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Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

The author during her Top of the World Down under moment.
The author during her Top of the World Down under moment.
Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb

Sydney’s Harbor Bridge is almost as iconic as its Opera House. And 24 hours a day, those looking at the massive steel span can see little antlike figures working their way along the southern side of the bridge arch.
Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge has become almost a rite of passage for visitors to Australia. Even for those of us who are not particularly athletic or fond of heights, it is the sort of thing that goes on the Bucket List. Who wouldn’t want that view?
Reservations are a must and the earlier you book, the better. The tours have been incredibly popular since their inception in 1998. Small groups of 14 people at a time, leave out at ten minute intervals for an incredible experience that lasts from check-in to check-out about 3 hours.
Safety is paramount and from the time you enter the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb Visitor’s Center located in the Rocks section of Sydney, your guide will let you know that while you are there to have fun, the experience is one to take seriously.
The first order of business is a Breathalyzer. If you’ve been drinking, you can count on forfeiting your ticket (a pricey lesson to learn). All climbers are outfitted in jumpsuits and harness belts. Anything loose that could fall all is left behind in a locker. This includes jewelry, wallets, cameras and phones. Sunglasses must be secured with a lanyard that attaches to a loop on your jumpsuit.
Before you head out, your guide gives you a taste of what is to come by having you climb up and down a series of stairs and ladders inside the visitor center. Your harness is equipped with a long safety line with an end that slides into a tube that goes the entire length of the climb tour. Once you slide into that tube, you are attached until you get back down off the bridge.
The hardest part for many is the start itself because you have to cross a catwalk to get to the bridge. You can see the road below the catwalk, which can be a bit disconcerting. That out of the way, you start making your way up a series of ladders towards the Harbor Bridge itself.
After you are on the steel span, the going is fairly easy. You are at the center of the wide steel beam so there is no sense of being too close to the edge. The steps are far less strenuous than climbing a normal staircase.
The guide stops often along the way to give information about how the bridge took eight years to build and was opened in 1932. The amount of trivia you learn about the bridge and Sydney itself alone is almost worth the tour, but seriously, you cannot beat the view!
Don’t worry about missing out on taking your own photographs. Your guide will take pictures of you and your climbing group as you make your way to the top. All of these will be available once you change back into your clothes at the end.
Prices for the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb start at $200 and prices vary according to date and time you are climbing and which other experiences you want to add on.

For more information, visit the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb's website:

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