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Sydney Bridge Climb – the Most Popular Sydney Attraction
Whether on water or dry land, the view of Sydney Harbour is a unique sight. The backdrop for this striking city landscape is the skyscrapers of the CBD (Central Business District). In stark contrast to the architecture of city’s high-rise buildings, look no further than the harbour’s edge. Located in Central Quay is the impressive Sydney Opera House, regarded as the most distinctive building of the 20th Century.
The picturesque landscape is completed with the famous arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge. 52,000 steel girders make up the world’s largest steel bridge, known locally as “The Coathanger”. The bridge spans Port Jackson and its 8 vehicle lanes and 2 train tracks connect the CBD to the North Shore.
The bridge itself has been the centrepiece of many Australian celebrations and the scene of numerous spectacular firework displays. For many around the world, the annual fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge on the 1st January signify the start of a new year as Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to reach midnight.
Sydney Bridge Climb
Since opening to the public in 1932, visitors were able to climb the 200 steps to Pylon Lookout, 87 metres above Sydney Harbour. From there they could only gaze up and imagine the panoramic view from the top of the giant arch.
However, in 1998 that all changed when Bridge Climb opened to the public. For the first time tourists were able to climb the southern half of the arch from the southern pylon, all the way to the summit, 134m above Sydney Harbour.
In 2006 BridgeClimb launched the Discovery Climb, opening up stairs and catwalks previously only been accessible by maintenance teams.
Rather than walk along the top of the arch, visitors climb staircases between the steel girders, giving a closer view of the bridge’s architecture. As with the original Bridge Climb, the highlight is the view over Sydney from the top of the bridge.
The Bridge Climb Experience
Bookings can be made in advance through the BridgeClimb website and are available throughout the day from sunrise until after dark. Each climb group comprises of a guide and up to 14 visitors. The whole experience lasts just over 3 hours including an hour’s preparation.
All climbers must sign a disclaimer and pass an alcohol breath test before participating in the climb. Once the formalities are complete, visitors are introduced to the BridgeSuit, an outfit designed to keep climbers cool and dry, whilst camouflaging them against the bridge to prevent distracting drivers on the roadway below.
No personal belongings are allowed on the climb except glasses/sunglasses which are attached to the suit with a lanyard. Baseball caps, handkerchiefs and, depending on weather, a fleece and/or waterproof jacket, are all provided by BridgeClimb and connected to the suit. Whilst the procedures and rules may seem a little excessive, it’s important to remember climbers are standing above 8 lanes of traffic and safety is paramount.
After attaching a climbing harness, radio and headphones, the preparation is finally complete.
Climbing the Bridge
Once outside, it’s a short walk to the bridge where each climber connects their harness to the safety rail. From this point, climbers are attached to the bridge for the duration of the climb.
The climb begins at the southern pylon where visitors ascend the stairs and venture out onto the bridge itself. The guide provides useful pieces of information throughout the climb via the radio headsets. At various points the guide takes photos of each group which are all available for viewing/purchase at the end of the climb.
The highlight of the climb is obviously reaching the summit and looking out over the amazing view of Sydney. As visitors stand 134 metres high on top of the incredible steel structure the realisation of where they are finally sinks in.
The Number One ‘Thing To Do’ in Sydney
With prices starting from $198, BridgeClimb may not be the cheapest attraction in Sydney, however, it is the most popular with over 2 million people climbing the bridge since its launch.
As it soars across the harbour, dwarfing the famous Opera House, the bridge itself would be a sight to behold anywhere in the world but combining it with the Opera House and the harbour, makes Sydney one of the most recognisable cities on the planet.
However, seeing the bridge and climbing it are two very different experiences. Only whilst standing on the top of the arch and looking down through the cascading metal girders to the harbour below, is it possible to understand the true feat of engineering the bridge is.
Most city views involve riding an elevator to the top of a skyscraper. However, there’s something much more satisfying about actually climbing the structure. The sense of achievement at reaching the summit only serves to make the view even more rewarding.