Western Australia’s Outback is an odd, spectacular, and downright fascinating place. Unsurprisingly, many of the lesser-known national parks will expand your perception of Australia’s biggest state.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Western Australia; it’s a big place – over 2.6 million km2. You can be forgiven for not being across all of the state’s national parks, as there are plenty of ’em. Some receive the limelight more than others, such as Cape Le Grand National Park with its beach-bound kangaroos, Nambung National Park with its lunar-esque landscapes, and Purnululu National Park with its massive honeycomb-like dome formations.

Here we reveal the Western Australian national parks worth the road trip.


4 WA National Parks you should put on your radar, Julia D'Orazio, Image Credit Tourism WA, Charles Knife Gorge, View, Cape Range National Park

Aerial view of Charles Knife Gorge, Cape Range National Park

1. Dryandra Woodland National Park

Distance from Perth: 180km south-east
Location: Wheatbelt
Price: Dryandra Woodland National Park – free
Barna Mia Nocturnal Wildlife Experience – $22 per adult, $11 per child, $16 concession
Essential Gear: Hiking shoes


4 WA National Parks you should put on your radar, Julia D'Orazio, Image Credit Tourism WA, hiking trail, dry dirt, trees, woodland, Dryandra National Park

Dryandra Woodland, near Narrogin


Calling all bushwalkers – Dryandra Woodland National Park is the place for you. One of WA’s newest national parks is also the first in the Wheatbelt region. Despite being in what is dubbed ‘Australia’s Golden Outback’, this park is far from all yellow.

The 17,870-hectare woodland features eucalypt trees including paperbark varieties and the tall white-barked wandoo. Under its canopy are over 850 floral and 25 mammal species, including a healthy Numbat population. Other paw prints in the park include those of Tammar wallabies, echidnas, brushtail possums, Tawny Frogmouths, and the nation’s favourite hopper – kangaroos.

Want to make sure you catch a glimpse of the park’s cutest residents? Dryandra Woodland National Park is also home to Barna Mia – a sanctuary protecting some of WA’s most endangered native marsupials. Walk under the moonlight by joining the sanctuary’s nocturnal wildlife experience to see native animals including the Greater bilby, Woylie, Mala, and Quenda.

The park also has numerous walking trails, ranging from 1km to 12.5km. Alternatively, sit comfortably on the 22km scenic Darwinia Drive Trail, which includes interpretive information along the way and can be accessed by 2WD.

Nearby campgrounds, Congelin and Gnaala Mia, are suitable for tents, camper trailers, and caravans. If you’re keen for a proper bed, call it a night at Lions Dryandra Woodland Village in hut accommodation under towering trees.

Read more: Western Australia Has Gained a New National Park!

2. Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park

Distance from Perth: 419km north (60km off the Geraldton coast)
Location: Coral Coast
Price: Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park – Free
Shine Aviation tour – $410 per adult, $335 per child (2 – 12)
Essential Gear: Bathers, snorkelling equipment


4 WA National Parks you should put on your radar, Julia D'Orazio, Image Credit Tourism WA, Albrolhos Island, Coral Coast, Seal, seal portrait,

Seal swimming off the Abrolhos Islands / Photo thanks to Tourism Australia


Visiting the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park is like finding treasure and opening Pandora’s box. Declared a national park in 2019, the islands were first discovered in 1619 by explorer Fredick de Houtman. The name ‘Houtman Abrolhos’ is believed to have originated from the Portuguese expression abri vossosolhos, meaning ‘open your eyes’.

That saying couldn’t be truer; the far-flung marine archipelago 60km off the coast of Geraldton is a stunning blue patchwork of reefs, 122 islands, and sea. The islands sprawl 100km from north to south and are divided into three groups: Easter, Pelsaret, and Wallabi. But when you look closer, you’ll find there’s more than one story hidden amongst the islands of Houtman Abrolhos National Park.

Some islands are populated with fishing settlements; however, most of the low-lying islands are raw and rugged, with coral gardens, abundant marine life, and seagrass meadows metres below the surface. And a few islands are the scene of an unfortunate chapter of Australia’s history.

In 1629, while making its maiden voyage to the Dutch colony Batavia – now Jakarta – the trade ship bearing the same name ran aground on low-lying coral at Morning Reef. Roughly 300 men, women, children, and soldiers were on board. But like something out of a pirate legend, the ship also carried a bounty – 12 treasure chests filled with silver coins and jewels.

Commander Francisco Pelsaert and Skipper Adrien Jacobz voyaged 1,500km in the rescue boat to Batavia to seek assistance. The third in command, Captain Cornelisz, was left in charge with greed taking over the need to survive, with Cornelisz leading a mutiny, and murdering approximately 125 people on Beacon Island.

Nearly 350 years later, the shipwreck was discovered by a local crayfisherman in 1963. The vessel was mostly intact with a few bronzed canons and anchors. Although ship remnants have since been moved to the WA Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle, you can still see where Batavia ran aground.

Visit the Houtman Abrolhos Islands on a ‘Fly and Flipper’ half-day scenic tour with Shine Aviation to visit East Walliabi Island. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the national park and see where this extraordinary story unfolded, including the four-centuries-old shipwreck damage on the reef.

History lesson aside, you can also appreciate the region’s biodiversity. East Walliabi Island is home to seabird breeding areas, Stokes’ Spiny-tailed skink, Australian sea lions, Painted Button-quail and the Dwarf bearded dragon. Tours include time for a snorkel at Turtle Bay, and a picnic under the lone wooden hut overlooking the shore.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

3. Cape Range National Park

Distance from Perth: 1,330km north
Location: Coral Coast
Price:  $15 per vehicle (up to 12 passengers)
$8 per vehicle concession
Essential Gear: Bathers, hiking shoes, snorkel gear, a cheeky sunset bevvy


4 WA National Parks you should put on your radar, Julia D'Orazio, Image Credit Tourism WA, Yardie Creek, Couple, people enjoying view, Cape Range National Park

Yardie Creek, Cape Range National Park


Cape Range National Park can best be described as where two worlds meet. It mixes ancient gorges with undersea splendour, located along the North West Cape in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, 40km north of Exmouth.

There’s much to see and do across the park’s 50,581 hectares. On land, there are over 630 wildflower species and wildlife to spot, including kangaroos, emus, Black-flanked wallabies, emus, and various birds. Explore Yardie Creek – a multi-hued gorge cutting deep into the red limestone of Cape Range – along the 2km Yardi Gorge walking trail or on a boat tour. Follow scenic drives to visit the canyons – Charles Knife and Shothole – on the eastern side.

The landscapes in the water are just as exciting. The park sits beside the world’s largest fringing reef, Ningaloo, with over 500 fish and 250 coral species. Enter a colourful universe at Turtle Bay, regarded as one of the state’s most beautiful beaches. It’s a top place to put on your mask, fins, and snorkel, and go turtle spotting!

Continue the spectacle by watching the sunset from Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. Join the collection of 4WDs parked up along the road to the iconic beacon, and witness a unique happy hour with crowds of people watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

As there’s a lot of ground – and coast – to cover, choose to call it a night in one of the ten campgrounds within the park.

Read more: Road Tripping WA’s Coral Coast from Desert to Reef

4. Fitzgerald River National Park

Distance from Perth: 522km south-east
Location: Fitzgerald Biosphere Coast
Price: $15 per vehicle (up to 12 passengers)
$8 vehicle concession
Essential Gear: Hiking shoes, binoculars


4 WA National Parks you should put on your radar, Julia D'Orazio, Image Credit Tourism WA, Quoin Head, Fitzgerald River National Park

Coastal scenery at Quoin Head, Fitzgerald River National Park


Wake up and smell the flowers at Fitzgerald River National Park. The botanical hot spot has received UNESCO status as a Biosphere Reserve, with the park home to over 1,800 unique flora species and 75 plant species found nowhere else in the world within its whopping 330,00 hectares. Birds love it here too, with over 200 species spotted flapping about the wild and rugged landscape.

Along the eastern edge of the park is East Mount Barren. The parking area provides some of the park’s best views, showcasing East Mount Barren’s quartzite peak (450m), the surrounding hilltops dubbed ‘The Barrens,’ and the landscape beyond.

It’s a popular spot to admire the diverse flora, thanks to the area’s mashup of geology and rocks. If you’re feeling up to it, embark on a challenging yet rewarding trail to the summit. If you’re lucky enough to score a clear day, it’s possible to see the peaks of the Barrens Range and some of the Doubtful Islands.

There are plenty of other walking trails within the park if you’re not keen on an incline. Stroll along the coast and admire the giant boulders – some looking like massive shards of glass scattered along the shore. Take advantage of the park’s bays and inlets, with plenty of kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and surfing opportunities.

Head along the Point Ann Heritage Trail to spot the Southern Right and Humpback whales migrating along the coast from one of the many lookouts during winter.

The park is bigger than some small countries, so linger around and make the most of it. Choose to camp at Saint Mary Inlet or Four Mile Campground. Camping fees apply at both spots.

Top tip: Visit the park in spring to see wildflowers in bloom, with bright pops of colour acting as natural confetti.

Western Australia’s national parks are as beautiful as they are varied, and there’s an enormous amount to discover in those that are less well known. Sometimes you just need a little nudge in right direction *nudge nudge* .

FAQs WA National Parks

What is Western Australia’s newest national park?

At the time of publishing, Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park is Western Australia’s newest national park, next to Lake Carnegie Nature Reserve. The park is bigger than Bali, covering 578,000 hectares.

What is the largest national park in Western Australia?

The largest national park in Western Australia is Karlamilyi National Park. The park is in the Pilbara region and offers 1.3 million hectares of pristine wilderness.

How many national parks are in WA?

There are 112 national parks in Western Australia alone! That’s a lot of nature to admire!

Do you need a national park pass for WA?

Yes! You need a Park Pass to visit national parks in Western Australia. You can purchase an annual pass for entry into all parks for a year or a holiday pass available in timeframes from five days to a month if you’re travelling. There are also concession and local park passes available.

All WA Park Passes can be purchased online through the WA Parks and Wildlife Service website.


Photos thanks to Tourism WA