of impenetrable looking mountains in the Great Southern Region. Australia isn’t exactly known for its hills or mountain ranges, but those that say that have never visited Stirling Range National Park. The mountains here stretch far towards the horizon, and days can be spent walking the trails and hiking to the summits. The best of the peaks to tackle is Bluff Knoll, which at 1099 metres tall, is one of the tallest mountains in Western Australia, and the only point in the state to ever experience snowfall in winter.
The Granite Skywalk - Porongurup National Park
The Porongurups are a rocky range found just inland of the south coast. The huge granite boulders have been polished and weathered over time to produce a staggering array of rocks and hills like no other. There are giant, seemingly precarious balancing rocks and huge, spherical rocks layered upon each other as if placed there by giants. The Granite Skywalk in the national park takes visitors along the top of these distinctive rocks for superb views over the area.
The Largest Rock in the World - Mount Augustus National Park
Way out in the middle of nowhere is Mount Augustus, the largest rock in the world. Mount Augustus National Park is hundreds of miles into the outback of Western Australia, but the long drive along rough roads to reach this remote place is worth it to see this monstrous natural structure. It’s larger than Uluru, but few travellers make it here, meaning that a hike to the summit will leave you with endless views over red earth and a very Western Australian feeling of isolation.
The Reef Meets the Range - Cape Range National Park
Cape Range sells itself to travellers as the place where the ‘Reef meets the Range’, because it’s here on this remote peninsular in the north west of the state where the Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef, can be explored alongside the rugged and remote canyons of Cape Range National Park. Spend the morning snorkelling colourful coral and looking for whale sharks, then spend the afternoon hiking the arid hills and dry creeks of Cape Range. It’s a contrast like no other.
Karijini National Park
Karijini is many travellers' favourite national park in Western Australia and for very good reasons. This huge area of desert is punctuated with beautiful, long gorges, that in an otherwise arid landscape are teeming with wildlife, waterfalls and natural swimming pools. There’s excellent hiking, swimming and mountains of exploring to be done at Karijini.
Purnululu National Park
Purnululu has enough natural beauty to be protected not just as a national park, but as a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. In the north east of the state, way up in the Kimberley Region, Purnululu is known for the strange Bungle Bungles found here. The Bungle Bungles are a distinct range of mountains, shaped, some say, like striped bee hives. It’s a bizarre, yet strangely beautiful place.
Karlamilyi National Park
Karlamilyi is the largest national park in Western Australia, and the second largest in the entire country. This is as wild and remote as it gets anywhere in the world, and the park covers a vast area of untouched wilderness and outback stretching for over 12,000 square kilometres in the far north. A trip here isn’t for everyone though. There are few supplies, a four by four is essential and if you get stranded, there’s no help on the way. A trip to Karlamilyi National Park is a trip into the real Australian outback.