Australian Travel · National Parks · Northern Territory · Reader Interaction · South Australia

our top 5 Aussie national parks

These are 5 of our top national parks from our travels so far. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Australia and most of these can be found in our national parks. We have so many favourites however here are 5 of our top spots. We love these places so much we have visited multiple times and will return again for sure.

  1. Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

What’s not to love? Stunning mountain ranges, rich Australian history, four-wheel driving and beautifully rewarding bushwalks with breath-taking visitas. Check out some of our posts on the Flinders HERE & HERE.

Our favs from the Flinders:

  • Bush camping at Rawnsley Station and dining at their Woolshed Restaurant.
  • Wilpena Pound; our favourite walks were Hills Homestead, Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge. The Hills Homestead is quite a leisurely stroll while Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge are more strenuous the views are well worth the effort.
  • The historical Nuccaleena Mine. The drive out is spectacular and the ruins are in fantastic condition.

2. Kakadu National Park, NT

Kakadu is amazing. It has a diverse and natural beauty which is hard to beat.  The national park is situated in close proximity to Darwin making it easily accessible for every traveler. Check out our post from Kakadu HERE.

Our favs from Kakadu:

  • cruise Yellow Water wetlands – both at sunrise and sunset
  • visit Twin Falls by four-wheel drive and boat
  • swim in the pools on top of Maguk (Barramundi) Gorge
  • view the rock art at Ubirr Rock and climb to the top for spectacular views from the lookout
  • camping at Cooinda Lodge is excellent with wonderful facilities and central location

3. Simpson Desert National Park, SA

Oh my! The Simpson is spectacular. The parallel sand-dunes go on forever and we never got sick of the beautiful red sand. Every time the Colorado would crest a sand-dune it took our breath away. It is a natural Australian wonder. Check out our post on the Simmo HERE.

What to experience in the Simmo:

  • remote travel at it’s finest
  • wildflowers, glorious wildflowers
  • slimbing to the top of Big Red
  • the wonders of Eyre Creek
  • bush camping at its absolute best
  • star gazing – the most spectacular skies we have ever seen
  • take in the view from Knoll’s Lookout
  • cross wide, stunning claypans
  • stand where QLD, SA and NT meet at Poeppel Corner
  • while technically not the Simpson National park make sure you stop in at both Purnie Bore and Dalhousie Springs both oasis’ in the desert, brimming with birdlife.

4. Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park

The region surround Alice Springs in one of favourites in the country. It’s smack bang in the Red Centre and capital of the Australia Outback. The West Macs as they are affectionately known lay to the West of Alice Springs (funny that). The stunning mountain range has numerous gorges that have been carved over millions of years. The red of the rock, the blue of the sky and the green of the vegetation is nothing short of beautiful.

Our favs from the West Macs:

  • our favourite place to camp was at Redbank Gorge
  • a refreshing dip in Ellery Creek Big Hole
  • the stunning landscape at Ormiston Gorge
  • the aboriginal culture of the Orche Pits
  • Simpsons Gap is closest to Alice with stunning gorge walls and lots of rock wallabies.
  • for history buffs like us the West Macs also home to the memorial grave of Rev John Flynn of flying doctors fame


5. Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, NT

What says Australia better than our red heart? Uluru is iconic and recognised internationally as an Australian icon. It is truly a spiritual experience to visit and explore this region. While the town Yulara has become quite touristy due to the amount of tourists that flock to the rock each year, the National Park itself is relatively untouched. Check out our past posts HERE & HERE.

Our favs from Uluru & Kata-Tjuta:

  • sunrise and sunset at Uluru and the Olgas – the colours are ever changing
  • the Valley of the Winds walk through the Olga- OMG! One of the best walks in Australia – Amazing.
  • walking the base of Ulura – 13 km of ever changing beauty
  • the shorter guided base walk is also not to be missed. Its free and so informative. We’ve done it twice now.
  • the Cultural Centre is a great place to start you Uluru Adventure
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Australian Travel · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · Travel Photography

Waterfalls to Wetlands – Gagudju Dreaming

Four nights we spent at Cooinda in Kakadu National Park but even that is not enough time to explore all that Kakadu has to offer. It seriously is one of the most beautiful places on Earth barely touched by outside influence or humans.

On arrival into the National Park we stopped at the Mary River Roadhouse to purchase our parks pass. $25 per person for 14 days – quite reasonable considering it is basically your ticket to such a beautiful place. While we were organising our passes the Aboriginal Guide told us of this place off the track about 6kms down the road called, The Rockhole. He said it is definitely worth a look and that there are no crocs so it is nice for a swim. He was right! It was a beautiful introduction to what Kakadu had to offer. I went into the water up to my knees but I wasn’t too sure about the no crocs thing. So I got out rather quickly. It was beautiful though. We stopped a little further on at a lookout called, Bukbukluk with amazing views over Kakadu floodplains and monsoon forests. The third stop for that day was Maguk. It was a beautiful walk along a creek bed that turned into cascades and rock pools at the end of the walk you scramble over a small wall of rocks and there you find a beautiful waterfall. It was a magical spot. Too bad for crocs the water looked awfully inviting. We had our first fresh Top End Mango to recoup after our walk in the humid, dense heat.

Kakadu National Park - The Rockhole
Kakadu National Park - Maguk
Our first Top End Mango - Delish

We decided instead of moving all around the park, each night setting up a new camp we would base ourselves a Cooinda Resort. It was a fantastic idea as it was one of the best caravan parks we have come across in our travels.

Our campsite at Cooinda
Part of resort pool Cooinda

The next day we had a full day off-road adventure planned. A trip to Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls. The roads were in fairly good condition heaps of corrugations in places and as you got closer to the Falls it was sandy. We had a water crossing over Jim Jim Creek it was .7m. It is a paved/stone bottom which makes it quite an easy crossing.

Jim Jim Creek Crossing

When we arrived at Twin Falls we found out that we had to take a shuttle boat up the gorge. They used to swim the distance but due to crocodile numbers in recent year they no longer having swimming in most of the park. Our shuttle boat guide was an Aboriginal man named Dallas. As it was just Shaun and I on the boat and in the whole gorge Dallas spent a lot of time explaining about culture, the seasons, crocodiles and how their water systems work in Kakadu. It was amazing experience. He then dropped us off and headed back to base and then it was just Shaun and I. We scrambled through rocks over cascades of crystal clear water and then we were there. The base of Twin Falls as they flowed over the Arnhem Escarpment into a crystal plunge pool.

Croc Safety
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Croc Trap
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Gorge
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls Cascades
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls
Kakadu National Park - Twin Falls

From Twin Falls we headed onto Jim Jim Falls. The Falls are dormant during the dry season however because they have had 5 inches of rain so far this season they were flowing. Now because the plunge pool is so high up and surrounded by high rock the crocs are mostly unable to get in so we were able to swim at the base of the falls. It was BEAUTIFUL and after the 30min rock climb in the heat of the day it was well deserved.

Kakadu National Park - Jim Jim Falls
Kakadu National Park - Shaun having a dip in the plunge pool at Jim Jim Falls

For our third day at Kakadu we arose early for our Sunrise Cruise at Yellow Waters. They had a deal where we could cruise again for a discounted price so we took advantage of it and followed up our Sunrise Cruise with a Sunset Cruise. Here is some photos of both cruises in no particular order:

Yellow Waters
Yellow Waters
Yellow Waters
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises
Yellow Waters - Crocodile Saltie
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruise Breakfast Included - Yes Shaun ate breakfast!!
Yellow Waters - Crocodile Saltie
Kakadu National Park - Yellow Water Cruises

The cruises were amazing. I know I have said this already but KAKADU IS SUCH NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL PLACE. You have to visit it to see the beauty for yourself.

The next day we visited Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr to see the Rock Art Sites. It is fantastic the way they are preserving the Art – for those who say Australia has no history, you are very wrong we have an extensive history. Some of the art work we saw dated back 5000 years other 20,000 years. Now Ubirr is in North Kakadu right on the border into Arnhem Land and at the top of all the rock shelters and rocky outcrop is a beautiful view across the flood plains.

Burnout Woodlands
Kakadu Rock Art
Kakadu Rock Art
Lookout from Ubirr - Kakadu
Lookout from Ubirr - Kakadu

While we were near the border to Arnhem Land (which we are coming back at a later date to explore) we checked out the tidal river crossing named Cahill’s Crossing that links Arnhem Land with Kakadu and the rest of the world. We were there at low tide as at high tide you cannot cross.

East Alligator River - Border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land
East Alligator River Crossing - Border of Kakadu and Arnhem Land

All in all there is so much to see in Kakadu. When we go back we will stay for a full week or maybe a bit longer. There are heaps of walks that we missed out on due to them being closed from heat etc.

We are now living it up in Darwin, kicking back and relaxing in our apartment overlooking the waterfront.

Will keep you updated on our adventures. Please feel free to leave comments or send e-mails with feedback or questions. We love hearing from you all.

Bye for Now.