Saturday 14th August 2016
Climbing the Harbour Bridge in Sydney has been on my bucket list since forever and yesterday we finally got around to going. I’d heard that they weren’t too keen in offering refunds if you turned up to climb and the weather was shoddy and knowing how disappointed I’d be if I hadn’t done it in glorious weather, I was waiting for perfect conditions. And it’s pricey, $293 kinda pricey, so I was waiting until a time when I knew I could afford to blow that kind of cash. But finally, we were rolling in the cash thanks to recent tax refunds and the weather had been good all week and supposedly here to stay and so on Friday I bit the bullet and booked a Saturday afternoon tour.
And it was BRILLIANT
Bridge Climb – The Facts
- Cost: Prices for the Bridge Climb differ based on the time that you chose to climb, what time of year you climb and whether you want to climb on a weekend or weekday. Lower prices are also offered for children. Prices also depend on which Climb you choose from the options below, but prices can all be found here.
- Climb Options: There are three options for the climb; The Sampler, which takes 1 and a half hours and only ascends to the lower arch of the bridge, Bridgeclimb Express, which goes to the full height of the bridge but with fewer stops and at a quicker pace and finally, the most popular choice, the standard Bridgeclimb, which takes you to the full height of the bridge over the course of around 3 hours, giving you time to fully soak in the views and learn about the history of the bridge from your guide.
We arrived a little early for our 2:15pm tour and were told that there was space on the 1:55 tour which we were fine with. We were ushered upstairs to wait for the time slot at which point we were taken in to be breathalysed and sign our lives away in health and safety terms. We had lucked out and managed to get a group of only 9 (max is 14, which guides had told us does feel like a considerably larger and less personal group), all lovely people who we were then asked to do a small ice breaker with; introduce ourselves, where we were from and why we were here. Our group was myself and Ben, two Canadian sisters, two Aussie friends, a Canadian girl travelling alone and an older couple on holiday from Cardiff. Everyone was very friendly and we were soon bonding over our travel plans and cracking jokes. Our guide was the lovely Ian and he soon had us into Bridge Climb jumpsuits and attached to an array of belts and pulleys, adjourned with clip on hats, fleeces, radios and headsets, with optional handkerchiefs and beanie hats on offer too.
Then it was time to have a practise at climbing up and down the ladders to check that we could do it safely and after a final run over of the safety guidelines we were off! Ian led us up the stairs, ladders and walkways until we reached the final climb to the top of the main arch of the bridge. Pictures were took every 15 minutes to ensure that we had plenty to chose from with every possible angle of the bridge covered and we even got to do a mini video (where I waved like a fool for my parents, Ben shook his head in embarrassment and then I pointed the wrong way for the pan around) which was emailed us after for free. Ian the guide was so knowledgable throughout, pointing out places we could see in the view, giving us Opera House and Harbour Bridge history and facts and keeping us all laughing. The history behind the bridge being built is so interesting and the thousands of men that worked in such (now seen as) unsafe conditions (no hard hats, no work clothes, no work boots, no attachments to the bridge whilst working on it, to name a few) it’s hard to believe that only 16 men gave their lives, with only two actually falling to their deaths. One amazing story is that of one man, Vincent Kelly, who fell from one of the middle arches but, being a keen high diver, knew how to angle his body so to cause the least amount of damage. He was found with his work boots split and up around his thighs but otherwise unscathed, walking away with only a few broken ribs. Apparently he was given a gold watch in thanks and was back to work within the fortnight. Brilliant!
Overall we really loved doing the climb. I bought the photo of us overlooking the Opera House as a keepsake, and we also got a certificate and group photo included in the ticket price.
Also included in the ticket price was entry to the Plylon lookout, meaning we could take our own camera to almost the same height as the heighest point on the bridge to get a photo. We didn’t have time to go after our climb so went on Sunday arvo for a looksy and really got a chance to take in and appreciate the structure of the bridge. It’s so impressive that John Bradfield had the insight to build a bridge that could withhold 6 lanes of traffic, plus train rails and a public walkway at a time when Sydney housed just 6 motor cars in the whole city. He wanted the bridge to withstand the test of time and here it is, 85 years later doing just that. Clever man! I’ve had a brilliant weekend and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to tick another thing off my bucket list. What’s next?!