I wrote this post to help you choose which of Australia’s famous landmarks to add to your travel itinerary.
Australia is full of famous landmarks. These include famous buildings, UNESCO World Heritage sites, epic national parks, man-made attractions, stunning beaches, beautiful islands and insanely beautiful natural attractions.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in the southern hemisphere, there are plenty of iconic Australian landmarks to add to your Australia bucket list! (Please note: Don’t hold me responsible for making your Australia travel list realllly long – there are so many Australian landmarks to experience and as I was writing this list of Australia’s famous landmarks it just kept going on and on and on!) Also, apologies that the list is a little weighted to certain states and territories – I brainstormed the must-visit famous Australian landmarks and plan to come back and add more later to even it out a bit, but for now, done is better than perfect!
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Australia: famous landmarks to put on your travel list!
If you’re looking for some famous Australian landmarks, man-made attractions and natural wonders to add to your Australia trip, I have so many ideas to share with you!
Check out these famous landmarks of Australia broken down by state and territory.
Famous landmarks in Queensland
I’ll kick off with landmarks in Queensland, as that’s my home state and it’s somewhere I’ve personally travelled extensively. Queensland might be well known for it’s iconic towns like Surfers Paradise and popular tourist destination beach towns like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, but there are also some incredible famous landmarks to explore in addition to Australia’s famous beaches.
The Daintree Rainforest
The ancient Daintree Rainforest in the Daintree National Park in Far North Queensland is a stunning world heritage site. Explore the boardwalks, take a refreshing swim, explore the gorge and the exceptional biodiversity and enjoy the unspoilt beaches of Cape Tribulation. A visit to the oldest surviving rainforest that has been around for 180 million years should definitely be up there on your must-visit list!
Great Barrier Reef
Probably the most famous of Australia’s iconic natural landmarks is the Great Barrier Reef. This epic coral reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Barrier Reef comprises of over 3000 individual reef systems and it’s teeming with species of fish. You can even see it from space! The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible natural beauty and something that should be explored by snorkelling and diving, or by glass bottomed boat or by air.
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the Queensland coast. You can explore it by departing from towns including Port Douglas and Airlie Beach, or you can explore it from islands including Lady Elliott Island and Heron Island.
The Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsundays are a group of 74 islands scattered through the turquoise ocean. Many of the islands are uninhabited. The jumping off point for the islands is Airlie Beach (which is a fun little town in itself) but it’s really worth getting out to explore the islands on a day trip, or if you can afford the time and budget, it’s worth taking a few days aboard a boat to really enjoy the experience as you island hop. The most iconic Whitsunday experience is a trip to Whitehaven Beach. This is one time you should believe the hype as the dazzling white sand and crystal clear water are breathtaking.
K’gari (Fraser Island)
K’gari, previously known as Fraser Island, is the world’s largest sand island. It lies just off the east coast of Australia and at 122km long is the largest sand island in the world! It’s a place for fabulous adventures, white sand beaches, freshwater lakes and pristine landscapes. I was lucky enough to take a flight over it when we visited and can highly recommend seeing it from the sky.
You can take your own 4X4 over to the island, or you can get the barge over to Kingfisher Bay Resort on foot and explore via tours. It’s also possible to do day trips from locations including Hervey Bay (it’s a long day but if you are limited on time it packs a lot in!)
It’s possible to do K’gari on a day trip as a coach tour – I did it when we were backpacking and we crammed so much in. Check out day tours to K’gari from Hervey Bay here
Lamington National Park
Located in SE Queensland, Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland is best-known for its ancient Gondwana rainforest. It’s home to the rare Albert’s Lyrebird, Lamington’s songbirds, as well as other wildlife including Richmond birdwing butterflys. Pademelon’s are also commonly found roaming around the park. A great place to stay is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat – from there you can do a number of tours and activities or just stroll around and enjoy the great outdoors. I also highly recommend going to see the glow worms – it’s a real highlight of the trip.
Brisbane’s Story Bridge
Story Bridge is Brisbane’s centrepiece, named after John Douglas Story. Stretching across the Brisbane River, this heritage-listed cantilever steel bridge opened in 1940 and it carries vehicles as well as pedestrians. It connects Kangaroo Point with Fortitude Valley and is an important part of Brisbane’s cultural scene, featuring as part of the Riverfire firework display and being illuminated at night in various colours.
Brisbane’s South Bank
A fantastic attraction in Brisbane is South Bank. This part of the city combines beautiful tropical gardens overlooking the Brisbane River, with a cultural precinct that is packed with things to see and do such as Queensland Museum, theatres and art galleries. Brisbane’s South Bank should definitely be on your must-visit list when you come to Brisbane.
Famous landmarks in New South Wales
Exciting beachside towns like Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour make amazing holiday destinations, but there are some really impressive Australian landmarks in New South Wales as well so it’s worth building some time into your itinerary to explore the Australia’s famous places and learn more about Australia’s history.
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House
You can’t talk about Sydney’s famous landmarks without mentioning the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House – these two Australian landmarks go hand in hand!
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in Australia and it’s probably one of the most well-known man-made landmarks in Australia. The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the North Shore to the CBD and you can drive, walk or ride across it. Designed and built by British firm, Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, the bridge was actually based on the design of their Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.
It’s a very special sight and I always pay more for a Harbour Bridge view when I stay in hotels in Sydney as it’s such an exciting view!
When it comes to famous buildings in Sydney Australia, the Sydney Opera House is not only one of Australia’s most famous landmarks – it’s probably the most famous building of the 20th century! The iconic Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. With its monumental steps, its white curved arch roofs shaped like sails and its setting on Bennelong Point surrounded by water, it’s a magical place to see a show (or even just to sit and gaze at it from a pavement cafe).
Seeing it for the first time in real life is one of those pinch-me moments! I could look at it all day.
Not quite a landmark, but the popular destination Bondi Beach is a famous crescent-shaped beach located in Sydney. This popular tourist attraction epitomises what it means to live in Sydney – it’s city living at its best where you can work hard during the day and then surf and sunbathe on Bondi in your downtime. It’s worth doing the clifftop Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk when you visit – you get the best views of the coast!
Lord Howe Island
If you have time (and budget) in your itinerary, it’s worth considering adding a visit to Lord Howe Island to your trip. It feels a world away from New South Wales! This tiny island in the Tasman Sea is an incredible place for relaxing, wildlife watching and scuba diving. National Geographic has named Lord Howe Island one of its best destinations for 2021, calling it ‘a last paradise in the Tasman Sea.’
If you want to see pristine coral, abundant wildlife and an unspoilt natural landscape you should add this untouched destination to your Australia itinerary.
The Blue Mountains National Park is a natural wonderland. Escape the city and enjoy dramatic scenery, fresh air, historic villages, thriving rainforests and lush gardens. The Three Sisters Rock formation is a must-see attraction. The best views are from the observation deck at Echo Point Lookout.
The Blue Mountains is a place filled with plenty of hiking opportunities, wildlife, eucalypt forests and waterfalls. You can visit on a day trip from Sydney but to really explore, allow a few days to immerse yourself in this world-heritage listed wilderness.
Mount Kosciuszko is mainland Australia’s tallest mountain at 2,228 metres above sea level. You can find it in the Snowy Mountain Ranges in Kosciuszko National Park. There are various routes up the mountain for those who are keen to scale the summit. The peak and surrounding areas are covered with snow in winter and spring (from June until October), so be prepared for icy conditions.
Queen Victoria building
Otherwise know as QVB, the Queen Victoria Building is a heritage-listed late-19th-century building designed by Scottish architect, George McRae. You’ll find this grand Victorian landmark in Sydney CBD. Constructed between 1893 and 1898, this stunning domed building is a retail complex and it’s well worth a visit as you walk around the city.
Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens
A tranquil oasis in the heart of Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens is home to a diverse range of plant species and stunning views of Sydney Harbour. It makes a lovely afternoon out.
Hyde Park Barracks
Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney is an imposing heritage listed former barracks, mint, hospital, convict accommodation and courthouse. It’s one of the best surviving examples convict history. It offers a fascinating look at the life of convicts and you can immerse yourself in a self-guided history lesson.
OK this post about famous Australia landmarks couldn’t not mention one of Australia’s ‘big things’. The Big Banana can be found at Coffs Harbour and there are MANY other big things in Australia (I’ll have to do a whole other post on them!) just know the big things were created as a way of adding tourist stops to locations around Australia. Some famous landmarks are merely the ‘big thing’ and others have created tourist attractions around them – like the Big Banana in New South Wales where you’ll also find a water park and a heap of other fun activities. It might not be the most famous landmark in Australia, but it’s still a fun landmark worth mentioning!
Famous landmarks in Victoria
Victoria is a state filled with mountains, national parks, wineries, ski slopes, surf beaches and a vibrant arts and cultural scene. It’s home to so many famous attractions of the man-made and natural varieties.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne Cricket Ground (otherwise known as the MCG) is a famous Australian sports venue. This Australian sports stadium can be found in Yarra Park, Melbourne, and it’s a venue to watch AFL, cricket, international soccer and more. With a capacity of over 100,000 people, this sports venue is the largest stadium in Australia and the 10th largest in the world. It’s best experienced by watching a match but you can also book in for a tour too.
Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
Port Campbell National Park Victoria is a national park in western Victoria where the wild Southern Ocean has ravaged the coastline making it an iconic scenic drive. Take the Great Ocean Road to see the incredible Twelve Apostles rock formations here – one of the most famous sights in Australia – which tower 45 metres above the Southern Ocean.
It’s one of those epic trips in Australia that you just know you’re going to need to do one day (I still haven’t had the chance yet but it’s up there on my to-do list!)
Flinders Street Railway Station
You will find Flinders Street Railway Station in the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne CBD. This historic Edwardian station was opened in 1854 and it’s one of the most well-known landmarks in Melbourne. It was listed on the Victorian Heritage Register because of its cultural significance and it makes a great backdrop to your city photos.
Federation Square is a bold and modern cultural hub in the heart of Melbourne. It’s a popular destination for art, music and events and is home to lots of cultural institutions. It’s a great place for gathering as there is a large ‘piazza’ where there are often live events, and you can enjoy the buzzing atmosphere in the pavement cafes and bars.
Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum in Ballarat, Victoria that depicts the first ten years of the discovery of gold in 1851. This popular attraction is set in 25-hectares to showcase the gold rush and how it impacted the communities. Historic buildings have been recreated so you can take a trip back in time to the 1850s and explore the history with costumed staff and volunteers to help tell the story.
Located off the coast of Victoria, Phillip Island is a popular landmark destination for wildlife viewing, particularly for its incredible penguin parade where hundreds of cute little penguins come ashore each night!
Famous South Australia landmarks
You may want to visit South Australia for its incredible wines and gourmet food, but definitely take the time to explore its famous attractions too!
Kangaroo Island and Remarkable Rocks
A visit to South Australia wouldn’t be complete without taking a trip to Kangaroo Island. It may be just off the coast (a 45-minute ferry journey) but it feels a world away and it’s one of the best nature destinations in Australia. It’s a place to enjoy native bushland, pristine beaches and you’ll find incredible wildlife spotting opportunities (it’s home to sea lions, koalas, penguins and lots of bird life).
In the Flinders Chase National Park on the island, Remarkable Rocks are a natural attraction worth visiting. This large cluster of boulders are balanced precariously, creating a visual display that shows off the erosive forces of the wind and sea spray. Make sure you take your camera along!
Larry the Lobster
If you’re into your ‘big things’ you’ll want to visit Larry the Lobster, a 17-metre tall tourist attraction located at Kingston on the Limestone Coast. It makes for a fun photo!
Riverbank Bridge at the Riverbank Entertainment Precinct
This whole area in Adelaide has been reinvigorated and the Riverbank Bridge was a major part of the investment for urban renewal. The 255-metre-long, eight-metre-wide pedestrian bridge links the Adelaide Oval with public transport hubs and the CBD and it adds a new centrepiece for the Riverbank Precinct. Enjoy this iconic public space and take in the panoramic views of the River Torrens and surrounding parkland.
Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake
I’m a big fan of water landmarks, so I really want to go and see the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier between December and March when it turns a vivid shade of cobalt blue. It’s a fascinating natural landmark in South Australia as it’s not fully understood what happens to the chemicals in the water to transform its colour from murky-grey into this bright blue lagoon.
Famous landmarks in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory offers so many spectacular famous landmarks – if you love being outdoors and exploring, the Northern Territory has you covered! Here, you’ll also find probably the most famous Australia landmark in the heart of Australia!
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
I urge everyone to make the effort to visit these famous landforms in Australia. Famous rock formations at Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta are the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen. I can’t stress enough how memorable, exciting and epic a visit central Australia really is. The vibrant ochre colours, the culture, the history, the scenery…it’s hard to put into words how much of an impact a trip to Uluru-Kata Tjuta has on you.
Make sure you book in for a guided tour while you’re there. Uluru is the perfect place to watch the sun rise and set. You also must do the Sounds of Silence dinner (it has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in Australia!). I recommend you allow at least four days to cram in as much as possible to your Uluru itinerary but you could easily stay longer. You can fly into Alice Springs and travel five hours, or land right at Ayers Rock Airport (20 minutes from Uluru) which is definitely the most convenient as you can spend less time travelling and more time exploring. The best time to visit Uluru is between May and September (not December when we went when it was stiflingly hot and humid with plenty of flies everywhere!)
Book ahead though as during peak seasons accommodation can get booked out.
There are so many amazing tours available. Explore them here.
Kakadu National Park
The largest national park in Australia, Kakadu National Park is an enormous biodiverse nature reserve encompassing wetlands, rivers, savanna woodlands, mangroves and monsoon forests. It has been named on the World Heritage List for its cultural and natural significance.
You can learn about the Aboriginal people and traditional landowners, the Bininj/Mungguy people, explore the breathtaking waterfalls, and watch millions of migratory birds. It’s important to be prepared and assume saltwater crocodiles are present as they inhabit the water in the national park. You’ll find the national park a three-hour scenic drive from Darwin. You can also visit on a guided tour which is a great way to enjoy this famous landmark in the comfort of a group.
Hop across the water 100km from Darwin to the unique Tiwi Islands. Made up of two main islands – Bathurst and Melville – and nine smaller islands, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the local Aboriginal culture and history and to enjoy the pristine flora and fauna. It’s a real off-the-beaten-track destination. I’ve got it on my Australia bucket list!
Famous landmarks in Western Australia
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I adore Western Australia. We almost moved to Perth (it was really tricky trying to decide where to move!) It was in Western Australia that my husband and I really fell in love with the country and knew we wanted to live here. We travelled extensively around in a motorhome and had the best time – I can’t wait to go back. It’s no wonder I have a long list of famous landmarks in WA to recommend you visit!
The Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) was on our list of famous landmarks to visit in WA when we were touring but, unfortunately, we were in the Kimberley region at the wrong time of the year to make it happen (a great excuse to go back again!) – so if you want this see this region’s incredible natural landmarks, get the timing right! The national park is only open during dry season (April – November) and it can close due to extreme weather. (May – August is the best time to visit.)
The World-heritage listed Bungle Bungle range is one of the world’s most fascinating geological landmarks. These orange and black sandstone domes rise 300 metres above the grass-covered plains making an incredible spectacle.
It’s a remote area so be prepared with food, water and fuel. Even better, take a tour. If you come during the closed season, you can also take a scenic flight so you don’t have to miss seeing the famous rock formations.
One of my favourite places in Australia, Shark Bay is just the most stunning World Heritage site. It’s packed with awesome scenery and wildlife, and I promise you’ll see the most vibrant colours you’ve ever seen in nature (a trip to Francois Peron National Park while you’re here is a must!). This western part of Australia is a true wilderness that will take your breath away. You’ll need to allow time to really explore and take some tours and boat trips to make the most of the experience. Dugongs, dolphins, sharks, rays, birds….if you love wildlife, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Make sure you pay a visit to Shell Beach just off Shark Bay Road. It’s a pristine white beach made up entirely of snow-white shells which look dazzling against the turquoise waters. Having done lots of trips around Australia, this has been up there as one of my best places to go and I can’t wait to go back and take the kids.
It’s not a quick trip though, Shark Bay is located around 9-10 hours from Perth so the best way to visit is on a West Coast road trip and allow yourself the time to really do it justice.
If you’re visiting Shark Bay, make sure you build in time for a trip to the Ningaloo Reef at Exmouth (the drive time is around six hours). The UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area was established in 2011 and it encompasses the Ningaloo Marine Park. You’ve heard of the Great Barrier Reef, but Ningaloo Reef is actually the world’s largest fringing reef and one of the longer near-shore reef systems in the world. It’s a real ocean paradise with the best scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Australia’s Coral Coast is a truly stunning destination to spend some time. At Ningaloo you can swim with whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays, you can see turtles coming in to lay their eggs not to mention the diving and snorkelling opportunities. If you love white sand and clear waters, this should definitely be on your itinerary!
The Pinnacles Desert is a definite must-visit if you’re in the Perth-area. You can do it as a day trip if you like (it’s only two hrs from Perth) or add it into a longer road trip north up the coast. These amazing limestone structures formed around 25,000 – 30,000 years ago when the sea receded from the area, leaving behind deposits of tiny seashells. As time and weather eroded the landscape, it left these pillars of rock making the most impressive Australian landmark.
Some of the rock formations are as high as 3.5m! It’s amazing seeing all of these towering rocks in all shapes and sizes scattered before you.
Just offshore from Perth, Rottnest Island is a great day trip or short break. If you want to see quokkas in the wild (one of those things Australia is famous for!), this is the place to go! It’s also amazing for snorkelling, wildlife spotting, walking, cycling and lazing around. You can hop on a ferry and explore yourself or book onto a tour. It’s an ideal place to relax for a few days!
Lake Hillier Pink Lake
Lake Hillier’s pink lake can be found on Middle Island, around 130km off Esperance. The saline lake is on the edge of the largest island in the Recherche Archipelago. The reason for the pink lake being this colour still isn’t fully understood although it is suspected it’s to do with the presence of the Dunaliella salina microalgae. One of the best ways to explore this famous Australia landmark is by air as then you can see the contrast of the stunning pink lake against the blue ocean nearby.
Famous landmarks in Tasmania
Tasmania may be small, but it packs in plenty of famous natural landmarks and historic sites. Located across the Bass Strait, you can hop across the water on a ferry or plane to enjoy exploring these outdoor attractions.
At the northern end of the Cradle-Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain is an alpine wonderland that is part of the Tasmania World Heritage Wilderness Area. It’s a rural, unspoilt area perfect for hiking trails, horse riding and wildlife spotting. If you’re looking to really get away from it all for a wilderness experience, you can enjoy glacial lakes, ancient pine forests and icy streams cascading down mountain sides.
Port Arthur Historic site
Port Arthur is the location of the well-preserved penal colony buildings that is now an open-air museum in Tasmania. Established in 1830 as a timber station, it was soon turned into a small town to house and punish Tasmania’s notorious convicts. There are 60 + buildings to explore as you learn about prison life at this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bay of Fires
Visit the Bay of Fires on the east coast of Tasmania and experience the extraordinary clear blue ocean, bright-white beaches and natural boulders. Make time to enjoy sunrise at the Bay of Fires for a spectacular scene. Spend your time hiking or chilling out with these incredible views.
Famous landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory is a tiny state in comparison to the others, but there are lots of famous landmarks to explore there. Australia’s capital city offers plenty of things to see and do.
Australian War memorial
One of the most famous monuments in Australia, the Australian War Memorial is Australia’s national memorial to members of its armed forces. Located in the Australia capital, Canberra, in the suburb of Campbell, it combines a shrine with that of a world-class museum and an archive. The aim of the monument is to help Australians to remember and understand the Australian experience of war and how it has impacted (and continues to impact) our society.
Australia’s Parliament House is an iconic landmark in Australia and it’s the heart of the federal government in Australia. The Parliament consists of two Houses (the Senate and the House of Representatives), and the Queen, Queen Elizabeth, who is represented in Australia by the Governor General. It’s a huge building with 4,700 rooms, many of which are open to the public. There are exhibitions and a range of tours to entertain you on your visit.
National Museum of Australia
Learn about Australia’s social history and our unique land and through these exhibitions and displays. The iconic building was designed by the architect Howard Raggatt and was based on the theme of knotted ropes to symbolise the bringing together of Australian stories. The museum profiles 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage and it holds the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools.
Australia famous landmarks: Check out these famous Australian landmarks on your next trip!
When you’re planning your next road trip in Australia, be sure to plan in time to visit some of these iconic buildings, small towns, natural attractions and iconic Australian landmarks! You’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views, unique experiences and make memories that last a lifetime.
Create your own Australia famous landmark bucket list and tick them off as you go! I know my own list of landmarks in Australia that I want to visit has grown a lot longer since researching this blog post!