9 Must-See Iconic Landmarks in Perth and Sydney Aboard the Indian Pacific

An evening view of the lit-up Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge right next to it.

Posted by on 21 Nov 2023

Many avid travellers say that the beauty of a trip lies in the journey, not the destination. This rings true for the Indian Pacific railway—Australia’s iconic, westbound train route from Sydney to Perth. Along the way, you’ll see magnificent views of the Blue Mountains and charming mining towns in Cook and Kalgoorlie. These sights rival the views of the Rocky Mountaineer routes in Canada and the scenic Swiss rails that give you a glimpse of the Alps and mountains.

But while there are plenty of stunning views aboard the Indian Pacific, there is plenty to see and admire at the beginning and ending points of the trip—Sydney and Perth. Taking your time at these two beautiful cities before and after you traverse the Indian Pacific can make your trip even more special. Here are nine of the landmarks in Sydney and Perth you need to check out before you hop in your Indian Pacific cabin.

5 Must-See Landmarks in Sydney Before You Start Your Journey

Sydney Opera House

When you think of what to see in Sydney, the iconic, majestic Opera House will likely come to mind first. The world-famous opera house’s distinct, sail-shaped architecture is recognisable anywhere. It sits smack in the middle of Sydney Harbour, creating a stunning backdrop for the marvellous hall.

While you can experience the Sydney Opera House in its full glory by catching a show at the theatre or concert hall, you can also enjoy it for free by exploring it outside. The latter is the best way to take photos of this world-renowned architectural masterpiece.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Another of the most popular landmarks in Sydney—which you can see right from the Opera House—is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This steel bridge is also endearingly called the “Coathanger” because of its unique shape and design. Admire the panoramic sights of Sydney Harbour and the vibrant city’s skyline by walking along this celebrated bridge.

Bondi Beach

Sydney may be a bustling metropolis, but it’s also known for its breathtaking, lively beaches—the most popular of which is Bondi Beach. If you love the seaside, you can’t miss this one. Swim and sunbathe in the waters of Bondi Beach or take a trek along the scenic coastal walk to admire ocean views. If you love water sports, go to this beach to surf. It has sizeable waves that rival those of popular surf spots like Siargao in the Philippines.

Darling Harbour

If you want to see the diverse wildlife Australia is known for, head on over to Darling Harbour. This waterfront precinct is home to some of the most amazing Sydney attractions, such as the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and the SEA LIFE Aquarium. In these places, you can see animals like kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, turtles, sharks and more. It’s a terrific place to bring kids if you’re travelling with family, as well.

Queen Victoria Building

Want to shop till you drop before starting your journey aboard the Indian Pacific? Visit the iconic Queen Victoria Building for the best upscale shopping in Sydney. This 19th-century building-turned-shopping mall—often referred to as QVB by locals—is a sight to behold with its mediaeval-style architecture and stained-glass windows. Inside, you’ll see tons of fashion boutiques, jewellery shops and gourmet restaurants and cafés. It’s the perfect stop for those with a penchant for luxury and a deep admiration for Romanesque architecture.

4 Landmarks in Perth to Check Out to End Your Journey Strong

Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Perth is quite different from Sydney. It has a reputation for being more quiet and serene. The best way to enjoy this calm ambience of the capital of Western Australia is by exploring Kings Park and Botanic Garden. This huge urban park gives you beautiful views of the Swan River. It’s perfect for hikes, picnics and people-watching. You can also hit the Western Australian Botanic Garden to see over 3,000 breathtaking plants and flowers.

Elizabeth Quay

Another place to enjoy the beauty of Swan River in Perth is Elizabeth Quay. You can stroll along the quay’s promenade to see the city skyline and dine at the numerous cafés and restaurants in the area near the water. Think of it as a more serene version of other urban quays, such as the romantic Clarke Quay and Boat Quay in Singapore.

One of the most intriguing architectural landmarks in Perth is the renowned Spanda sculpture—an art installation inspired by the ebb and flow of the river. Check it out and take a few photos if you can!

Perth Cultural Centre

To get a deeper appreciation for the arts in Western Australia, visit the Perth Cultural Centre. Among all the landmarks in Perth, this is where you’ll be exposed to the most arts and culture. You’ll see museums and exhibits such as the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. The area is also home to the State Library of Western Australia—a must-visit for history lovers.

Fremantle Prison

Last (but definitely not least) on our list of what to see in Perth after your journey on the Indian Pacific is Fremantle Prison. Built by convicts in the 1850s, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a maximum-security prison with a dark past. It’s not for the faint of heart, as guided tours here explore areas like the gallows and maze-like tunnels in the eerie, historic prison.

Make Your Indian Pacific Experience Unforgettable

Vibrant Sydney and relaxed Perth may be worlds apart, but both cities have stunning landmarks and iconic harbours and quays you must visit on your next Australian holiday. Going aboard the Indian Pacific railway is the best way to explore both destinations. Enjoying the scenic route that takes you from one city to the other is just the cherry on top!

Want to explore more of Australia and other scenic rail routes all around the world? Check out all of for your next holiday!

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