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See Panoramic Views of Sydney by Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Published by Bill Lehane, Writer

Country: Australia

The Experience

To see any city skyline at its best, you have to get up high. In Sydney, there's an exciting and invigorating way to do this—the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The experience gives you the chance to drink in the best possible view of the famous Sydney Opera House, and get a panoramic view of the whole downtown area too.

Once off limits in 1998, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb has since celebrated over ten years of operation and organizers say that so far more than 2.2 million people have scaled the famous Aussie arch. More than 2,000 marriage proposals have been made at the Bridge's highest point; and a British couple even got married up there in 2008.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is about a 2.5-hour climb and descent involving scaling the upper span of the Bridge's arch using mostly catwalks and a few ladders. It's less daunting than it sounds when you realize climbers are harnessed to rails on the solid steel catwalks the whole way along.

It takes about one hour to get to the summit of this iconic symbol which stands 134 metres high. The gradual incline of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb only adds to the experience as it gives you a chance to appreciate the amplifying views. At the midway point, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb takes you back down the other side of the arch. This is the best time to take in the view from all angles without having to crane your neck!

Guides are present throughout the 1.75 km Climb to give running commentary on the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and of the Bridge itself. The guides are also there to take photos of all the climbers from several different angles (this can be either a great chance for a breather or an irritating delay depending on your perspective).

The photos they take are offered for sale at the end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. You do get a free group photo of all the people you climbed with—which is likely to include plenty of complete strangers—but bear in mind that you cannot take your own photographs . If you still have more energy by the end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, another route on offer is called "The Discovery Climb," and this will take you inside the workings of the Bridge.

Have the world at your feet and the wind at your back, as you enjoy the exhilarating experience of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb!

When to Go to Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is open 363 days a year (closed from 30–31 December) and operates in all weather conditions. Organizers provide rain gear on wet days and insist that difficult weather adds to the experience! Dawn climbs are offered on the first Saturday of every month if you want to take in the sunrise in all its glory. Twilight and night climbs are also on offer.

Getting there is very straightforward as the Climb Centre is just about a 10 minute walk from the centre of Sydney Harbour. Circular Quay is accessible by bus, train and ferry, and street parking is available on streets around the climb base at nearby Cumberland Street.

While many international visitors will benefit from a generous exchange rate boost, the Climb does not come cheap—prices for adults are A$198 to A$258, and A$128 to A$188 for children. Night climbs are cheaper, but the panoramic view may not be as complete. Higher rates apply for the dawn climbs and around New Year.

Odds n' Ends

Participants of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb must be aged 10 years or over and no less than 1.2 metres in height. Special climbs are also offered for people who with impaired hearing. Organizers say that anybody of reasonable fitness can perform the feat. All the gear is provided at the Centre, and participants should consider bringing sunglasses as the sun's reflection off the water line can be quite intense.

All climbers must take a breath test for blood alcohol levels before they are allowed on the Bridge. There is also a briefing and safety demonstration lasting one hour before the actual climb begins.

Lastly, if this Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is too rich for your blood, there is a cheaper alternative. You can climb up 200 stairs to the south pylon of the Bridge and reach an 87-metre-high viewing deck for approximately A$10. The benefit of this option also boasts the ability for you to take your own camera!

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