Tourist in Australia: Harbour Bridge


On top of the Harbour Bridge (We’re third and fourth from the left)

We had only been in Sydney for a few hours when my wife and I headed toward the Harbour Bridge for the Bridge Climb. It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided not to waste any time and get climbing right away.

I was really looking forward to the climb, it was one of the few things that I insisted on doing during our trip. Needless to say the bar of expectations had been raised pretty high in my mind. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. It was amazing!

After working up a sweat walking through downtown to the bridge, purchasing our tickets, chugging a bottle of water and gearing up in fancy climbing suits we were ready to head upwards.

Our climbing guide was full of stories and tidbits all the way up and down. A few of the highlights were:

  1. The arches were constructed independently starting from each shore using creeper cranes that met in the middle. It is impressive how precise they were considering the technology available.
  2. There are about six million hand driven rivets holding the bridge together. These were all heated to red hot and tossed around using pails before being put in place by guys hanging from the supports.
  3. There is a great view of Fort Denison in the middle of the harbour where they used to publicly hang the particularly nasty criminal types.
  4. There is a great view of Goat Island known as Me-Mel to the local Aboriginals. It was once inhabited by an Aboriginal couple named Bennelong and Barangaroo.

I know I have mentioned this in the past but I have a fairly acute fear of heights. This is one of the things I wanted to do in an effort to overcome, or at least give the stink-eye to, that fear. Even though I could see for miles in every direction I barely felt like I was at height due to the railings and sheer width of the arch.

The Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay.

To visualize our climb you can start by looking at the bridge from the Opera House at Circular Quay. We exited the climbing centre below the bridge deck on the lower left. We proceeded around the large stone pylon which looks and feels very interesting up close. Then we climbed a couple of ladders to get on the top surface of the upper arch where we proceeded to climb all the way up to the top of the arch right under the flags. Now that we were 134 metres above the water we took a short walk across the bridge to the other upper arch where we began our descent. The whole climb takes about two hours and it is a great experience.

Did I mention the view? It is spectacular! Looking to my right I could see the city, the Opera House and all the usual things you see in popular photographs. However I was quite impressed with the views looking off to my left away from the city. The sheer number of curves, bays and inlets that go pretty much as far as I could see is impressive indeed.

I really wish I could have taken my camera along however the obvious safety concern of dropping it and killing people below meant I was not allowed. Our guide did take a couple of pictures of us along the way including a group shot right at the top.

If I ever find myself in Sydney again I will definitely do the climb again at either sunset or sunrise. Now that will be an amazing view!

What is your favourite travelling memory? Is there anything that you will definitely do again if the opportunity arrises? Leave me a comment below.

Since I was unable to photograph the experience I’ll finish with a few great shots others have taken.

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