Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge
One of the most adventurous activities to be done in Sydney is the Harbor Bridge Climb. While such an endeavor used to be the territory of a few drunken locals, in 1998 Paul Cave decided to make it official. He swiftly learned that his battle would be uphill, yet expertly came up with solutions to every objection thrown at him by officials. It took ten years to come to life, but it is now one of the top tourist attractions in the city, with celebrities regularly having their photos taken atop the famous bridge.
Our Harbor Bridge Climb
We could see them through the telephoto lens from our room at the Intercontinental Sydney – climbers going up and down the bridge. They went in all weather, sunny and warm or drizzling and grey. In our short time there, we had observed many groups making the climb. Today was our day – intentionally set up the second day after arrival – the first day after we’d had time to rest from our 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney (usually 16-hours but shortened due to tail winds).
We walked over to the Bridge Climb Office through the Rocks area of Sydney, once an early arrival point for colonial prisoners, now a trendy waterfront shopping area. The office is connected to the bridge and includes a small museum, gift shop and training area. Unfortunately all cameras had to be stored for the safety of people on and under the bridge, so no photos were taken inside.
We were called in our time slot group to receive a briefing on the trip, and shuffled back into the locker room to stow our items and don our gear. We received a jumpsuit, sweatshirt, headset for listening to the tour, handkerchief, sunglass holders, gloves and cap for the journey, as well as a harness to be clipped to the safety apparatus on the bridge. We signed the obligatory forms and headed out to the bridge to begin.
Most of the climb was either flat or slightly angled upward, but the trip did include extended steps and several vertical ladders. Our guide narrated the history of the bridge and the climb company during the entire trip, and though we were high up, the sturdy nature of the bridge never made it feel dangerous. The guide did relay the stories of the many who died building the bridge.
Once up on the bridge we were given a beautiful view of Sydney and its many inlet harbors. Upscale waterfront neighborhoods in every direction suggested a clean, high end city – an impression we’d already received from the Rocks and the Royal Botanical Gardens area across from the hotel. A later trip to Manly Beach would further confirm this impression.
At the top of the bridge our guide took several photos of participants, since none of us had cameras. Though I would have loved to have even a GoPro, these photos were a good souvenir. We came down in time for lunch and overall I would say this trip felt adventurous without being too strenuous. There are many stairs involved but they are spaced in such a way to lessen their impact. This trip was leisurely paced so you can rest when you need to – there are some trips which are paced quicker, and some easier trips which don’t include the vertical ladders. I’d describe this day as “mostly cloudy” but clear enough to have a great climb. I would highly recommend this trip to visitors of Sydney.
Bridge Climb Sydney Video: