I had never really been that bothered about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then I came to Sydney. And saw the bridge…
I’ve seen it countless times now, and I am still in absolute awe of just how amazing and surreal it looks in all its glory. It’s one of those landmarks I’ve seen millions of photos of and seeing it in the flesh is still as exciting. It is crazy to me that the bridge, the Harbour and the Opera House are only a 15 minute walk away from me now as I write this.
Friends of mine had climbed it and I’d heard nothing but rave reviews about the view from the top and the entire experience. So I decided to use my Christmas money I’d been sent, to book my ticket and experience the climb for myself back in January, with my friends Luke & Tash.
It is expensive – $288 to climb during the day, and even more if you want the sunrise or sunset. You also unfortunately can’t take your own cameras up there for health and safety, and obviously have to pay $20 per photo they take for you. But it is a once in a lifetime!
We decided to book for late afternoon, and our climb was around 4pm. I’ve never been afraid of heights, but even I was getting a tad nervous…
You start with your safety brief, a little practise climbing pretend ladders, and meet the tour guide who will take you to the top and teach you everything you want to know about one of Australia’s most famous landmarks.
Facts about the Bridge itself:
- Construction started in 1924 and took 8 years to complete.
- There are 6 million hand driven rivets holding the bridge together. These rivets were made white hot on the bridge, and then thrown to the forger who fixed them in. Many of these rivets lay at the bottom of the Harbour, when they weren’t caught!
- It is the world’s largest steel arch bridge – the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle is a smaller version.
- The arch actually rises and falls around 188mm throughout the year, dependant on temperatures.
- It is 1,149m long and 134m above sea level (439feet).
- It took 1,400 men to complete the bridge, 16 of which died.
- Vincent Kelly, an Irish steel worker, was the only man to fall from the very top of the bridge and survive. As he was falling, he removed his tool belt, which broke the impact of the water, and broke 6 ribs, returning to work 6 weeks later.
- 79% of the steel was imported from England. The bridge was also designed in Middlesbrough.
We began our climb, started absorbing the incredible views and learnt more and more about the bridge’s history. Part of the way was horizontal walking, some was vertical ladders, and most of it was gradually inclining steps.
We stopped at various points to have photos, take water breaks and see different points of the Harbour.
It was an incredible, incredible experience and something I’m very glad to say that I have done.
The other alternatives to climbing the bridge, which will save you a LOT of money, but still give you the unbelievable sights are just walking the bridge, or visiting the Pylons – the concrete structures at either end.
The one nearest the Opera House is open to the public, is $15 for a ticket and you can take as many photos and as much time up there as you like. There is also a museum along the way to learn more facts and figures and a short film at the end showcasing the bridge’s past.
Shamara and I visited for the day, strolled along the bridge and I got to experience the view of my favourite Harbour all over again. In fact, I quite fancy doing that again sometime soon.
All three were things I am so glad I have experienced in Sydney, and a must do for anyone spending time here. I think it is absolutely true that you never forget the first time you see the Harbour and the incredible bridge above it.
I am am going to dedicate a lot of time to relaying as many of my favourite things I’ve done in Sydney on my blog, and I hope I can convey the love I have for this city through them.