Review: Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb takes guests to the top of the world

An estimated one million Sydneysiders turned out to witness the official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. Since 1998, three times that number have climbed the 1,332 steps to the top of the iconic steel arches with BridgeClimb Sydney. Don a onesie and and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Review: Vanessa O'Hanlon

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

5 stars

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb with BridgeClimb Sydney

Experience the incredible Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Get amazing views and learn all about the history of Australia’s most iconic structure, as you climb the 134-metres to the top of the world-famous arches. Duration: 3.5 hours (approx.)

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

I’ve admired its beauty and grandeur from practically every angle, and today my adrenaline is sky high as I add a tick to my bucket list by climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

BridgeClimb in Sydney began conducting Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb tours in 1998 and I clearly remember the first time I saw the lemming-like line of tiny figures filing over those grand arches. As I stood watching from below, I had no idea who they were or what they were doing, but I knew one day I would follow in their footsteps. I too would scale the great heights of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

My adventure coincides with a mid-winter weather break; not a cloud in the sky and 19.5 degrees at the summit. It also means we have to strip down to our underwear, but fortunately for those below we are given a jump suit to wear over the top.

My fear subsides a little when our guide Alex informs us that there is virtually no wind today. Nerves at ease, I breathe a sigh of relief, until I see my reflection in the mirror. Standing in an oversized grey and blue onesie I look like a cross between a train conductor and a Trekkie!

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sydney Harbour Bridge Visitor Centre. Image courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney

All my essentials are clipped on to my suit: a hanky (just in case!), hat, sunnies, headset and a device that will attach me to the safety cable that runs all the way to the top.

I have chosen the three and half hour BridgeClimb tour. You can take the express option, but today I want to savour the moment; I want to spend as much time as I can exploring this incredible piece of architecture whilst soaking up the vast views.

All six of us on this Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb pass the Breathalyzer test. Alex guides us through a comprehensive safety routine that includes practising on a purpose-made climb simulator.

Besides looking out for our safety, Alex is full of entertaining stories and historical facts about the bridge. He also has a knack for keeping us in suspense. Vincent Kelly, an Irishman, fell while working on the road level construction. Right at the pivotal point to the story Alex advises us that we will have to wait until we get back down to the position where he fell to find out how it ended.

It was worth the wait. Vincent survived but sadly sixteen of the 1,400 men who worked on the bridge died during the course of construction; surprisingly though, only two deaths occurred from falls.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

We take our positions. I’m second in line behind Connor from Ireland, who is travelling through Australia for a month. I take that to mean I am the second bravest, although I doubt I am giving out that vibe as I hold on tight to the handrail.

Steadily, one foot in front of the other, I begin to climb carefully up the steep stairway. Just when I think my nerves are at ease, I come out at road level as a car whizzes by. I feel like ducking back down the stairs, but the rest of the group are hot on my heels.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Fondly known by Sydneysiders as ‘The Coathanger’, this engineering masterpiece was completed back in 1932 during the Depression. At the time it cost an incredible four million dollars. Close up its beauty is incomparable: grey granite covers the pylons and six million rivets have been symmetrically placed. And although it holds the record for the largest steel bridge in the world, there will always be a slice of disappointment that it is not the longest.

With every step of this Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb the views become more spectacular. Below, the glittering blue harbour and the hum of Sydney’s Bradfield Highway; to my right the Opera House with its sails shaped like orange slices; and above, the giant steel arches. As the warmth of the sun bounces off my shoulders I can feel myself relaxing, taking in the 360 degree panorama.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Image courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney

Alex turns off the microphone and despite all the commotion far below, it’s a quiet stroll along the outer arch to the top. And I can’t help but wonder why it took me so long to climb an icon so close to home.

Vanessa travelled as a guest of BridgeClimb Sydney.

Cover image courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney


Vanessa O'Hanlon

About the writer

Vanessa O’Hanlon is an Australian television news presenter with the Nine Network and an avid traveller. Her travels began with a flight to Egypt, a visit to the pyramids and a camel ride and instantly she knew there was no turning back. Since then Vanessa’s backpack has seen a thing or two, from discovering relatively untouched Bhutan to bracing the cold winds on the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro. Her travel tales span nearly 50 countries. Combining a love of writing, photography and exploring the unknown, Vanessa is pleased to share her adventures with The Big Bus tour and travel guide readers.

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