When it comes to man-made landmarks in Australia, most visitors think about the Sydney Opera House.
It is, undoubtedly, Australia’s most iconic building! But that’s not it, there are many other structures and historic buildings in Australia.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the most iconic man-made landmarks in Australia!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!
Man-made landmarks in Sydney
Sydney is particularly famous for its iconic buildings and bridges! If you love history and architecture, that’s the perfect place to visit in Australia!
Sydney Opera House
Let’s start with Sydney Opera House as clearly, that’s an all-time favourite!
Located on Darling Harbour, in Sydney CBD, the Opera House features one of the quirkiest shapes we can think of for a theatre!
It was designed by a Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, and complete by an Australian team.
Sydney Opera House officially inaugurated on the 20th of October 1973 and has been holding performances ever since!
This unique architectural style is acknowledged as one of the most extraordinary in the world. Sydney Opera House was even listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007.
HOW TO VISIT: There are 2 ways you can visit the Opera House. You can opt for a guided tour during which you will discover everything about the history and architecture of this iconic building. Click here to see the prices.
You can also book a ticket for one of the show! You won’t get to learn about the history of the venue but you will get to experience it!
Alternatively, you can also go to Darling harbour and see it from the outside. You won’t get to learn about the history but you will get some amazing photos and all of that, for free!
Sydney Harbour Bridge
When it comes to man-made landmarks in Sydney, the Sydney Harbour Bridge has just as much to offer as the Opera House.
This impressive steel bridge connects the CBD with the North Shore.
It’s way bigger than the Opera House and has more of this “wow factor” once you see it in real life.
The design was based on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (England) and the bridge officially opened in 1932.
When you visit Sydney, you will see the bridge from so many places but the best places to admire it are:
– From Darling Harbour
– From the rocks
– From the ferry to Manly
HOW TO VISIT: You can walk anywhere around the harbour and see the bridge. If you want to take great photos, I highly recommend going to Kirribilli. The views are extraordinary! But if you want the full experience, you should climb it! It’s one of the rare bridges in the world that you can climb and the views over Sydney are fantastic! If you are a thrill-seeker, you will love it! Prices and availability here.
Other famous man-made landmarks in New South Wales
Sydney is not the only place where you will find beautiful architectural or quirky structures. There are many other beautiful man-made landmarks in NSW.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Located in the beautiful boho town of Byron Bay, Cape Byron Lighthouse was built in 1901 to protect the boats along the coast.
Cape Byron also the easternmost point of mainland Australia!
The best way to get there is by going on the Cape Byron walk. From the town centre, walk along Byron Bay Main Beach and start the 3.7km loop. You will have to walk up the stairs to the lighthouse which can be a bit challenging for some. Just take it easy and look at the ocean! If you are lucky, you might see some dolphins or whales.
Australia has a thing for big things! We all know that everything is big in Australia. I mean, have you see the size of Australian bats?? Anyway, but Australian also like to build big things!
They are spread out all over the country. One of the most famous big thing in Australia is the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour.
It’s a great place to stop by, especially if you are on a road trip from Sydney to Brisbane for example.
The Big Banana is located on the side of the Pacific Highway.
You can opt for a quick stop to take a picture or spend a bit of time at the Big Banana Fun Park.
If you are travelling with kids, they will love it!
Man-made landmarks in Melbourne
Now that we got NSW covered, let’s head to Melbourne! Known as the capital of culture, Melbourne features some very impressive buildings!
Located on the South bank, the Eureka Tower is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Melbourne.
It’s particularly famous for its Skydeck featuring stunning 360 degrees views of Melbourne!
HOW TO VISIT: You can book tickets online to go up to the Skydeck. Prices here.
PRO TIP: If you can, try to go just before sunset so you can enjoy the views of Melbourne during both daytime and nighttime. This time of the day is very popular so I highly recommend to book online to avoid any disappointment.
Shrine of Remembrance
Located only a few minutes walk from the Eureka Tower, the Shrine of Remembrance was built as a tribute to the men and women of Victoria who served in WWI. It was unveiled in 1934 and since became a war memorial for WWII as well.
Each year, there are observance on ANZAC day and Remembrance Day.
The building itself features a very unique shape. But the most interesting thing about it is that the views from the top are amazing.
If you walk up the stairs to the top, you will discover breath-taking views of the Melbourne skyline. It’s a great place to visit, especially if you don’t get to go to the Eureka Tower. Also, it’s free!
Brighton Bathing boxes
If you are visiting Melbourne soon, heading to the Brighton Bathing Boxes should be on top of your bucket list!
They were created in the 19th century so people could go swimming and change their clothes easily. At the time, getting undressed in front of people wasn’t quite something you would do. These boxes were perfect to quickly change and store equipment.
They resisted storms and reforms and over a century after, are still standing in Brighton!
Brighton Bathing Boxes are very famous for their bright colours. Each hut is painted in a different way and features a different vibe. The most famous one is the bathing box with the Australian flag.
It’s also a great place to observe the beautiful Melbourne skyline!
HOW TO VISIT: You can catch a train from Flinders Street Station in Melbourne to Brighton. It takes 20 min and is super easy.
If you want to hit 2 birds with one stone, you may also want to consider going on a day trip to both Phillip Island and Brighton. Prices and info here.
Although this one is not a monument, it’s definitely considered as an iconic landmark in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s Chinatown is one of the oldest Chinatown in the world and the oldest in the southern hemisphere!
It was established in the 19th century during the gold rush.
It’s home to some amazing Chinese restaurants, many laneways and of course, the arches on Little Bourke lane!
Man-made landmarks in ACT
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. It’s home to the parliament and a lot of government institutions. It’s also the best city in the country to visit museums. There are loads of them and they are amazing!
Here are some of the most famous man-made landmarks in Canberra, ACT.
There are two Parliament houses in Canberra. The old one and the new one. Luckily for you, they are located only 7 minutes apart from each other which means you can easily go see both!
In 1913, Canberra became the capital of Australia however, the parliament stayed in Melbourne for 14 years after that! The old Parliament in Canberra was the seat of the Parliament of Australia from 1927 to 1988.
In the 80s, the building became too small to host everyone. At this point, a lot of renovation and building work were needed. Instead of spending money on restructuring the current parliament, it was decided to build a new one.
The old parliament was left vacant for several years and is now home to the Museum of Australian Democracy.
The new parliament house is a marvel of modern architecture. It officially opened in 1988 and was designed by Romaldo Giurgola from Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects. This design was chosen from 329 proposals!
HOW TO VISIT: You can visit the Old Parliament every day from 9 am to 5 pm. Entry is free but you need to book your visit.
The entry of the New Parliament House is also free. You can visit it from 9 am to 5 pm (6 pm on sitting days) but you need to book online on the official website.
Australia war memorial
Located in Campbell, Australia war memorial is one of the biggest memorials in the world.
It opened in 1941 and features impressive structures such as Remembrance Driveway, Anzac Parade and Memorial building.
HOW TO VISIT: Australia war memorial is a pretty big site. You can easily spend the whole day there. You can find suggested itineraries on the official website.
You will need to book your ticket to visit. Good news though, it’s free!
Man-made landmarks in Queensland
Queensland is famous for its natural landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef or Whitehaven Beach but you will also find some beautiful architectural landmarks!
The Story Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Brisbane. It goes across the Brisbane River, from Kangaroo Point to Fortitude Valley and the CBD.
It opened in 1940 and became a Queensland heritage site in 1992.
HOW TO VISIT: There are several places in Brisbane where you will get wonderful views of the Story Bridge. Wilson’s Outlook Reserve and New Farm Riverwalk feature some of the best views in the city.
You can also drive or walk across the bridge.
Finally, the best way to experience the story bridge is, like in Sydney, to climb it!
Not only it’s a super cool thing to do but it provides amazing 360-degree views of Brisbane, the Glass Mountains and Moreton Bay.
Situated in Bowen, between Airlie Beach and Townsville, the Big Mango is another popular Australian Big Thing.
The Bowen mango is the most popular variety of mango in Australia. The trees originated in Bowen (hence the name) and there are loads of farms in the area cultivating this delicious fruit. This is why the mango became the symbol of this small coastal town.
If you are driving from Brisbane to Cairns, stopping by Bowen to check out the big mango is a great thing to do.
Located in Surfers Paradise, the Q1 is the tallest building in Australia!
Q1 stands for Queensland Number One. It opened in 2005 and was the tallest residential building in the world at the time!
The SkyPoint observation deck features breath-taking views over Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast and even Byron Bay.
It’s also home to 4 restaurants and the Q1 Resort and Spa, one of the most luxurious places to stay on the Gold Coast. Click here for more information and prices.
Man-made landmarks in South Australia
The capital of SA is Adelaide. You may be expecting the most famous man-made landmarks in South Australia to be there but surprisingly, they are actually in the outback!
The Dog Fence (or dingo fence) was built in the 19th century to prevent wild dingoes to reach the most populated areas. It goes all the way from Queensland to South Australia.
It’s 5,614 km long altogether, making it one of the longest structure in the world.
Admittedly, the structure itself is “just” a fence but the amazing thing about it is its length and the environment it was built in. It goes through some of the most hostile parts of Australia.
HOW TO VISIT: The best place to see the dog fence is in Coober Pedy. If you are on a road trip from Adelaide to Uluru, you can easily stop there. Alternatively, you can go on a day tour to the Breakaways and the dog fence. Prices here.
Crocodile’s Harry Underground Nest
The main characteristic is that most houses are dugouts!
If you head to the seventeen-mile road, you will discover Crocodile’s Harry Underground Nest. This is definitely a very unique man-made landmark in Australia.
This eccentric and bizarre cave was the home of Captain Harry. It’s now open to visitors.
You can go visit whenever you want, there is a donation box at the entry. Feel free to go around the rooms and discover this uncommon house!
Man-made landmarks in Tasmania
Tasmania is home to some wonderful historic landmarks. Here are the most famous ones.
Located about 100km from Hobart, Port Arthur is a historic convict settlement in Tasmania. This UNESCO world heritage property is made of 11 old pennants sites. It’s one of the best examples in the world of large-scale transportation of convicts.
Visiting Port Arthur is a unique opportunity to discover what the daily life of convicts was like.
Port Arthur is also notorious for the massacre that took place in 1996. 35 people were killed during a mass shooting committed by Martin Bryant. This is the worst massacre recorded in modern Australia.
HOW TO VISIT: If you are driving, you can head straight to Port Arthur and visit on your own. Tickets are available online and at the entrance.
That said, there is so much history in Port Arthur that it’s worth going on a tour. You can opt for a ghost tour in Port Arthur. Prices here.
Alternatively, you choose to go on a day tour from Hobart. Prices here.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is situated in Hobart. It opened in 2011 and was entirely funded by David Walsh, a Tasmanian millionaire. This makes it the largest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere.
Not only does it feature amazing exhibitions but also a very unconventional architecture.
Man-made landmarks in Northern Territory
The real beauty of the Northern Territory is nature. There are so many stunning national parks in NT. If you are heading there, that’s what you should focus on. However, there are a couple of man-made landmarks in Northern Territory that are worth mentioning.
Historic Daly Waters Pub
If you are on a road trip from Alice Springs to Darwin, stopping in Daly Waters in a must-do!
This tiny town lost in the middle of the outback is home to Australia’s most famous pub!
Daly Waters pub was built in 1930 by a couple of settlers in the Outback. We can safely say that this pub has seen it all! From creepy events to happy ones.
Nowadays, the Daly Waters Pub is famous for being one of the quirkiest pubs in the world. The specificity of the place is the fact that travellers have left so many belongings along the way and they are all on display.
When I say on display, I mean it. If you go to the bar, you will be ordering standing underneath a chain of bras and panties. You can even find driving licenses on the walls! Anything you can think of!
It’s a very lively pub and a great place to enjoy live music during happy hour.
Rock art in Kakadu National Park
Located near Darwin, Kakadu is one of the most beautiful and fascinating national parks in Australia.
Not only are there beautiful natural landmarks such as Barramundi Gorge, Jim Jim Falls or Yellow Waters Billabong, but also beautiful rock art sites.
The aboriginal culture in Kakadu is amazing. It’s one of the only parks in Australia that is operated by both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
The most remarkable man-made landmarks in Kakadu are the aboriginal paintings in Ubirr, Nourlagie and Nanguluwurr.
They are over 20,000 years old which is pretty amazing!
HOW TO VISIT: The three sites are open to the public. You can get there by car. You will need to buy a national park pass to be able to visit all of Kakadu though.
The great thing about Kakadu is that they offer a lot of ranger-led activities. You can go to the rock art sites with native-australian rangers and guides. They will explain everything you need to know about the paintings. It’s very interesting!
Man-made landmarks in Western Australia
WA is mainly known for its amazing beaches, pink lakes and national parks, however, there are also a lot of man-made landmarks in Western Australia that are worth visiting.
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower (also known as Swan Bells Tower) is located in the lively city of Perth.
It’s famous for being home to the second-largest set of ringing bells in the world.
There are 19 bells in the tower, including 12 of them that came from Trafalgar Square in London! Pretty impressive, right?
This famous landmark in Perth is located by the port, near Cathedral square.
HOW TO VISIT: You will need to buy a ticket to visit the Bell Tower. If you are going during the high season, you may want to consider taking a skip-the-line ticket. Prices here.
If you are visiting Perth for the day, you can also choose to go on the hop-on hop-off bus. This includes the entrance ticket to the tower. Prices here.
Finally, for the full experience, you can book an Anzac tour at the Bell tower. It’s a great way to learn more about the history and culture of the Bell Tower. Click here to see the latest prices.
Perth town hall
The town hall is one of Perth’s most iconic landmarks. Located only a couple of minutes walk from the Bell Tower, this beautiful building features a Victorian free gothic style.
It was built in 1870 and is the only landmark that was built by convicts. If you are interested in the colonial history of Australia, it’s a great place to visit!
HOW TO VISIT: You can take beautiful photos of the front at any given time. If you wish to go inside (which you should), it’s open from 10 am to 4 pm from Monday to Saturday.
Rock art in the Kimberley
Kimberley rock art is one of the most ancient landmarks in Western Australia. Unlike what you may think, this indigenous art is not just paintings. There are also drawings engraved in the rock.
There are thousands of sites in the Kimberley and the art has lasted for thousands of years. Some of them are 41,000 years old, making them some of the oldest forms of art in the entire world!
These beautiful and unique natural pieces of art were made by the Yaburrara and Northern Ngarluma people.
HOW TO VISIT: The Kimberleys are located near the northern town of Broome. You can easily drive from there.
If you live in Perth or any of the major cities in Australia, you can also fly to Broome and go on a tour with an indigenous guide.
This is the best way to learn more about the culture and traditions. If you love Australian culture and history, you are in for a treat.
So, are you ready to discover the most beautiful man-made landmarks in Australia?
You may also be interested in:
- 83 Fascinating, Fun and Interesting facts about Australia
- Best places to skydive in Australia
- Places to see in Australia
- Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip Itineraries
- Visiting Australia in May: Weather, Best Places to visit, travel tips, and more
- Adelaide to Uluru Drive: Australian Outback Road Trip
- The Ultimate Australia 10-day Itinerary: Exactly how to spend 10 days in Australia