Which are the tallest skyscrapers in Australia? When you think of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, you don’t normally call to mind Sydney or Melbourne. These days we all know that Dubai, Shanghai, Seoul and New York are the world leaders in terms of the heights of new buildings, together with cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Mecca. And it is true that Australia doesn’t have any of the 50 tallest skyscrapers in the world. But that doesn’t mean that there are no very tall buildings in Australian cities: indeed, from the 19th century onwards Australia has been home to some decidedly tall buildings. Take for example the first skyscraper built in this part of the world, in 1889, which was for a long time one of the tallest buildings in the world: the APA Building, a 53-metre-high Victorian-style building in Melbourne, which was demolished in 1980.
Most Australian skyscrapers are currently to be found in the eastern states of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. If we focus on the truly exceptionally tall buildings, we find that Sydney is home to over 100 skyscrapers that are over 100 metres tall, while Melbourne has over 70. Brisbane has 50, and the Gold Coast about 40, while Perth only has 10. Let’s take a look at the top 10 tallest buildings in Australia.
The top 10 tallest buildings in Australia
These are the top 10 tallest buildings in Australia, with the city in which they are located, the height and the year when construction was completed.
• Q1, Gold Coast, 322 metres, 2005
• Australia 108, Melbourne, 316 metres, 2020
• Eureka Tower, Melbourne, 297 metres, 2006
• Crown Sydney, Sydney, 271 metres, 2020
• Aurora Melbourne, Central Melbourne, 270 metres, 2019
• Brisbane Skytower, Brisbane, 270 metres, 2019
• West Side Place Tower A, Melbourne, 268 metres, 2021
• 120 Collins Street, Melbourne, 265 metres, 1991
• The One Brisbane, 264 metres, 2021
• Salesforce Tower, Sydney, 263 metres, 2022
The tallest skyscraper in Australia: Q1, Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region situated to the south of Brisbane, along the east coast of Australia. As the name suggests, the main feature of this area are the long sandy beaches, overlooked by tall, modern skyscrapers: the resulting skyline is truly spectacular. Dominating over all of them since 2005 has been the tallest of all, the Q1 skyscraper, whose full name is Queensland number 1. At a total height of 322.5 metres, it was the tallest residential building in the world until 2010, and is still today not only the tallest skyscraper in Australia, but the second tallest residential tower in the southern hemisphere, after the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand.
It should be pointed out that the total height of 322.5 metres also includes the spire that rises up from the roof. If you only take into account the highest usable floor area, the height of the building would be 275 metres: so if the spire is excluded, the Q1 is overtaken as the tallest building in Australia by the Australia 108 tower and the Eureka Tower.
Construction took place between 2002 and 2005 to designs by SDG & The Buchan Group, inspired by the Olympic torch at the Sydney 2000 Games and by the Sydney Opera House. The skyscraper has 78 floors plus two basement levels; the most visited floors are the 77th and the 88th floors, which offer two exceptional observation points over the coast, Brisbane and the ocean. It is worth noting that these panoramic floors are reached by a dedicated elevator that travels through the whole building in just 43 seconds.
Australia 108, the second tallest skyscraper in Australia
If you exclude the spire of the Q1 on the Gold Coast, the tallest skyscraper in Australia would be the Australia 108 tower in Melbourne, which is 316.7 metres tall. Initially this building was to have been lower, at just 226 metres, with a total of 72 floors. However, in 2012 the plans were revised, leading to the construction of a tower exceeding 300 metres in 2015. Apart from its great height, the building is stunning for its design, which follows a star-shaped plan for the first two thirds of its height, complete with a golden Starburst arising from the main structure, reminiscent of the Commonwealth star on the Australian flag.
The third tallest skyscraper in Australia: the Eureka tower
With a height of 297.3 metres, the Eureka Tower is also in Melbourne. It was completed in 2006, barely a year after the Q1. The name was chosen in memory of the famous rebellion that took place during the Victorian gold rush, known as the Eureka Stockade: that is why the building features a gold crown at the roof level and a red stripe symbolizing the blood spilt during the rebellion, as well as blue and white cladding to evoke the flag chosen by the rebels.
Crown Sydney and the Aurora Melbourne Central
The fourth tallest building in Australia is to be found in Sydney, the city with the largest population in the country. Built between 2016 and 2020, the building is located in Barangaroo; its height made it the tallest building in the city, although it does not beat the Sydney tower, an observation tower that is 309 metres tall: the Crown Sydney stops at “only” 271 metres, in fact. Inside, the skyscraper hosts the second-largest legal casino in Australia, with an attached hotel.
We return to Melbourne again for the fifth tallest building in Australia. The Aurora Melbourne Central stands at 270.5 metres tall and is a residential tower. Construction began in 2015, and the building is now completely finished. Inside, it houses 959 apartments over 84 floors.