Each state and territory has its own protected area management authority; departmental names vary from state to state, but Australians tend to generically dub them the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The thousand-odd national parks range from suburban commons to the Great Barrier Reef, and from popular hiking areas within striking distance of the cities to wilderness regions that require days in a 4WD simply to reach. They protect everything within their boundaries: flora, fauna and landforms as well as Aboriginal art and sacred sites, although not always to the exclusion of mineral exploitation in WA or the Northern Territory.

Entry and camping fees are variable. Some parks or states have no fees at all, some charge entry fees but often don’t police the system, some charge for use of camping facilities, while others require permits – free or for a small fee – obtained in advance. Each state offers a pass – which makes it cheaper if you want to visit many national parks and for longer periods – but no national pass is available. If you’re camping you can usually pay on site, but booking ahead might be a good idea during the Christmas, Easter and school holidays.

Some parks have cabin accommodation, either self-catering or bunk-style with a camp kitchen, but nearby resorts or alternative accommodation are always independently run. For details on the names and vagaries of each state or territory’s system, consult the websites listed here.

Australian Dept of Wildlife environment.gov.au

New South Wales & ACT environment.nsw.gov.au/nationalparks

Northern Territory nt.gov.au/ipe/pwcnt

Queensland npsr.qld.gov.au

South Australia environment.sa.gov.au/parks

Tasmania parks.tas.gov.au

Victoria parkweb.vic.gov.au

Western Australia dpaw.wa.gov.au


Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

Sun-soaked and healthy? Perhaps. A decent gateway to Western Australia? Definitely. But a cool place to spend a few days? Until recently Perth just couldn’t …

27 Apr 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
12 tips for backpacking Australia

12 tips for backpacking Australia

Backpacking Australia will almost certainly exceed your expectations. It’s not just that the places you’ll see will be more stunning than you had imagine…

09 Mar 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right