The Emerald City: 12 Facts You Never Knew About Sydney, Australia

The Emerald City: 12 Facts You Never Knew About Sydney, Australia

The Emerald City: 12 Facts You Never Knew About Sydney, Australia
11th November 2022

Known for its idyllic beaches, glorious weather and friendly locals, the city of Sydney is a popular tourist and business destination. As the oldest and largest city in Australia, Sydney has plenty of interesting stories to share; read on to discover 12 facts you never knew about Sydney, Australia.  


Sydney, Australia cityscape
Sydney, Australia is one of the many cities around the world nicknamed 'The Emerald City'

The moniker ‘The Emerald City’ is certainly not exclusive to Sydney – in fact, at least seven cities in the US alone share the nickname – but do you know how the city acquired the title? David Williamson’s 1987 play satirized the infamous rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne; comparisons between the ‘Emerald City’ in The Wizard of Oz and Sydney, Australia were made, and the rest is history. Want SilverDoor’s opinion on the Sydney vs Melbourne debate? Click here.  


As one of the oldest buildings in the city’s Central Business District, the Sydney Mint has had many uses since its creation. Opening in 1816 as a wing of the Rum Hospital, it later transformed into London’s first overseas Royal Mint factory, government courts and offices and has most recently become a heritage site and museum. Visitors today can learn all about the building’s history as well as other facts about Sydney. For example, during its time as a Royal Mint factory, 150 million sovereigns were produced from 1,200 tonnes of colonial gold.  


Sydney, Australia
The Rocks is a vibrant and historic neighbourhood in Sydney, Australia

The Rocks neighbourhood is the oldest in Sydney and harbours the city’s first house, high-street, and hotel. Cadman’s Cottage – built in 1816 – is one of the only remaining buildings from the Sydney Cove colonial settlement; once a sailor’s home and a harbour patrol station, today the building is open for visitors wanting a glimpse into the history of Sydney, Australia. 

The cottage is found in the renowned George Street – also established in the early colonial settlement – which has been a hub for corporations since the 1800s. It has housed the Westpac Bank since 1894 and the Agincourt Hotel since 1898; the street is also lined with churches, theatres, shops, and restaurants. 

Australia’s oldest hotel, which opened in 1841, is the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel which is also found in The Rocks neighbourhood. 


Recognised for its unique design – inspired by the shape of bird wings – the Sydney Opera House is arguably the most iconic architectural find in Australia.  

The building itself might be popular, but did you know these lesser-known facts about Sydney Opera House? Initially construction costs were estimated to be $7million but, by the time construction ended in 1973, it had cost over $102 million. The cost didn’t stop there, either – over 15,000 light bulbs have to be replaced in the building each year. The high cost came with high reward, however, as the building was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2007.  


Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Tower Eye stands 1,014 feet tall

An iconic landmark in the city’s Central Business District, the Sydney Tower Eye stands 1,014 feet tall. At the very top of the skyscraper lies a revolving restaurant – a must-try experience! 


Sydney, Australia is the first major city in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Each year, the city hosts a firework display and millions to travel to the city to experience it. In fact, the celebrations are so iconic that the city budgets $7 million for them annually.  


An interesting geography fact about Sydney – it is bigger than New York City! The Big Apple is 778km2 which can’t compete with Sydney’s 12,367km2 in length.  


Sydney, Australia
Sydney Harbour is the largest in the world

Sydney, Australia is home to the world’s largest natural harbour which stretches over 19km. The harbour is also home to species such as fur seals, seahorses, dolphins, and penguins.  


The largest in Australia and third largest in the world, the iconic Sydney Fish Market is located a short distance from the central business district. Daily auctions take place for seafood wholesalers, although anyone can attend the market, and over 100 species of seafood are sold.  


Sydney, Australia
The Blue Mountains are a perfect example of Sydney's beautiful landscape

A beautiful feature of Sydney, Australia’s natural landscape are the Blue Mountains – renowned for the blue hue which decorates its waterfalls, valleys, and sandstone tablelands. But do you know why this blue cast appears?  

The mountains are surrounded by Eucalyptus trees – these release essential oils which, when combined with light, dust, and water, produce the characteristic blue hue.  


Known for having the largest central business district and economy in Australia, there are many interesting facts about Sydney’s economy. For example, the city had an estimated Gross Regional Product of $130bn in 2021 – that’s over 20% of the Gross State Product for New South Wales.  

The financial industry, in particular, is a large contributor to the Sydney economy. In fact, it’s estimated that 65% of Australia’s financial industry is located in Sydney.  


Serviced Apartments in Sydney, Australia
SilverDoor has a wide range of quality serviced apartments in Sydney, Australia

Due to its economic success, Sydney, Australia is an increasingly popular destination for business travel. In fact, it’s such a popular choice that SilverDoor has a total of 145 serviced apartments in our Sydney property portfolio.  

Planning on travelling to Sydney? Read our blogs on 8 Outstanding Serviced Apartments in Sydney, Australia and the Top 5 Long Stay Serviced Apartments Sydney Has to Offer and check out our full property portfolio here.  

Looking for things to do during your stay? Check out the best beaches to explore during your stay, the need-to-know lingo, and 22 things to do in the city

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