Australian World Heritage Sites

With twenty world heritage sites in Australia, we have more natural sites than any other country. Australian world heritage sites include several well-known places as the Sydney Opera House, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef together with a number of lesser known areas. However, all are considered to be essential to the cultural, social and economic fabric of our nation.

The twenty sites, as listed below, are divided into the following categories:

  • 12 natural sites
  • 4 cultural sites
  • 4 mixed sites
  • Australian Convict Sites (2010)
  • Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (1994)
  • Fraser Island (1992)
  • Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (1986)
  • Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (1986)
  • Great Barrier Reef (1981)
  • Greater Blue Mountains Area (2000)
  • Heard and McDonald Islands (1997)
  • Kakadu National Park (1981)
  • Lord Howe Island Group (1982)
  • Macquarie Island (1997)
  • Ningaloo Coast and Reef (2011)
  • Purnlulu National Park (2003)
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (2004)
  • Shark Bay (1991)
  • Sydney Opera House (2007)
  • Tasmanian Wilderness (1982)
  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (1987)
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland (1988)
  • Willandra Lakes Region (1981)
  • Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (2019)

The Great Barrier Reef (Queensland)

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system made up of over 2,900 individual reefs. The reef hosts a very high level of biodiversity and is considered likely to be the richest area in the world in terms of animal diversity being home to around 400 types of coral, which all forms a critical habitat for many endangered species.

The Sydney Opera House (New South Wales)

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon selected in 1957 as the winner of an international design competition and following completion in 1973 has become one of the symbols of twentieth century architecture. To quote US architect Frank Gehry, it “changed the image of an entire country.”

The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The building comprises multiple performance venues, which, in normal times, host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Fraser Island (Queensland)

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island. It is made up of sand that has accumulated over about 750,000 years. It has over 100 freshwater lakes, and dunes reaching up to 260 m (850 ft) above sea level. Mycorrhizal fungi live in the sand. Because of this, it is the only place in the world where tall rainforest grows on sand.