The landmarks in Australia range from architectural marvels recognizable on a global scale to natural wonders you need to see to believe. From tropical islands and outback miracles to soaring skyscrapers and historic open-air museums, you’ll want to add the following sites to your Australian bucket list.
Having lived in Australia my whole life these are the most famous Australian landmarks I’d recommend making time for on your Australia trip!
The 30 Famous Landmarks in Australia
Arguably the most famous landmark in Australia, man-made or otherwise, the Sydney Opera House is the jewel of the New South Wales capital. Recognizable by its white sails, the Opera House serves as a performing arts center and hosts all kinds of live performances—not just opera.
The Sydney Opera House sits on the south side of Sydney Harbour, on Bennelong Point. The area was named after an Indigenous Australian man who helped the first British settlers communicate with the native people.
Most visitors are content to take a photo of the outside of the architectural marvel, but you can also head inside if you have tickets for one of the live events, or for a tour of the venue.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge
The other world-famous landmark in Sydney Harbour is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which connects the CBD with the North Shore. Construction on the Sydney Harbour Bridge began in 1923, and it remains the world’s largest steel bridge today.
The bridge is more than just a pretty sight: it features a highway, four railway tracks, and two pedestrian walkways.
If it isn’t enough to take in the stupendous view of the bridge over the harbor, you can walk or cycle over the bridge, or even take a climbing tour and enjoy seriously unbeatable views of Sydney.
The sandstone monolith of Uluru captures the spirit of the Australian outback. Standing on the red soil of the Northern Territory, Uluru is one of the country’s most remote landmarks, with the nearest city of Alice Springs nearly 500 kilometers away.
Standing 348 meters high, Uluru is believed to be 550 million years old and is a place of deep spiritual significance for the local Indigenous Australian community. One of the best ways to experience Uluru is to take a guided walk with a Traditional Owner and hear the Dreamtime stories associated with the monolith.
Otherwise, you can simply walk around the base of Uluru yourself, take a camel tour, or enjoy dinner under the stars. For the best views, try to time your visit to coincide with sunrise or sunset.
The world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, is situated off the coast of Queensland. The network contains more than 3,000 reefs and coral cays and is home to an abundance of tropical marine life.
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it offers a home to species that are threatened with extinction, such as the large green turtle and the dugong.
The area is home to endless sights and attractions, from tropical islands with white sandy beaches to resorts and retreats. It’s a top destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, and for those who are less inclined to get wet, there are also plenty of boat tours and even helicopter flights.
Located along Australia’s famous Great Ocean Road, you’ll find the remarkable Twelve Apostles: seven limestone natural rock formations that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Initially, there were nine formations, however, two collapsed due to the rough waves in the area.
Drawing over 2 million visitors a year, the Twelve Apostles are believed to be more than 20 million years old.
To reach the Twelve Apostles, drive along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne for 4.5 hours. You can stop in Port Campbell, 10 minutes away from the rocks, where there are accommodation and dining outlets. At the Twelve Apostles, you’ll find a viewing platform and visitor center.
6. Bondi Beach
Ask almost anyone if they can name an Australian beach, and their answer will be Bondi. Easily the country’s most iconic beach, Bondi is a must-visit landmark in Sydney, especially if you’re visiting in summer. When you get there, you’ll see why.
Formed in a crescent shape, Bondi is home to surfers’ waves and stunning views of the blue ocean. For those who aren’t game to swim in the famous waters, there’s the less intimidating Icebergs ocean pool, which is open all year.
The beach is home to several pubs and relaxed cafes, along with the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. When you do visit, ensure to bring sun protection: the hottest day on record at Bondi was a whopping 117.4 degrees Fahrenheit in 2018.
Australia’s answer to the White House or 10 Downing Street is Canberra’s Parliament House. Home to the House of Representatives and the Senate, Parliament House is where Australia’s big decisions are made. It was officially opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1988.
Visitors to Parliament House will get to see some striking architecture, wander through the idyllic gardens, and learn about Australia’s flag and history.
There are also lots of art collections and exhibitions held at Parliament House, plus a gift shop and the family-friendly Queen’s Terrace Café.
Australia is home to several national parks, one of the most famous being Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Perfect for those who want to experience the Australian outback in all its glory, the park is home to walking trails, waterfalls, and rock art.
You can take a guided tour of the park or explore at your own pace. If you like to live dangerously, you can sign up for a croc-spotting tour. Otherwise, you can enjoy more simple pleasures, like birdwatching.
To stay safe in the park, only swim in designated areas to avoid estuarine crocodiles, and keep away from cliff edges. It’s also important to limit hiking to daylight hours only, as the park is home to venomous snakes that emerge at night.
9. Mall’s Balls
The Mall’s Balls in Rundle Mall are much less famous than many of the other landmarks on this list, but as a local Adelaidean, I had to include them in this list!
The steel sculpture sits in Adelaide’s premier Rundle Mall shopping strip and mostly serves as a meeting point for pedestrians.
Officially called The Spheres, the Mall’s Balls were donated to the City of Adelaide in 1977. There were plans to move them from their position in 2013, which led to pushback from locals and the artist himself, Bert Flugelman.
However, the Mall’s Balls remain in Rundle Mall today, and taking a photo with them is an Adelaidean rite of passage.
10. Sovereign Hill
Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum that will transport you back to the days of the Victorian Gold Rush. Located in the Ballarat suburb of Golden Point, the museum chronicles life in the mid-19th century after gold was discovered in the area.
Visitors can enjoy gold panning, cooking demonstrations, parades with period costumes, and even bowling at Sovereign Hill. There are also rotating art and photography exhibitions that pay tribute to the people and traditions of the Victorian Gold Rush.
In the second half of the 19th century, the nearby town of Bendigo produced the most gold on the planet, accumulating around $9 billion in today’s Australian currency.
If you’re a history fan, visiting the Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a must. Founded in 1941, the memorial pays tribute to all Australian armed forces members, along with those in supporting organizations, who lost their lives or were involved in wars that Australia participated in.
There’s lots to see and do at the memorial, which is as interesting as it is haunting. Be sure to visit the Hall of Valour, the Aircraft Hall, the War Galleries, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It’s free to visit the Australian War Memorial, but you’ll need to reserve a timed ticket in advance.
12. Sydney Tower Eye
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge may be the most famous structures in Sydney, but the tallest is the Sydney Tower Eye, which is also called Centre Point Tower. After first being designed in 1968, the building was completed in 1981.
As one of the top two tallest observation towers in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s a popular spot to get amazing views of Sydney.
For thrill-seekers, there are several fun experiences to enjoy at the Sydney Tower Eye, including a virtual reality roller coaster, Skywalk, and VIP Adventures. Otherwise, you can simply head on up to enjoy the view.
One of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings is the Flinders Street Railway Station in the CBD. The station is situated between Flinders and Swanston Street and is a landmark not just because of its striking architecture, but because it’s steeped in history.
Flinders Street Station is the oldest train station in Australia, having been constructed in 1910, and its main platform is one of the longest in the world. The building is heritage-listed and definitely worth taking a photo of when you’re in the Melbourne CBD.
In addition to being a landmark, the station connects 110,000 commuters with 1,500 trains per day.
Also known as the Eureka Tower, the Melbourne Skydeck is another easily recognizable Melbourne landmark, situated in the affluent Southbank area of the Victorian capital. The observation deck sits at 300 meters high and offers spectacular views of the surrounding city.
There are several experiences available at the Melbourne Skydeck, from Cocktails in the Clouds to the Voyager Theatre, a virtual reality experience that immerses participants in several famous Melbourne cultural events and locations.
If you’re game, you can also reserve space in the Edge: a glass cube that is suspended from the Skydeck and makes you feel like you’re hovering above Melbourne city. The lifts (elevators) in the building are also the fastest in the Southern Hemisphere!
15. The Big Banana
Australia is known for its many “big” things, and the Big Banana is one of the most famous. Aside from being a literal big banana, it’s also an amusement park complete with a water park, slides, ice skating, escape rooms, laser tag, mini golf, and an arcade area.
The Big Banana is situated on the northern New South Wales coast in Coffs Harbour. Built in 1964, the banana statue is 13 meters long and 5 meters high and was voted the most bizarre tourist attraction in the world in 1995.
Another landmark to look out for in Melbourne is the Melbourne Cricket Ground, affectionately known as the MCG or just the G.
Located in central Melbourne, the MCG hosts the Australian Football League Grand Final every September and also hosts other sports throughout the year, from soccer to cricket.
The MCG is home to the Australian Sports Museum which features an array of galleries highlighting the most iconic moments in Australian sporting history.
Along with discovering the museum, guests can take a stadium tour, enjoy the dining facilities, or host a private function at Melbourne’s most beloved sporting venue.
17. Rottnest Island
Off the coast of Perth in Western Australia lies one of the country’s favorite natural and wildlife-focused landmarks: Rottnest Island. The protected nature reserve is home to scenic beaches and coves but is most renowned for the local quokka population.
These small marsupials are considered to be vulnerable due to animal predators and habitat loss and are typically used to having their photos taken with humans. You can take the ferry from the port of Fremantle to the island to meet the quokkas.
The Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island, the Whadjuk Noongar people, call the island “Wadjemup,” which translates to “place across the water where the spirits are.”
18. Remarkable Rocks
The Remarkable Rocks is a landmark situated on what some consider to be South Australia’s greatest attraction: Kangaroo Island.
The small island, which is a 40-minute ferry ride from the South Australian mainland, is home to a large population of kangaroos, several award-winning wineries and farms, and a variety of natural wonders, including the Remarkable Rocks.
The rocks are other-worldly granite boulders that were formed over 500 million years ago. Visitors can get up close to the rocks and take photos on or beside them in Flinders Chase National Park.
19. Admirals Arch
Also in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island, you’ll find another geological marvel known as Admirals Arch, another of the greatest Australian landmarks.
The natural rock arch took millennia to form and gives visitors the chance to take one of the most beautiful photos possible on the island.
Next on the list of Australian big things to see is the Big Pineapple. Located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the Big Pineapple is a heritage-listed attraction that is essentially mandatory to stop at for photos when road-tripping through the area.
The statue is 16 meters and made out of fiberglass. It was built in 1971 as a way to pay tribute to the pineapple production in the region.
These days, there’s tons to do at the Big Pineapple, from the Wildlife HQ Zoo to the high ropes and zipline TreeTops Challenge.
Each year, the Big Pineapple Music Festival is also held at the landmark and plays host to a number of artists.
21. Port Arthur
The Port Arthur Historic Site is located in Tasmania, off the Australian mainland. Narrating the history of the country’s past as a penal settlement, Port Arthur is an open-air museum that highlights historic ruins from the 19th century, including remains of a large penitentiary and buildings constructed by inmates.
In more recent history, Port Arthur was the site of Australia’s worst mass shooting, which took place in April of 1996 and left 35 people dead.
While the perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison, the massacre sparked the National Firearms Agreement, which led to 650,000 firearms across the country being surrendered to the police.
Though the site of more haunting aspects of Australia’s history, Port Arthur is a moving and important landmark, and definitely worth visiting.
Another big landmark to put on your Australian bucket list is the Big Rocking Horse. Located in the South Australian town of Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills, the Big Rocking Horse marks the site of an authentic toy factory and animal park.
You can climb the rocking horse, have a picnic in the outdoor area, have fun meeting native Australian animals in the animal park, and grab a souvenir in the gift shop before you leave.
Weighing 25 tons, the Big Rocking Horse was completed in 1981. It stands 18 meters tall and is thus the biggest rocking horse in the world.
23. Blue Mountains
Lying to the west of Sydney is the Blue Mountains region—known for the stunning natural scenery of the Blue Mountains National Park. A bush walker’s paradise, the park boasts rocky cliffs, eucalyptus forests, and historic villages and towns.
There are several highlights to look out for in the Blue Mountains, from the sublime Jenolan Caves to the Three Sisters rock formation. The area is also home to stunning waterfalls, including the magical Wentworth Falls.
The Blue Mountains are more than 1 million years old and were home to Indigenous Australian peoples prior to European settlement.
A rock carving called The Flight of the Great Grey Kangaroo has been preserved from ancient times and still exists at the Hawkesbury Lookout.
Situated amongst the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays is a chain of 74 islands, many of them uninhabited. Featuring rainforests, turquoise water, and white-sand beaches, they’re Australia’s answer to a tropical paradise.
You’ll find endless things to do in the Whitsundays, from discovering secluded beaches to snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles over the reef. The area is also known for lavish accommodation, so this landmark is the perfect place to splurge.
25. Wilpena Pound
A different kind of paradise can be found in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. Home to campsites and a resort, Wilpena Pound is a unique natural amphitheater formed by the mountains of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.
The area offers the ultimate chance to immerse yourself in the Australian outback. Explore bushwalking and hiking trails, base yourself in local campsites (or at the local resort, if you like your creature comforts), and view the stars like you’ve never seen them before.
Wilpena Pound is so beautiful that it has attracted landscape artists such as Hans Heysen who have been inspired by its dramatic scenery.
26. Mount Kosciuszko
At 2,228 meters above sea level, Mount Kosciuszko is the tallest mountain in Australia. It’s situated in Kosciuszko National Park, in New South Wales.
Despite sometimes being considered as one of the world’s tallest Seven Summits, Mount Kosciuszko is relatively easy to climb and accessible to climbers of all skill levels thanks to a chair lift that carries trekkers most of the way up.
Australia has many famous beaches, one of the most recognizable being Melbourne’s Brighton, thanks to its signature bathing boxes. The collection of 93 bathing boxes is situated on Dendy Beach and attracts tourists from all over Australia thanks to the iconic colors.
The boxes are more than a century old and stem from a time when Australians still held Victorian values surrounding modesty at the beach. They retain all the same features they were initially constructed with, so are definitely worth seeing if you’re a history buff!
One of Sydney’s prettiest heritage structures is the Queen Victoria Building, a five-level shopping and dining precinct that is home to a number of high-end stores.
Having opened in 1898, the building takes up an entire block in the Sydney CBD. The most defining characteristic is the central dome, which is especially beautiful during Christmas when it is illuminated with a giant Christmas tree.
29. Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse is located in Australia’s most easterly point. Heritage-listed and an ideal location for whale watching, the lighthouse is now home to a maritime museum, interpretative space, and retail building.
It’s one of the most popular attractions in Byron Bay, on the New South Wales Coast between Sydney and Brisbane. Sitting 94 meters above sea level, it offers magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.
30. Bay of Fires
Home to some of the most picturesque beaches in Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is one of Australia’s hidden gems. Stretching for 50 kilometers, the bay is four hours from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.
With campsites and luxury lodges in the area, it’s a great place to base yourself in Tasmania.
The area features orange-tinted boulders and white-sand beaches that you’ll want to explore on your own, but you can also go as part of a guided tour.