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Are you thinking about embarking on a breathtaking adventure and conquer the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb experience? Then you may want to learn a little bit more about it before you fork out $200+ Aussie dollars for it.
This world-class attraction in Sydney offers an unparalleled opportunity to tick off a bucket list item whilst also getting unrivalled panoramic views of the harbour and Sydney Opera House.
The bridge itself is also an integral part of Aussie history and a master of engineering, standing at a height of 440 feet (134 meters).
Whether it’s a twilight climb, dawn, day or night climb when you wish to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this guide will tell you what to expect and answer the ultimate question; is it worth it?
- History of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Worth It?
- My Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Experience
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb FAQs
- Other popular tours in Sydney
History of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Built as an iconic symbol of Sydney, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was constructed as a way across the harbor, and was first proposed by Francis Greenway, a convict and architect, in 1815.
However, it took more than a century for this vision to become a reality. Construction on the bridge began in 1923, with over 1,600 people working tirelessly to bring it to life.
The bridge’s design is a testament to engineering brilliance. It is a steel arch bridge, spanning 503 meters in length, making it the second longest of its kind when completed.
The first test steam locomotive successfully crossed the bridge on January 19, 1932, and it was officially opened to the public on March 19, 1932.
It has become a prominent symbol during Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, captivating audiences with mesmerizing displays of light and fireworks.
Today, the Sydney Harbour Bridge stands as a testament to human ingenuity and remains an iconic landmark, attracting tourists from around the world to witness its majestic beauty.
What’s more is that only 16 people died during the 8-year construction that cost $13.5 million.
Of the 2 people that fell off the Harbour Bridge, only one survived, a remarkable tale of a quick thinking Irishman who in a moment of not thinking stepped backwards off his ledge to drop 50 metres below.
He realised that he needed to hit the water feet first and managed to do it during the 2-second free fall.
Those watching thought he would never rise to the surface. So shocked were they when he popped back up and swam for the nearest boat, breaking only a couple of ribs.
Sydney Bridge Climb Facts
- Over 2.75 million visitors have climbed the bridge
- The oldest climber to date was 100 year old Mrs Chris Muller
- Most frequent climber is an 84 year old man from Sydney (41 times)
- 4000 couples have become engaged while climbing the biridge
- On The Bridge Climb route, climbers will scale 1332 stairs.
- Climbers will climb a minimum of 1002 stairs (good for the butt!)
Is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Worth It?
When we asked the question “Would you do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb?” on our Facebook page it sparked a lively discussion.
There were a mix of answers ranging from “absolutely! the experience of a lifetime,” to, “no the Harbour Bridge climb is too expensive.”
A lot of people were undecided and needed more time to think about it.
And rightly so. It is a lot of money, but climbing the arches of probably the most famous bridge in the world over one of the world’s most stunning body of water, is a once in a lifetime experience.
Sometimes we have to weigh up the budget with the experience, and, if it will create a lifelong memory, then the budget often has to have a chunk taken out of it.
On one of my trips to Sydney, I had the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and to see for myself whether this was a worthwhile tourist attraction – one that was featured on the Oprah Australia series and is often on the Australia bucket list.
I would have to say I’m pretty much on the fence with whether or not the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is worth it.
I grew up just over an hour north of Sydney. As a child I frequently would go into the city on trips with my parents, walking around the Botanical Gardens and riding the ferry on the Harbour across to Manly.
As a University student, I would frequently go on harbour party cruises at night and crawl the bars in The Rocks as the Bridge lovingly guarded us.
Now as parents, we frequently take our children to enjoy all that Sydney Harbour has to offer.
I LOVE Sydney Harbour and it never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.
BUT, I also think that I am a very good friend of the Harbour. She is a familiar site to me. The first time WOW factor is not really there, nor is the idea that I have to take all of her in as I may never see her again.
So for locals, perhaps the bridge climb isn’t worth it. However, if you know this is your only trip to Australia, then the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is worth breaking the budget for.
My Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Experience
I think that perhaps because I wasn’t seeing this as a bucket list experience, I was missing that WOW factor by my climbing experience.
I did enjoy it, but for the price of $294 – $424 per ticket (depending on the experience you book), I was left feeling a little unsure as to whether it was worth it.
One thing that could have really changed my decision was the fact that you had to pay extra for your single photo at the end of the tour.
You do receive a complimentary group photo but the individual one will cost you another $35 for one photo, and $10 for any additional after…OUCH!
And if you want this photo, this is the only way, since you cannot take your own camera or camera equipment up, which is fair enough.
The motorists below really don’t want anyone slipping and dropping their camera gear onto their windshield.
The safety measures are so tight on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, you cannot even wear clips in your hair in case they slip out and fall.
You are also attached to the bridge with a harness and cord and your climb leaders will give you a full safety briefing before you start.
Your hat and sunglasses are allowed but are tied down to your climb suit that connects you to the cable that runs all the way around the arched climb.
Your bags and belongings can be stored in lockers before your climb.
It was fascinating to climb through the steeled arches of the bridge and hear the stories of its construction and that of the Opera House standing opposite.
I found the views from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge breathtaking and I did see a side to Sydney Harbour I had not seen before.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the whole of the Harbour in one vista, having a clear view of the Government house sitting on the knoll overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Farm Cove and Kirribilli House opposite.
Politicians never want for the best views and abodes in the city!
So yes, to some this view would be definitely worth it.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb FAQs
Now you know what my experience was like, it’s time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the climb…
What if you have a fear of heights when climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge?
I can understand why you might choose not to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge if you have a fear of heights.
I would say that the initial climb under the roadway was the scariest part, as the path was very narrow and you were looking straight down, only a steel meshed pathway between you and the waters below.
I held onto the sides a little tight here and breathed a little deeper. Once you pop up above the road the sense of being suspended high above the ground seems to leave you. The heights did not bother me from there on end.
Should You Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge?
I would definitely consider making the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb experience a part of your adventures in Australia.
The Harbour Bridge is an iconic image of our Australia and the views are something to talk about.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Tours and Prices
The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is open to anyone over the age of 10 years old.
It’s open 24 hours a day, 363 days a year. The earliest dawn climbs depart at 3:15am.
The most common climbing package is the summit climb, which takes three hours and included a fully guided tour to the summit.
You will climb 1,332 steps and reach the 360-degree viewpoint when you can get panoramic views of the harbour.
You will receive a certificate of achievement and a BridgeClimb cap.
This climb takes place during the day, twilight, and at night, but dawn climbs only take place once a month.
The Summit Climb takes you on the steel top, exposing you to the elements, but the Summit Insider takes you inside the cathedral of steel underneath to the Summit, allowing you to get up close to the engineering and see how the structure was made up close.
This tour takes 2.5 hours and also goes to the 360 degree viewpoint. You climb 1,002 steps and also receive your commemorative cap and certificate.
These tours run daily during the day, twilight and night.
The Ultimate Tour takes you across the bridge to the other side. You will first climb along the cathedral of steel underneath, before going up to the viewpoint, and walking across the top to the other side and back again.
This tour takes 3.5 hours and climbs 1,621 steps. This tour only takes place during the day.
Burrawa Aboriginal Climb
Every Wednesday and Saturday you can take the Burrawa Aboriginal Climb. This is a day climb only, and happens twice a day at 09.15am and 1.45pm
As you climb, you get a First National Storytelling experience. The route follows the same as the standard Summit Climb, and takes 3 hours to complete.
Other popular tours in Sydney
Check out some of Sydney’s top attractions and tours below. Click for more options.
What are some other ways to experience Sydney Harbour?
Here are some other ways to explore the Sydney Harbour Bridge without climbing it…
- Experience Sydney Harbour by helicopter
- Sail the tall ships on Sydney Harbour
- Kayaking middle harbour
- Cockatoo Island – cheap Sydney Harbour camping
- Free things to do in Sydney
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So have you, would you, or are you going to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb?