Australia is a ‘continental island nation’ surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The nation, which is also a subcontinent, covers an expansive land area estimated to total 2,969,907 square miles. Australia is endowed with endless geographical features such as alpine regions, forests, deserts, and offshore reefs. Due to the rich natural heritage, national parks, and protected areas have been established to preserve these naturally occurring resources. There are over 500 national parks in Australia which take up close to 4% of the nation’s land area.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is expansive and is in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the largest national park in Australia and covers an area of 7,646 square miles. The park has a diverse ecosystem. Some of the main features in the park are rivers, waterfalls, escarpments, monsoon forests, and sandstone hills. In addition to the physical features, over 2,000 plant and animal species are found in the park. Plant species in the park differ depending on the geographical area. Resurrection Grasses are found in the arid areas while water lilies are found on the flood plains. The park is a living cultural site due to its occupation by the Aboriginal community. Kakadu holds immense spiritual value for the Aboriginals who have been in the area for over 40,000 years. The park was listed as a world heritage site in 1992 due to its rich cultural and natural heritage. Kakadu National Park is protected by Kakadu board of management which has a majority representation of Aboriginals.
Kosciuszko National Park
Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales is the second largest park in Australia with an area of 2,664 square miles. The park is home to Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, and Australia’s highest town, Cabramurra. The park has an alpine climate and is part of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves. It is home to rare animal species, including the critically endangered Corroboree frog, mountain pygmy possum and the wild horse. The park’s vegetation is mainly comprised of alpine woodlands. Kosciuszko National Park is a popular destination for snow and water sports. Canoeing and swimming in the rivers and lakes are common, especially in the summer. Additionally, the park has four ski resorts. Kosciuszko National Park also houses part of ‘The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme,' the largest engineering project in Australia.
Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park
Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park is a park in the Northern Territory of Australia. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The park covers an area of 515 square miles. It is home to the world-famous sandstone monolith known as Uluru. Uluru stands at 348 meters above the ground and has a circumference of 9.4 kilometers. The park traditionally belonged to the Anangu Aboriginals who are actively involved in managing it. The park is mostly arid land with desert vegetation. Fires are common in the park, especially in the early summer months. The fires can cause huge damage to the ecosystem, such as the bush fires in 2002 and 2003. However, some plant and animal species have adapted to these desert fires.
Royal National Park
Royal National Park was the first national park to be formed in Australia and the second National Park in the world. It was established on April 26, 1879. The park took its "Royal" name after Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1954 to honor the British Royal Family. It covers an area of 58 square miles. The park has a broad range of terrain that includes coastal cliffs, high plateaus, river valleys and beaches. Tourists visit the park for its secluded beaches, camping grounds, biking trails, bird watching, and many more exciting options. The park was added to Australia’s natural heritage list in 2006.
Significance of Australia's National Parks
Australia has a true wealth of national parks. The parks provide habitats for endangered plant and animal species. They also host some of the great geological wonders of the world. Some of the parks are of historical importance to Australians. The Australian states and territories manage the national parks. They protect the natural resources from destruction by human activity.
|Notable National Parks Of Australia||Area (Square Miles)|
|Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair||623|