Museum Stories

10 Museums to Visit in Australia

Vithória Konzen Dill 29 July 2022 min Read

Australia may be better known for its beaches and natural wonders and, of course, kangaroos and koalas. But it is also a country rich in art and culture. From historical to contemporary art, including both local and international artists, there is a lot to be seen in Australia. Here is a selection of ten Australian art galleries and museums to visit.

1. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Museums Australia. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Photograph by Kgbo via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Located in Sydney, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the largest art galleries in Australia. It was first founded as the New South Wales Academy of Art in 1872. Presenting nearly 40 exhibitions per year, the gallery holds a strong collection of Aboriginal, Asian, Australian, and Pacific art. European and contemporary art are also present, as well as photographic works.

Museums Australia. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–5pm (Wednesdays 10am–9pm)
Admission: Free entry (a few special exhibitions might require tickets)

2. Art Gallery of South Australia

Museums Australia. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. Facebook.

The Art Gallery of South Australia holds one of the largest art collections in Australia: almost 47,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, jewelry, and much more. The collection of  Australian art is especially renowned, but European, Asian, and North American art are also represented. Located in Adelaide, the gallery welcomes around 512,000 visitors per year.

Museums Australia. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Opening Hours: Daily, 10pm–5pm
Admission: Free entry (charges may apply for some exhibitions)

3. Heide Museum of Modern Art

Museums Australia. Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Australia

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Australia. Facebook.

The Heide Museum of Modern Art is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in Bulleen, Victoria. It was founded by the couple John and Sunday Reed, who collected a broad range of art themselves. The Heide consists of three exhibition buildings that hold a collection of over 3,500 works in all media. Besides that, a sculpture park and Heide’s heritage-listed gardens can also be visited. Admission fees are required to enter the museum but entrance to the gardens is free.

Museums Australia. Inge King, Rings of Saturn, 2005–2006, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Australia

Inge King, Rings of Saturn, 2005–2006, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Australia. Museum’s website.

Location: Bulleen, Victoria
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am–5pm
Admission: Adult – $20, free for children under 16 (other concessions can be found on the museum’s website)

4. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Museums Australia. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, Australia. Facebook.

Located on the edge of Sydney Harbour, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia welcomes over a million visitors each year. The museum holds over 4,000 works by Australian artists, with a strong commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, but international artists are also part of the collection. A variety of media, such as painting, photography, sculpture, works on paper, and moving images can be appreciated. The cafe on the roof of the building gives a view of the bridge, opera house, and harbor.

Museums Australia. Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, Australia.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 10am–5pm; Friday, 10am–9pm; Weekend, 10am–5pm
Admission: Free entry

5. Museum of Old and New Art

Museums Australia. Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia

Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia. Photograph by Michael fromholtz via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Museum of Old and New Art is a privately funded museum that opened in 2011 in Hobart, Tasmania. It houses ancient, modern and contemporary art from the private collection of its founder, David Walsh. The museum’s building is said to be an experience itself – it has a spiral staircase that leads to three levels underground, a tunnel complex, and no windows. The works of art on display are in non-chronological order and museum labels are not used. Instead, visitors can use “the O” – a device that provides information about the artworks on display.

Museums Australia. Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia

Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia. Photograph by jeffowenphotos via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Opening Hours: Thursdays to Mondays, 10am–5pm
Admission: Check the museum’s website

6. National Gallery of Australia

Museums Australia. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia. Photograph by Thennicke via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Formerly known as the Australian National Gallery, this art museum is located in Canberra (capital city of the country) and holds the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. With a collection of over 155,000 works of art created by more than 15,000 artists, this is one of the largest art museums in Australia. The collection comprehends Australian, Asian, and Pacific art, as well as modern art worldwide (particularly from Europe and America).

Museums Australia. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–5pm
Admission: Entry requires a free ticket, which can be booked online or in-person

7. National Gallery of Victoria

Museums Australia. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Visit Melbourne.

Australia’s oldest art museum, the National Gallery of Victoria, was founded in 1861. Two different sites of the museum hold the impressive collection of over 75,000 works of art (and they are only a 10-minute walk apart from each other). NGV International houses an extensive collection from Europe, Asia, America and Oceania, while the Ian Potter Centre presents Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian art from historical to present day.

Museums Australia. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–5pm
Admission: Free entry

8. Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum

Museums Australia. Normal Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Faulconbridge, Australia

Normal Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Faulconbridge, Australia. Blue Mountain Arts Directory.

The sandstone cottage was once the home of artist Norman Lindsay (1879-1969). The museum’s collection obviously includes many of his works (such as paintings, watercolors, etchings, and ship models), but works from other artists can also be seen. The gardens are perfect for a stroll, since many fountains and Lindsay’s sculptures occupy the landscape.

Museums Australia. Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Faulconbridge, Australia

Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Faulconbridge, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Faulconbridge, New South Wales
Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday, 10am–4pm
Admission: Adult – $17; Concession and children – $15; Family – $45

9. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Museums Australia. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia. TripAdvisor.

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery has two key sites distanced by a 15-20 minute walk. The Museum at Inveresk holds the natural science and history collections, while the dedicated art gallery at Royal Park holds a collection of fine and decorative arts. The gallery has been recently reinterpreted to explore the many facets of Northern Tasmania and its communities (focussing on local Aboriginal cultures, colonial history, and modern diversity).

Museums Australia. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am–4pm
Admission: Free entry

10. TarraWarra Museum of Art

Museums Australia. TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia. Visit Melbourne.

The TarraWarra Museum of Art holds a significant collection of modern and contemporary Australian art, with strength in figurative, abstract and landscape painting from the 1930s to the present day. Sculptures, prints, and drawings can also be seen in the collection. Besides the artworks, the museum’s location is an attraction by itself. Sitting on the apex of a hill, the museum has floor-to-ceiling picture windows in the northern galleries – inviting visitors to see the landscape in a different way.

Museums Australia. TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia. Facebook.

Location: Healesville, Victoria
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am–5pm
Admission: Adult – $12; Seniors – $10; Free for children under 12 (other concessions on the museum’s website)

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