Sydney is a popular tourist destination in Australia. From its beginnings in Aboriginal history through to the modern-day, there are plenty of interesting facts about Sydney that will amaze you.
Epic fireworks and all-year festivals are just some of the best facts about Sydney that will change the way you see this remarkable Australian city.
Wanting to impress your friends and family with all your Sydney facts knowledge? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Sydney that you’ll remember for years to come.
The History Of Sydney
Interesting facts about Sydney, Australia, are not challenging to come by. Ask any Australian, and they’ll tell you hundreds of Sydney facts that you won’t expect. Sydney’s rich and storied history goes thousands of years past the First Fleet. Australian high schools teach Aboriginal history to make sure that students understand the importance of the original custodians.
Sydney’s Original Name
Named for Lord Sydney, Sydney has been renamed multiple times over the last thousand years. Sydney is built on Gadigal land, the name of the Aboriginal tribe that were custodians of the land for over 40,000 years.
Originally called ‘Cadi,’ the Aboriginal tribes moved around Sydney Cove and foraged, hunted, and fished during what is known as ‘The Dreamtime’. ‘Djubuguli’ is the Gadigal word for Bennelong Point, where the Sydney Opera House stands today.
Australia Day Started In Sydney
This Sydney fact is one of the first ones you’ll hear from any Sydneysider when you ask about Australia Day. On January 26,1788 , the First Fleet landed and created the first penal colony in Sydney. They began making it into the modern metropolis it is today. This national holiday is part of the Australian identity. There are barbecues and parties thrown every year to commemorate the historic day.
Celebrating the day that England moved into indigenous land is not popular with everyone. Australia’s national holiday has sparked much controversy in recent years, with many Australians calling for the date to move.
Fun facts about Sydney Opera House
When talking about interesting facts in Sydney, we have to start with the Sydney Opera House. This unique structure is a proud Australian monument and one of the most distinctive theatre venues in the world. Over 200,000 visitors tour the iconic arts venue every year, and the trademark Sydney Opera House feature in holiday photos worldwide.
Here are some other Sydney Harbour bridge facts that you can’t help but share.
Sydney Opera House Is Big
Like, really big. Measuring over 618 feet in length and 377 feet wide, this massive structure covers over five and a half hectares on Bennelong Point. Towering over 219 feet above sea level, the giant sails are equivalent to a 22-story building. Eight 747 Boeing aircraft can sit comfortably on the sails. The free-standing column holding up the most prominent central sail is the biggest in the world.
A stagehand working in the Opera House will walk an average of 18,680 steps in one day or just over 8 miles.
Another interesting and impressive fact about the Sydney Opera House – Over 15,500 light bulbs are changed at Sydney Opera House every year because of its size.
Sydney Opera House Took A Long Time to Build
Held in 1956, the competition for the design of Sydney Opera House attracted architects from all over the world. Winning £5000 for his design, Danish architect Jørn Utzon modeled his design on the wings of native Australian birds and sails of old colonial ships.
Originally estimated to take around four years and cost around AU$7 million, the construction of the Sydney Opera House began in 1959. Engaging over 10,000 workers throughout the build, the Sydney Opera House didn’t open until 1973 – by Queen Elizabeth II on her tour to Australia.
The final cost of this Sydney landmark was a massive AU$102 million.
The Sydney Opera House Has Its Own Opera
That’s right – in 1993, the famous playwright Alan John visited Sydney for the first time. So struck by the unique and extraordinary composition of the Opera House, he decided to write an opera about it. Called The Eighth Wonder of the World, this opera covers the construction process of the Sydney Opera House and won several awards in the late 1990s.
Interesting facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge
Another iconic piece of architecture in Sydney, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, is steeped in history and crazy trivia that will surprise you. Conceived in 1815 by the convict and architect Francis Greenway, the idea for a bridge that crossed Sydney Harbour wasn’t approved until almost 90 years later.
Here are some interesting facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge that you won’t forget in a hurry.
The Largest Long-Span Bridge in the World
Measuring 160 feet across and 439 feet tall, Sydney Harbour Bridge boasts the title of the world’s widest long-span bridge. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the 1650 foot length gives the Sydney Harbour Bridge the status of being the 5th longest long-span bridge worldwide.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is Constantly Being Repainted
Opened in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge took 71,850 gallons of grey paint to cover it from end to end. Grey wasn’t the original design choice; it was the only color available in enough volume to complete the project. The size of the bridge means that once painters finish applying a coat, they have to turn around and start again almost immediately.
Another interesting fact about the Sydney Harbour Bridge: Paul Hogan, of Crocodile Dundee fame, was originally a bridge painter!
One of the most interesting facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge is how it was built. Constructed before the use of modern laser technology, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was one of the most accurately built architectural structures of the time. Built from the outside in, when the two halves finally met, they were only an inch out from the original estimate.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge has Silly Nicknames.
Known as ‘the Coat Hanger’ to locals, the Sydney Harbour Bridge has inspired many nicknames over the years – some sensible and some not. The ‘Iron Rack’ and the ‘Sydney Brace’ are just a couple of the names that locals and tourists use when talking about the bridge.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also a dividing point between the two halves of the city. Ask any Sydneysider where they live, and they’ll proudly declare which side of the bridge they belong to.
Other Interesting Facts About Sydney, Australia
Sydney Has Over 100 Beaches
One of the most interesting facts about Sydney is the number of plentiful beaches around the city. Of course, everyone knows about Bondi, Coogee, and Manly beaches, but what about the rest?
Home to over 100 beaches in its city limits, Sydney has some of Australia’s most diverse and unique shorelines. Choose from water sports like skiing, kayaking, and paddle boarding on a sunny day. You see a different side of this beautiful city from the water.
Hot tip: Make sure you visit during low tide. Some of these hidden spots are so small that they only surface once a day.
Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games.
Sydney’s Olympic Games are widely considered to be some of the best Olympic Games in history. The bronze medals were made from melting down 1 and 2 cent coins that are out of circulation in Australia since 1991.
Visit Sydney’s Olympic Park to see the famous Olympic rings and the facilities where athletes competed for glory.
The 430 hectares of parkland are full of activities for visitors to enjoy, and sporting events happen year-round at the iconic location.
Another interesting fact about the Sydney Olympic Games: the zip code for Sydney city is 2000, the same year as the games!
Sydney Is The 12th Most Expensive City in the World.
Consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities, real estate in Sydney averages a staggering US$8,717 per square meter. Point Piper in Sydney’s east is the 9th most expensive street globally, costing an average of US$16,840 per square meter. Houses in this area cost around US$5.53 million each. Drive down one of these luxurious streets to get a feel for how the wealthiest people in Australia live.
Sydney Features In A Lot of Movies
You wouldn’t think that Sydney was the background for incredible action scenes or romantic twist endings in Hollywood movies .
Sydney’s iconic skyline and bustling city set the stage for some of the best action movies of all time. Some famous films include The Matrix, Mission Impossible, and Inception,
This fact about Sydney is largely unknown to overseas visitors, making it even better when the city starts feeling a lot more familiar.
Walk around Sydney and find the settings for scenes out of your favorite films. There are even tours that take visitors to the most recognizable locations seen in Hollywood movies.
Sydney Fish Market Is the Largest in the Southern Hemisphere
One of the most interesting facts about Sydney is the iconic fish market. It is the largest in the southern hemisphere and the third-largest in the world. The Sydney Fish Market is a must-go for anyone looking to pick up fresh seafood.
Sydney has the Biggest Natural Harbour in the World
Spanning over 11 miles and with a single entrance, Sydney Harbour is the world’s biggest natural harbor. This makes it a key port for shipping and cruise liners. You can see lining the docks of Circular Quay all year-round.
Due to its deep waters and salty water, Sydney Harbour is home to many different sea creatures. Look out for Australian fur seals, green sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and grey nurse sharks during your visit.
Sydney is the Largest City in Australia
This Sydney fact is a fundamental point of pride for Sydneysiders. As of 2020, Sydney has a population of over 5.5 million residents. It should reach 6 million by the end of 2021, making Sydney Australia’s most populous city.
Apart from having the largest population in Australia, Sydney is 1580km from end to end – more than twice as big as New York City.
The Blue Mountains Really Are Blue
Named for their distinctive blue hue, the Blue Mountains are a centerpiece of Sydney’s beautiful natural landscape. These rocky ranges get their name from the volatile mix of oils that evaporate from the region’s thick gumtree forest that covers the area. Visit the Blue Mountains for a uniquely Australian wilderness experience just 90 minutes from the CBD.
Sculptures by the Sea, Bondi is the Biggest Outdoor Exhibition in the World
Visit Sydney in late October, and you’ll be able to visit the largest open-air art exhibition in the world. The spectacular 1.2-mile walk stretches from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach. It features works from some of the most talented local and international artists in the world.
Take a stroll during the warm spring weather and look at the weird and beautiful sculptures inspired by the Australian lifestyle.
Sydney Funnel Webs Are One Of the Most Dangerous Spiders on Earth
This fact about Sydney might be interesting, but it’s also scary. Sydney Funnel Web spiders are an aggressive species of spider found in Greater Sydney and regional New South Wales. Their bite can cause burning pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing, sending you to the hospital.
Australians combat this by hitting their shoes on hard surfaces before wearing them, as these dark crevices are favorites for the Sydney native.
Sydney’s New Years Fireworks are Some of the Best in the World
Credit to its proximity to the international date line, Sydney is the first major city to ring in the New Year each year.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks display runs for around 45 minutes each New Year. Audience from around the world watch it on TV to catch the impressive display. Visit Sydney over New Year and watch the iconic display light up the city in person.
The Most Interesting Facts about Sydney
Sydney is the first stop on many Australian itineraries for a good reason. These interesting facts about Sydney are as vast and varied as the people who live there. There are plenty more to be discovered.
The beautiful Australian city is unique in its structure, history, and natural features and shouldn’t be missed on your Australian tour. So visit Sydney and see for yourself – you won’t regret it.