Build a bridge and climb over it…

With our final days of employment still finding us in Sydney, and our number of days remaining in Australia dwindling, we thought it prudent to squeeze in at least one more touristic endeavor in our own country.

Something of a last hurrah, our very own farewell Australia affair.

So, what should we do?

Well, we decided we’d try and climb over this…

Australia's iconic 'coat hanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Australia’s iconic ‘coat hanger’, the Sydney Harbour Bridge

As you can see, on this particular winters morning, it looked a spectacular day, although our climb was not scheduled until many hours later, around 2:30pm.

Now when it comes to tour operators, there is only one option (as there is only one authorised operator allowed on the bridge, Bridge Climb Sydney) so there was little chance to shop around.

Weekday prices are cheaper than weekends, and twilight climbs are more expensive than during the day (during the ‘Peak’ December-January period, all prices are more expensive again!).

This isn’t actually my first ever attempt at climbing this famous landmark, however my previous effort was curtailed before I was even close to a harness, due to their 0.05 blood alcohol limit for safety reasons (I was much, much younger, spending time in Sydney carousing with friends).

With that lesson learned, there was no such mistake from me this time, however as the early afternoon wore on, it was now a wet, rainy Sydney which saw us arrive, ready to climb the bridge.

The predicted time for the experience was around 3 hours, which had me concerned for either A. How slow this climb would be or B. This was going to be a real effort!

The reality was neither, as the truth of it was, around half an hour or so was devoted to pre-climb preparation, where equipment was donned, bags stowed, and we were briefed on what lay ahead.

I had the good fortune to be at the head of the group, with Sarah harnessed right behind. It was also an unusually small climbing group of just 4 people (although this grew to 6 just before departure), as most are usually 12-15 people in size.

So out we walked into the wind and rain!

Wind blown and rain soaked...

Wind blown and rain soaked…

In truth, we weren’t so immediately exposed to the weather, as the first stages of the experience, are actually beneath the span.

It was not until we began the climb proper that there was truly no shelter.

Our biggest surprise on this 1.8km round trip was how strenuous it wasn’t!

Aside from a handful of sections where we had to ascend (or descend) near vertical ladders, on the span proper, it was a very gentle climb, on a span that was several metres wide.

A corny shot, as requested by our guide

A corny shot (as requested by our guide)

At a few pre-selected locations there are times when the guide (who was very personable and knowledgeable) would stop to take the photos from the bridge that you can now see.

Unfortunately climbers are forbidden from taking their own cameras and phones, so the only images you can acquire, are those that they take (which aside from the complimentary group shot and video if you desire, also come at a price).

If the funds go to the repair and upkeep of this icon, then I guess I can live with it…

A parting shot, as again the rains came

A parting shot, as again the rains came

The views from such an elevated position were truly impressive, and I can imagine participating in such a climb for Sunrise/Sunset or the New Years Eve fireworks, would be sensational!

My biggest criticism of the experience, would be in the fact that none of the views that we saw on our particular climb were captured for us to purchase (there are several shots of and from the bridge that come with the image CD we purchased, but none from our actual climb). Being able to show our family rather than simply describe, would truly improve the experience.

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14 Responses to Build a bridge and climb over it…

  1. Wow, Chris! I’m sure that was quite the experience! How amazing it would have been to have had Google Glass on your head during the climb! Would love to see a video of that. Thx for sharing, and glad you made the climb safely.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Doreen!

      With all the safety harnesses we felt fine.

      Would have loved to be able to share more of the views with you! 🙂

  2. Joella J says:

    I like the idea of squeezing in a couple more adventures back home before you head off on your travels! Also like that you tries to climb it before but the alcohol limit stopped you haha!

    • Chris says:

      LOL, I’d like to be able to pretend there was little chance it would happen today, but that would be a lie! 😉 Lucky I already had the inside mail on that condition!

  3. Wow! That sounds like an exciting climb—perhaps, the rain was blessing in disguise because it lessened the disappointment over not having your camera. Do they ban cameras for safety reasons or sales?

  4. rachel75 says:

    It’s amazing how many people will live in a city but never see the tourist destinations in their own city, e.g. New Yorkers who’ve never been up the Empire State Building. It seems to me that if the tourists travel to a city to see a particular sight, it must be worth seeing, right?

    • Chris says:


      We’re just as guilty, of this, although Sarah and I do both at times wonder what our perceptions would be of Melbourne as a tourist…

      Given that we were in Sydney for work, the bridge was too good an idea to pass up!

  5. LaVagabonde says:

    Adventure is sometimes in our own backyards. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to climb up there…

  6. Chris and Sarah, that’s fantastic! We stood across the harbor on a gray day with threatening skies and watched a group of people climb the bridge … and we were gobsmacked! Amazing! Congratulations – what a great way to launch your adventure. Wishing you all the best on your travels and really looking forward to the fun. 🙂 ~Terri

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