The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most famous icons of Sydney alongside with the Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour and Bondi Beach among others. With its arch spanning a length of 503 meters and reaching a height of 134 meters above sea level, it is truly a sight to behold. Gazing at it from the water in one of the city cruises, you will be awed by its magnificence.
There is however a better view and that is right on top of the bridge itself. BridgeClimb Sydney offers an unforgettable experience of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and seeing a 360-degree view of Sydney in various height options at different times of the day.
My BridgeClimb Experience
I signed up for the original climb experience which started at about 11am and lasted for 3.5 hours. There are also options for 1.5-hour and 2.25-hour climbs as well as choices of dawn, twilight or night climbs. Basically anyone above eight years old, at least 1.2 meters tall and who is generally in good health can do the climb. I booked for my climb through Expedia.
At the scheduled climb time, the BridgeClimb staff gathered our climb group of around 14 people and did the necessary pre-preparation like getting to know each other, signing of waiver, and distribution of climb suits. We were then guided to the changing room where we changed to the given uniforms and assigned designated lockers to keep our personal belongings. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, they do not allow to bring cameras during the climb. You can still bring your spectacles or sunglasses and they will provide you with some straps for these. They also provide caps, mittens and raincoats depending on the weather or personal preference.
Check out below video from the Bridgeclimb Sydney website for the complete gear.
After changing to our BridgeClimb suits, we proceeded to the practice area where we were trained how to use the safety gears and how to make sure we are attached to the metal railings at all times. We were also given headsets to ensure we can always hear the Climb Leader’s instructions. We practiced climbing stairs and ladders as well.
Now we are ready to climb!
The climb itself was not really as exhausting as I expected as we went about at a pleasant pace. We stopped at various points of interest and the guide would have stories and histories about the bridge itself or point out at other landmarks or spots which we can see at a distance. There are also water stops along the way if we needed to drink.
The suits given to use were comfortable and not too heavy for the climb and I felt really secured with the straps and clips provided. There is one continuous metal bar along the climb route from which you attach yourself thru the safety gears at the beginning up to the end. We were always attached to the bridge’s safety line wherever we go! Some spaces were very tight and some steps were quite uneven but overall manageable. My greatest challenge was the vertical ladders and we had to go through around 8 of those! My knees were bruised after the climb as I kept bumping to the steps of the vertical ladders!
It took roughly 2 hours to reach the peak and the sun was shining brightly when we reached the top. Nevertheless, it was cooling due to the breeze blowing from the sea. The Climb Leader explained how you can identify the direction of the wind just by looking at the waters (honestly, I wasn’t fully listening). Although we did not have our cameras with us, we still had our mementos as a few pictures and a short video clip are part of the climb package. Kudos to our Climb Leader for not only being an entertaining climb guide but an excellent photographer as well!
Admittedly, I was a bit shaky nearing the end of the climb. This was not because I was afraid of heights or because I was very tired but because I was starving. I did not eat a proper breakfast that morning thinking I can have some snacks on the BridgeClimb café before the climb, but I got lost and reached there just in time for my climb. Bummer!
Some of my tips for a safe and pleasant climb:
- Eat properly before the climb. Remember, it is 3.5 hours without food, just water.
- Arrive early so you have time to rest before you start. If you are nervous for the climb, take this time to calm yourself as well.
- Wear comfortable clothing and enclosed footwear. You wouldn’t want your shoes falling off the bridge! Besides, during pre-preparation, they will check if you are wearing appropriate shoes.
- Do not climb if you are not feeling well
- Be mindful of other climbers as you are climbing in one straight line.
- Enjoy the experience and the view!
All in all, the climb of 1,332 steps was a pleasant and exhilarating experience and I would gladly do it again.
For more information, do check out BridgeClimb Sydney’s website.