Our understanding of the material organization of complex fluid flows has benefited recently from mathematical developments in the theory of objective coherent structures. These methods have provided a wealth of approaches that identify transport barriers in three-dimensional (3-D) turbulent flows. Specifically, theoretical advances have been incorporated into numerical algorithms that extract the most influential advective, diffusive and active barriers to transport from data sets in a frame-indifferent fashion. To date, however, there has been very limited investigation into these objectively defined transport barriers in 3-D unsteady flows with complicated spatiotemporal dynamics. Similarly, no systematic comparison of advective, diffusive and active barriers has been carried out in a 3-D flow with both thermally driven and mechanically modified structures. In our study, we utilize simulations of turbulent rotating Rayleigh–Bénard convection to uncover the interplay between advective transport barriers (Lagrangian coherent structures), material barriers to diffusive heat transport, and objective Eulerian barriers to momentum transport. For a range of (inverse) Rossby numbers, we identify each type of barrier and find intriguing relationships between momentum and heat transport that can be related to changes in the relative influence of mechanical and thermal forces. Further connections between bulk behaviours and structure-specific behaviours are also developed.