However it’s hard to argue against the following 10 National Parks being included on this list of the top 10 national parks around the world:
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Khao Yai National Park is an easily accessible 95 miles from Bangkok and has proved to be a popular attraction since it was declared the country’s first national park in 1962. Situated in the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range, it’s highly regarded by trekkers, both young and energetic and the slower, more thoughtful hiker. There are several trails from which to choose, all of them offering a great variety of birds, flowers and streams. Four great cascading waterfalls perhaps separate Khao Yai from other national parks. If the Haeo Suwat Falls look slightly familiar, it’s because they co-starred in the 2000 film ‘The Beach’.
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand and is centrally situated on the North Island, some 330 kilometres south of Auckland and 320 kilometres north of Wellington. It is a venue that can be visited all year round, offering climbing and hiking in the summer or the winter pursuits of snowboarding and skiing. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, there’s also horse riding, rafting, mountain biking, hunting or game fishing to keep you interested. Much of the North Island Volcano Plateau is situated within the boundaries of the park, with many of its mountain summits of deep spiritual meaning to the Maori. The sunrise over Tongariro will have you reaching for your camera, mobile or camcorder as the beauty and wonder starts all over again.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa’s Kruger National Park is not so much a national park but more a full scale game reserve and one of the largest on the continent. The Kruger is situated in to the north of the country straddling the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, which used to be known as the Northern and Eastern Transvaal respectively. Phalaborwa is the nearest town and the gateway to that ‘once in a lifetime experience’. Within the park you’ll be able to see lions, cape buffalo, leopards, rhinoceroses and of course the ‘daddy’ of them all, the African Elephant, of which there nearly 12,000 on the reserve. Throw in the odd hippo, crocodile, giraffe and cheetah as well as the extensive bird, plant and vegetation life and the Kruger National Park makes for the perfect holiday destination for those wanting to go on safari.
Swiss National Park, Switzerland
The Swiss National Park is located in the canton of Graubünden, to the east of the country. All the three national languages of German, French and Italian are widely spoken here as well as the ancient Romansch language. This is truly the centre of Europe. Make use of the visitor centre in the nearby village of Zernez, which will help make your journey into this alpine wonderland more complete. Follow the road through the Park, over the Ofen Pass and into Italy’s South Tyrol, or take a trail across an alpine meadow, disappear into the forest and re-emerge to an unbridled vista of rock, mountain and lake. This is the only park of its kind in Switzerland and certainly is a national treasure.
Kakadu National Park, Australia
Some 170 kilometres south of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territories is the Kakadu National Park. To give you an idea of its size, it’s as big as Slovenia and if that is not enough, it’s located within the Alligator Rivers region. It’s big and it’s bold but it’s much more besides. It is an important centre for Uranium mining as well as having a history in small-scale gold mining dating back to the 1920s. It is purported that aboriginal people have lived in the Kakuda area for over 40,000 years and consequently, the park is rich in native culture, with Rock art sites especially common. Its varied landscapes and diverse array of birds, mammals and reptiles make Kakadu one of the world’s great national parks.
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Take a journey through time and uncover the mystery that is the Tikal National Park, the true national preserve of Guatemala in Central America. It’s a one hour bus trip from Mundo Maya International Airport before you can embrace a relentless landscape that was once sacred to the ancient Mayan civilisation. Enter a lost world of causeways and temples, of ruins and of deep green forestation. Take a trip around the ‘Bat Palace’, a two storey edifice of vaults and connected rooms. As a museum and information point, the Tikal Visitor Centre will help fill in these wondrous blank pages of ancient history.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
The Yellowstone National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the idyllic North West of the United States. It is the oldest National Park in the world, given the nod by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 and stretches into three States, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It is flush with mountain ranges, canyons, rivers and lakes, as well as hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish. It’s great for hiking, boating, fishing and camping, or just for good old-fashioned sightseeing. Watching a herd of bison thunder across the plain could make any trip all the more memorable. If they do things big in America, Yellowstone is a giant.
Lake District National Park, England
Attune to the spirits of Wordsworth, Coleridge and the other great poets who drew inspiration from the rolling beauty that is the Lake District. The Lake District National Park was set up in 1951 to ward off intrusion from commerce and industry and thus to protect this stunning landscape. Some of the highest mountains in England lie within the Park boundary. Follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright, a British fellwalker who produced the definitive ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’. Wander around amongst lakes and mountains or unspoilt woodland. You may even get to see the rare red squirrel in its natural habitat.
Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
If you want to reach for the stars, then head for the Sagarmartha National Park in Nepal. Set in the Himalayas, the park includes Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, as well as other dramatic mountains, deep elongated valleys and shimmering glaciers. It is also home to several rare species, such as the lesser panda and the majestic snow leopard, as well as being an area of deep religious and spiritual significance to the Nepalese people. Over 2,500 Sherpas live in the park. Primarily Tibetan Buddhists, they preserve their unique culture and ancient ways with several working monasteries situated around the park. Once such is in the village of Tengboche, birthplace of Tenzing Norgay, who accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Everest.
Banff National Park, Canada
As an intrepid visitor, who could possibly resist the Valley of the Ten Peaks? Well you’ll find them in Banff National Park, high up in the Rocky Mountains. The Park, established in 1885, is some 150 kilometres west of Calgary, in the province of Alberta. It’s a glorious combination of unforgiving terrain, ice fields and glaciers and dense forest. There are grizzly and black bears in the forested areas as well as other predatory mammals such as cougars and wolves. If you are a little nervous, you may prefer to remain in the valleys where elk, moose and deer stroll around. Don’t leave without visiting the Mountain Resort of Lake Louise, a delightful hamlet hugging the lake shoreline and to excuse the cliché, a real breath of fresh air.
Written and researched by TravelSupermarket.com