Australia’s best national parks

Claudia Bouma — 12 June 2015

Over the past seven years my husband Chris and I, along with our four kids, have visited a fair few and we’d like to share the best of what Australia has to offer.

My absolute favourite would have to be the Flinders Ranges, a place of fascination and historical significance in the outback of South Australia. The area has been officially recognised as one of Australia’s first National Landscapes and it is not difficult to understand why: a series of rugged mountains, creeks lined with red river gums and an amazing history of pioneers who tried to run sheep and cattle in this harsh and unforgiving environment.

To visit the Central Flinders Ranges is to travel back in time and be reminded of a rich Australian heritage when people simply wouldn’t give up in the most extreme circumstances. This truly is a place of inspiration and it gets into your blood - you visit once and you have to go back to experience it again.

My husband Chris loves the Gulf country, especially the Savannah Way, which is an epic adventure through remote areas and follows in the footsteps of ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills. The trip through the Gulf Savannah will take you through river crossings, past endless savannah woodlands and into historic mining towns. It is a journey into Australia’s past, with stories about courageous explorers and persevering Australian bush men and women who made – and make – a living in these remote areas.

A must-see is the outback town of Normanton, home to the replica of Krys the Savannah King, claimed to be the largest recorded saltwater crocodile (8.63m) captured in the world. Krystina Pawlowski is the female croc hunter who shot the massive croc on MacArthur Bank along the Norman River in July 1957. However, the locals will tell you that today an even bigger croc frequents the waters of the Norman River.

The kids have many favourites but Bournda National Park tops their list. A beautiful camping destination along NSW’s spectacular Sapphire Coast, this stunning national park has everything a child could wish for. Picturesque Wallagoot Lake is only a hop and a skip from the spacious campground with a small beach that entertains for hours.

Bournda and Tura Beach are great spots to go for long walks, chase seagulls and start a collection of seashells. A short drive from the camping area, Turingal Head has amazing rock formations and is also home to the picturesque bay, which is shaped like a wineglass – hence the name Wineglass Bay. The Wallagoot Picnic Area is a great place in summer for families with kids as the lake is safe for swimming and the barbecues are free.  

There are many more places I could share with you but why don’t you pack the car and caravan and start making your own list of favourites? Your kids will love you for it.


national parks travel Flinders Ranges South Australia Savannah Way Gulf country Normanton Bournda crocs Sapphire Coast camping Wallagoot Picnic Area Tura Beach Wineglass Bay


Claudia Bouma