Enjoy these amazing Australian landmarks, both manmade and natural, and plan your road trip or talk about them with the kids.
THE MOST FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN LANDMARKS
I love Australia. But let’s face it. It’s huge. And you’re unlikely to be able to see it all in one go. So use the classic Australian landmarks to guide your initial planning. Then pick a region and delve deep with the itineraries and further reading options below.
Sydney Opera House: Probably the Most Iconic Australian Landmark
Iconic Australian Landmarks
THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
Does anyone need to be told about this place?!
The Sydney Opera House joined the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007 and has long been seen as a symbol of the country.
It remains one of Australia’s most visited destinations, with a staggering 8.2 million people visiting each year, with more posing for photos outside.
Its close proximity to the Sydney Harbour Bridge means that you can easily see these two great Australian landmarks in one easy stroll.
Sunrise in Kakadu National Park
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
Kakadu National Park covers a staggering 7646 square miles, encompassing some of the world’s most famous flora, fauna, and rock art. Camping is also allowed here, although more luxurious lodges also exist.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in cultural significance: it’s been continuously occupied by Aboriginal people for at least 40,000 years.
Don’t pass up the chance to view one of the 5000 rock art sites which offer a fascinating insight into the lives of local Aboriginal people.
The Twelve Apostles: Part of the Australian Landmark the Great Ocean Road
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Just an hour and a half from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is 243 kilometres of tarmac that sweeps along some of the best views in the world. Sandy beaches, rocky shores, surf spots and rolling farmland. It could also be described as the Greatest Monument to Love – brotherly love in this case as a project for soldiers returning from World War One.
Port Arthur Penitentary
A former convict settlement established by the British Empire, Port Arthur housed the hardest of British and Irish criminals.
Australia’s convict past is a complex area, quite apart from the guided ghost and paranormal tours, and the Port Arthur historic site remains one of the most preserved convict settlements in the country. Over 1,000 graves still exist on the island, ominously referred to as Death Island. This landmark remains one of Tasmania’s top tourist attractions to this day.
A Great Australian Landmark: The Heart Reef
Over in Queensland, the TV and movie-star famous Heart Reef ranks as another of Australia’s most famous landmarks. Beyond looking beautiful by itself, it also provides some of the best underwater viewing of the Great Barrier Reef. Heart reef is protected from scuba diving and snorkelling, unfortunately but perhaps understandably, and is only viewable by seaplane or helicopter.
Waves breaking on Kangaroo Island Australia
Kangaroo Island bounces (sorry!) 70 miles off the coast, south west of Adelaide, connected to the mainland by ferry and plane. Nearly one third of the island is declared a conservation area or National Park, home to penguins, koalas and sea lions. And as Australia’s third largest island, that’s a lot of conservation space.
Uluru at sunset
ULURU (AYERS ROCK)
Uluru, located in the heart of the Northern Territory, is the world’s largest monolith.
It’s also, as I’m sure you know, one of Australia’s most well-known landmarks.
It rises 1141 feet above the ground and the surrounding area, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, is a world heritage site to boot. In 1985, Uluru was returned to the Anangu people for the great significance and spiritual importance the site held for them.
You can view this World Heritage area by helicopter, hiking and even by camel ride. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss. Here’s an in depth review of a three day Uluru tour.
Heart Reef: A Major Australian Landmark
PRACTICAL TRAVEL TIPS FOR AUSTRALIA
Currency: Dollar (AUD)
Best way of getting around: Let’s face facts, Australia is a BIG place. Independent driving is handy but if you want to cover a lot of ground, internal flights are a must. Also, bear in mind you are unlikely to be able to visit all of these Australian landmarks in a single trip – unless you plan to travel for six months to a year.
Highlight: Driving the Great Ocean Road.
Travel tip: Pay close attention to safety advice. Crocs, sharks and poisonous spiders are real risks in places!
Dress Code: Casual, baby. But no cork hats.
Unusual highlight: Build boats out of beer cans and sail on the salty sea.
Find more unusual things to do in Australia here.
Highlights of Australia
Explore and soak up Sydney; the food, the beaches, art galleries and sun-drenched days. Drive or fly from the magnificent deserts to Queensland, and experience the Great Barrier Reef or the charisma of Port Douglas.
Start in Perth; visit its castles, gardens and sample some of WA’s stunning cuisine. Embrace the maritime history of Fremantle & spend a night on Rottnest Island. See the beauty of the Margaret River town and its craft breweries and wineries, before heading to Albany and Esperance for some delicious sun soaked beaches.
POPULAR: NEW SOUTH WALES
See the sights of Sydney, before heading to the stunning Blue Mountains. Visit the charming Hawkesbury Valley, and embrace the history and bountiful beaches of Newcastle. Venture to Gosford and the Brisbane Water National Park, and enjoy the state forests and some delightful Australian sun.
EPIC: THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Use urban-chic Melbourne as a base for exploring the Great Ocean Road, a road trip that lives up to its name.
So, how many of these Australian landmarks have you visited? Which other famous or iconic places should be on the list?
More on Travel in Australia
- Why these hidden gems in Australia will surprise you
- The land that is older than the bible in Northern Australia
- Unusual things to do in Sydney that are right in the heart of the city
- How to drive the Great Ocean Road (and walk the Great Ocean Walk)
- What’s so special about Australia’s magnetic termite mounds