Australia’s most photographed tourist attractions

Australias most photographed tourist attractions
Australias most photographed tourist attractions. Photo by Chili.

Australias most photographed tourist attractions | Due to their remoteness not all truly awesome places in Downunder make it into this top-10-list. Meaning, these top 10 sites listed here are not necessarily Australia’s most beautiful but most photographed spots:

Opera House, Sydney

Australia's most photographed tourist attraction: Sydney Opera House
Australias most photographed tourist attraction: Sydney Opera House

It is Australias most photographed site! Mention “Sydney” and most people think of this Opera House. Shaped like huge shells or billowing sails, this building is one of the world’s greatest architectural icons. Danish architect, Jørn Utzon won an international competition for its design, but withdrew from the project after technical and financing problems. Construction was finally completed in 1973 at a cost ten times too high. By then Jørn Utzon had already left Australia, never returning to see his magnificent creation.

Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932
Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932

Runner up to the Opera House: Sydney Harbour Bridge. Affectionately called “the Coathanger”, this impressive feat of construction is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. It was completed in 1932, rises 134 m above the water and spans 500 m connecting Sydney’s north shore to the central business district. In addition to a pedestrian sidewalk, two railway lines extend over the bridge as well as eight car lanes. One of the cool things to do in Sydney is a guided tour to the top of Harbour Bridge where visitors can enjoy spectacular views over the city. Not sure if this fact kicks you out of your shoes, but actor Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) worked as a painter on the Harbour Bridge before rocketing to international stardom.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Great Barrier Reef Starfish. Copyright (c) 2004 Richard Ling, CC BY-SA 3.0
Great Barrier Reef Starfish. Copyright (c) 2004 Richard Ling, CC BY-SA 3.0

Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest living structures on the planet. Or should we say “was”? This Reef is dying fast. Recently massive bleaching due to global warming had a terrible impact on the fragile ecosystem. In 1975 the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established to protect it: more than 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands (including the stunningly beautiful Whitsunday group), 300 coral cays, and inshore mangrove islands. In 1975 the astounding array of marine life included soft and hard corals, more than 1,600 species of tropical fish, sharks, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, rays, and giant clams. But the Great Barrier Reef is unfortunately dying. The measured warming of the planet is not hypothetical. Nor are its effects, which are happening now. An ecological catastrophe is unfolding off Australia’s East Coast: Us humans are killing the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, and there’s nothing Australians on their own can do about it. We are all responsible for this mess.

Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory

Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the heart of Australia. Photo by Maurus Blank (2003)
Uluru – the heart of Australia. Photo by Maurus Blank

Half way between Adelaide and Darwin you find Uluru (Ayers Rock), one of the most photographed natural wonders in the world. A huge striking red monolith forms the centerpiece of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, This rock rises to a height of 348 m from the surrounding plain, but most of its bulk is actually hidden beneath the earth’s surface. Also situated in that same National Park: Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). As the sun dips in the sky, visitors gather to watch Uluru and Kata Tjuta transform in the shifting light. A great way to appreciate these sacred structures is to join a tour around the sites led by Aboriginal guides and rangers.

Kakadu NP, Northern Territory

Saltwater Croc, Kakadu NP. Photo by Mbz1, CC BY-SA 3.0
Saltwater Croc, Kakadu NP. Photo by Mbz1, CC BY-SA 3.0

Like so many other sites in Australia, Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Site. If the weather is ok it can be one of the planet’s greatest wilderness areas. If you approach it at the wrong time it can be a big mess or super boring. Covering almost 20,000 sqkm, Kakadu NP is the largest national park in Australia and the second largest in the world. Within its borders lie monsoon rainforests, mangrove swamps, rivers, gorges, ancient rock paintings, wetlands, waterfalls and lots of animals. During the wet season (Nov-Apr), many roads and attractions close due to heavy flooding. But in May and June conditions are great. No more rain but an abundance of green and wildlife is waiting for you.

Blue Mountains NP, New South Wales

Blue Mountains NP, 3 sisters. Photo by Diliff CC BY-SA 2.5
Blue Mountains NP, 3 sisters. Photo by Diliff CC BY-SA 2.5

Most photographed due to easy access for Sydneysiders. The beautiful Blue Mountains National Park lies just 81 km west of Sydney and is a popular day trip from the city. Named for the blue haze emanating from the many eucalyptus trees, the park covers approx. 660,000 acres of bush land, gorges, waterfalls, ancient aboriginal sites, and 140 km of hiking trails. Most popular desinations: Three Sisters, and Katoomba Scenic Railway.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach Sydney, Australia
Bondi Beach Sydney, Australia

Not much to say about Bondi Beach. Thanks to its location in Sydney it kind of automatically makes it into this list of Australia’s most photographed tourist attractions. There is not much attractive here. If you can, fly to Daintree NP to get the full package of an awesome sandy beach in a nice environment.

Daintree NP, Queensland

Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park. Photo taken by Diliff, CC BY-SA 2.5

Daintree National Park is a Wet Tropics World Heritage site in Far North Queensland – a super old ecosystem. This NP encompasses two main sections: Mossman Gorge with crystal clear waters gushing over granite boulders, and Cape Tribulation where rainforests meet reefs along white sandy beaches. The stunning stretch of coast is one of the few places in the world where two of the planet’s richest ecosystems converge. The park’s great biodiversity includes more than 18,000 plant species and a vast array of animals including cassowary, crocodile, giant blue Ulysses butterfly and the secretive Bennett’s tree kangaroo.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Australia, Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge
Australia, Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge. Photo by Chili.

The Great Ocean Road was built to provide employment during the Depression between 1919 and 1932. Today it is one of the world’s most scenic tourist routes, stretching for 443km along Victoria’s southeast coast from Australia’s surfing headquarter of Torquay to Warrnambool. Top attractions along the Great Ocean Road: the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, the Arch, and Loch Ard Gorge. Honorary mention: Lorne and Otway NP – an area of dense eucalyptus and fern-filled rainforest, with hiking trails, and waterfalls – that kind of stuff.

Melbourne Skyline

melbourne skyline in the evening
Melbourne skyline in the evening

The skyline of Melbourne is another such example of being not beautiful but most photgraphed. Australia’s second largest city, is a popular stop on many Australia travellers. Highlights of the city include the Royal Botanic Gardens, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. But what is it about this skyline? We don’t understand. You better head east, where greater Melbourne extends into the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, and in the south to the Mornington Peninsula where many locals escape for seaside getaways such as Phillip Island or Wilsons Promontory NP. Or go south west, along the Great Ocean Road. Any snapshot taken out there will be better than this boring Melbourne skyline.

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Australia’s most photographed tourist attractions. By Chili & Churp | © International Destinations | Find out more about Australia here -> Australia.