Australia is one of the largest countries in the world, with many islands and significant landmarks. It’s located in the Southern Hemisphere between the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Australia is a fascinating continent also called the ‘Oldest Continent’ and the ‘Last Frontier.’
It’s the home of mountains, natural wonders, beaches, natural reserves, and national parks, as well as national landmarks.
Learn more about the most famous Australian landmarks that visitors can’t miss.
Famous Australian Landmarks
1. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the dazzling coral gem of Queensland, Australia. It’s 2,300 km long (1,400 miles). It includes more than 2,900 other reefs and 900 islands that create an enormous aquatic ecosystem.
The reef, located in the Coral Sea, covers an area of about 344,400 square km (133,000 sq mi). This living coral reef is so huge, the International Space Station can see it.
The billions of sea creatures that make up the Great Barrier Reef are organisms known as coral polyps.
It’s also home to an amazing array of sea life, such as the dwarf minke whale, humpback dolphin, and the humpback whale.
Other species living in the Great Barrier Reef include:
- 1,500 fish species
- 17 sea snake species
- 6 sea turtle species
- 15 seagrass species
- 125 shark, skates, stingray, and chimera species
- 5,000 mollusk species
- 49 pipefish species
- 9 seahorse species
Not only is the Great Barrier Reef a refuge for sea life, but it’s also famous for the 215 species of birds that nest there.
2. Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most recognizable building. In fact, it was listed as a human creative genius masterpiece in 2007. It’s located at Bennelong Point, Sydney, Australia.
Danish architect, Jorn Utzon created the opera house using interlocking vaulted shells that seem to hover on the Sydney Harbor promontory like wind-billowing sails. Floodlights at night emphasize this movement.
Peter Hall and his Australian architectural team completed the expressionist-style opera house, designed by Utzon.
Since its opening on October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House has become a world-class performing arts center known around the world.
The Sydney Opera House includes several performance venues for seating thousands of listeners:
- Concert Hall seating 2,679
- Joan Sutherland Theatre seating 1,507
- Drama Theatre seating 544
- Playhouse seating 398
- Studio seating 280 but adaptable to 400
- Utzon Room for parties, functions, and small productions
- Recording Studio
- Outdoor Forecourt for open-air venues
In addition to the performance venues, the Sydney Opera House features shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and guided tours.
You can see Uluru, a majestic sandstone monolith, from across Australia’s Red Centre sandy plains. It’s also known as Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta.
Uluru is located in Australia’s Northern Territory, 335 km (208 mi) southwest of Alice Springs. This 348 m (1,142 ft) natural structure features many waterholes, caves, springs, and ancient paintings.
Another amazing feature of Uluru is that it changes color during various times of the day, glowing red during dawn and sunset.
Uluru has a great physical and spiritual meaning for the Anangu Aboriginal people. They request that visitors not climb Uluru. But, visitors can take part in ranger-guided walks, and Anangu-guided treks that offer a fascinating cultural experience.
The Anangu also asks that visitors not take photographs of specific sections of Uluru that relate to Tjukurpa beliefs. These areas are for the Anangu’s gender-specific rituals.
4. Great Ocean Road
Located on the southeastern coast of Australia, the Great Ocean Road stretches 240 km (150 mi). It runs between the cities of Torquay and Allansford in Victoria.
From 1919 to 1932, soldiers returning from war built the road to honor the soldiers lost in World War I. It’s the largest war memorial in the world.
The road is a popular tourist attraction that follows the coastline of the Surf Coast. It features views of the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean, as well as rain-forests, beaches, and cliffs.
When traveling along Great Ocean Road, you can see the following landmarks:
- Loch Ard Gorge
- The Grotto
- London Arch
- The Twelve Apostles
Along with these landmarks, several events take place regularly on the Great Ocean Road. These include cycling events and the Great Ocean Road Marathon.
5. Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach is the most famous of the Australian Beaches. It’s located on the edge of the Tasman Sea in Sydney, New South Wales. Bondi Beach is also the name of the suburb where the beach is based.
Initially, it was known as Boondi beach, which is an Aboriginal word meaning surf. This 1 km (0.6 mi) beach has many visiting backpackers and beach-goers. The northern end of the beach features calm waters, while the southern section has a dangerous rip current called the ‘Backpackers’ Rip.’
The Bondi Beach suburb features many sporting and recreation events:
- National Rugby League Competition
- City to Surf Fun Run
- Sculpture by the Sea
- Winter Magic Festival
- Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life-Saving Club
- Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club
- Bondi Skate Park
Bondi Beach also features cafés, hotels, restaurants, cultural centers, and several festivals.
6. Sydney Harbour Bridge
Located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an arch bridge that spans Sydney Harbour. It stretches from the central business district to the North Shore. The bridge is also called ‘The Coathanger’ because of its design.
Since 1932, the steel-constructed Sydney Harbour Bridge carries pedestrians, vehicles, and railway traffic.
The Harbour Bridge is a tourist attraction, especially the southeast pylon. The pedestrian walkway accesses the pylon, leading to 200 steps for climbing to the top. The Bridge Climb and the Discovery Climb are available for tourists.
Archer Whitford made the pylon into a tourist attraction by installing several attractions:
- Camera Obscura
- Aboriginal Museum
- Mother’s Nook
- Viewing Platform
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also a traditional part of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Sydney. Fireworks light up the sky over the bridge. There’s also a rope-light display at the center of the eastern arch.
7. Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is located in the Alligator Rivers Region of Australia’s Northern Territory. The park spans 200 km (124 mi) from north to south and more than 100 km (62 mi) from east to west.
It’s Australia’s second-largest park. Kakadu is a tropical protected area with diverse animal life, flora, and fauna. It’s still home to many Aboriginal owners, who have lived on this land for 60,000 years.
Kakadu National Park features over 5,000 art sites that date back 20,000 years. The main art gallery is Ubirr Rock, which displays X-ray art of barramundi, long-necked turtles, and other wildlife.
The diverse habitats in the park are home to the following wildlife:
- Estuarine crocodiles
- Red-billed jabiru
- Wallabies and kangaroos
- Black flying fox
- 280 bird species
- 117 reptile species
- 25 frog species
- 53 fish species
- 10,000 insect species
Large numbers of tourists visit Kakadu National Park each year. The many natural wonders in the park, as well as Aboriginal art, park accommodations, and tourism centers attract thousands of visitors.
8. Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are offshore limestone stacks located in Port Campbell National Park along Great Ocean Road, Victoria. Today, there are only seven stacks. Many people view these awesome natural sculptures by helicopter.
Although named the Twelve Apostles, there were originally eight stone formations. One of them collapsed in 2005. Erosion caused by the harsh weather of the Southern Ocean formed the Twelve Apostles from collapsed caves and cliffs.
The stacks stand up to 50 m (160 ft) tall. Originally, the stacks were named the Pinnacles. Another name is Sow and Pigs.
9. Taronga Zoo Sydney
Visitors reach Taronga Zoo located in Sydney, New South Wales by taking a short ferry ride. This harborside location is home to over 5,000 animals and over 350 different species.
The zoo opened in 1884 and was named Taronga from the Aboriginal word translated ‘beautiful view.’ Today, the zoo emphasizes conservation, preservation, and education.
The Taronga Zoo features a sky safari for viewing the zoo from the bottom of the park to the top.
Visitors can explore the zoo using a downloaded map for walking around the zoo to see kangaroos, koalas, and other native Australian animals in their natural habitats.
Here are a few of the animals visitors see at The Taronga Zoo:
- Sumatran tigers
- Asian elephants
- Red Kangaroos
- Sun Bears
There are many more animals to see at the zoo, plus presentations, exhibits, wildlife retreats, and other accommodations.
10. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria, also known as NGV, is located in Melbourne, Victoria. It is the oldest art museum in Australia, founded in 1861. It houses over 76,000 pieces of art that date back thousands of years.
It consists of two impressive buildings. One is NVG International, which is located on St. Kilda road. The second is the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square.
NVG International features European, Oceanic, Asian, and American art. The Ian Potter Centre showcases Australian collections representing its chronological history. It features over 25,000 Australian works of art, including Indigenous Australian artwork.