More than just scenic places, national parks are a country’s common ground.
Our national parks have gradually taken on the high purpose of preserving nature’s diversity - native fauna and flora, ecological processes, free-flowing waters, geology in its raw eloquence.
They teach us as well as delight us. They help us imagine what the Australian landscape and its resident creatures looked like before railroads, automobiles and hotels existed.
They help us imagine. They carry a glimpse of the past into the present and - if our resolve holds and our better wisdom prevails - they will carry that into the future.
Today, National Geographic takes a look at some of Australia’s most breath-taking – and most important – national parks.
News South Wales: Royal National Park
This heritage-listed area was Australia’s first national park and the world’s second national park, after Yellowstone National Park in the United States.
Victoria: Mt Eccles National Park
Mount Eccles (Budj Bim) is a long dormant volcano that last erupted around 6,500 years ago. The area is central to the history of the Gunditjmara people who co-manage the park with Parks Victoria.
Queensland: Fraser Island
The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island has an array of unique features including dune lakes, rainforests and freshwater lakes.
South Australia: Flinders Ranges National Park
Flinders Ranges National Park is home to unique remains including Aboriginal rock art, ruins of early Europeans settlement and ancient fossils.
Western Australia: Purnululu National Park
This stunning park is home to the famous Bungle Bugle Range, large beehive-shaped landforms made by uplift and erosion over millions of years.
Tasmania: Maria Island National Park
With historic ruins, amazing wildlife and rugged mountains, Maria Island National Park has something for everyone.
Australian Capital Territory: Namadgi National Park
Spanning more than 100,000 hectares, this national park accounts for almost 50 percent of the ACT.
Northern Territory: Kakadu National Park
The largest national park in Australia, Kakadu covers close to 20,000 kilometres and contains an enormous amount of ecological diversity.