Australia is a huge country, filled with stunning nature, exotic wildlife and an incredibly interesting culture. It’s a country that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. However, unless you are planning to have a long-term stay there, seeing everything that Australia has to offer is simply not possible. Therefore, when preparing your trip to discover Australia, it is important to plan what exactly you want to see the most while you’re there. You may want to start with the local national parks, as there are so many to choose from – here are 5 of our favorites.

1) Kakadu National Park

Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia – and when we say the largest, we mean it’s around half the size of Switzerland. It is located in Northern Australia and it’s known for being home to Aboriginal people for the last 50,000 years.

Kakadu is a stunning national park full of lush rainforest greenery, powerful waterfalls, breathtaking landscapes and exotic animals, including crocodiles. With Kakadu National Park being so large, on its own it requires some planning too. Ideally, try to fit in the Barramundi Gorge, Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls, Nadab Lookout and the rock art sites.

2) Daintree National Park

Located in the north of Queensland, Daintree is another absolutely beautiful rainforest national park, which is also the oldest in the world. The flora and fauna in the Daintree National Park is completely out-of-this-world and cannot be found in many other places in the world. It comes as no surprise then that it is also listed as one of the World Heritage sites. Make sure to visit the Daintree River, Daintree Village, Mossman River and the Cape Tribulation while you’re there.

3) Freycinet National Park

The Freycinet National Park is one of the most paradise-on-earth types of locations you will ever step in. Located on the Tasmanian coastline, the national park has a wide range of landscapes and sights to offer. This includes the magical beaches of Honeymoon Bay and Coles Bay, the Moulting Lagoon, the Great Oyster Bay and the Wineglass Bay. The Freycinet National Park has great opportunities for bird-watching while dipping into the bright blue waters and enjoying the pink-hued granite mountain peaks.

4) Purnululu National Park

Purnululu National Park is around 350 million-years-old and it’s historically known as a secret location. Today, however, it is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning natural landscapes and cultural significance. Purnululu is another park owned by the local Aboriginal people, which is why the unique karst sandstone formation there is called Bungle Bungle Range, meaning “sandstone” in aboriginal language.

Before visiting the Purnululu National Park, keep in mind that it’s not quite as easily accessible as some of the other ones. While it is a great location for hiking, you will have to get a 4WD vehicle to get to the trails. You also need to bring your own food and essentials, as there are no restaurants or shops there.

5) Great Sandy National Park

Last but not least, the Great Sandy National Park in Queensland is another breathtaking location to visit, home to a wide range of picture-perfect sights and unique wildlife. Any type of natural attraction you can think of, it will be there – this includes beaches, lakes, creeks, rainforests, dunes, everglades, cliffs, waterfalls and a river.

The Great Sandy National Park is also known for a vast selection of activities available upon your visit. You may enjoy hiking, camping or 4WD bikes as your mode of exploring. You can also get adventurous with some water sports, including snorkelling, surfing, fishing and canoeing.