A few months ago Savannah and I were in Sydney and found ourselves with an hour to kill.
It was morning, the sun was shining, and I felt like stretching my legs. So I thought one final walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge was in order before we departed on our year+ road trip around Australia.
Now, you can donate $200+ and climb the bridge (recommended once in your life) where they harness you up and guide you over the famous steel arch, minus your own camera of course because they need you to donate some more money and buy their photograph of you!
Alternatively, you can take the cheaper option and just visit the Pylon Lookout for $11 and get fantastic views plus learn about the history of the bridge.
Or, the much cheaper option is to simply walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and take in the same panoramic views on a lower level, for FREE. It’s one of my favourite free things to do in Sydney.
There are three ways you can walk the bridge.
Firstly, on the Circular Quay side of the harbour you can start from The Rocks District (Sydney’s oldest neighborhood).
There’s a sign along George Street directing you towards a flight of stairs. Once on the pedestrian walkway wander across to the other side and catch the train back to the city from Milsons Point station.
Secondly, you can jump on a train at Wynyard Station in the city and get off at Milsons Point station on the North Sydney side of the harbour, and then walk back to The Rocks District.
Or thirdly, you can start your walk on whichever side you are based and simply walk across and back again.
Because I had little Savannah and her stroller with me, and we were already in the city, I decided to take the train option from Wynyard to Milsons Point and walk back to The Rocks.
Milsons Point station is right across the road from the stairs leading onto the bridge. Just bear in mind that you will have to carry your stroller up the flight of stairs (and down on the city side) otherwise the stairs are no bother at all.
Once you are on the bridge, it’s an easy and safe flat walk via the pedestrian walkway to the other side.
It was just after 9am, so we missed the peak hour pedestrian traffic and had plenty of room to walk at leisure and take photos.
Savannah kicked back in her stroller, enjoying what she could see from her level, and surprisingly fell asleep towards the end, which left me with some serenity and ample photo opportunities without having to chase her from one end to the other.
This is what we saw on our Sydney Harbour Bridge walk:
I have walked several of the world’s famous bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge to name just two, and I never get tired of walking across the SHB.
Smack bang in front of you is probably the world’s most stunning harbour, with the added bonus of a birds eye view of the equally impressive Sydney Opera House.
As you make your way towards the city and past the halfway point of your walk, into full view comes Circular Quay, home of the Sydney Ferries, and the city skyline. On a sunny day like we had, a spectacular site.
The pedestrian footway is only located on the eastern side of the bridge, and to the right of you is the constant flow of traffic and trains which occupy the western side.
To walk across the bridge in one direction as we did, the distance of the span is 504m plus the short additional approaches from the stairways to the start of the span.
If heights don’t bother you and if you’re traveling on a budget and still want to get a taste of what it’s like to be on the bridge, and to see these famous icons up close in person, walking across the bridge is a must.
Hot Tips for walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- If you are only capable of walking in one direction, I suggest you start on the North Sydney side and head towards the city. This way you will have the best views right in front of you (Opera House and Circular Quay) as you walk forwards. Then grab yourself a coffee (or beer) in The Rocks or Circular Quay.
- Sunrise would be the best time as you are not only looking at the sun rising in the sky, but in the direction of the Opera House, Circular Quay and the most scenic side of the harbour bridge. Otherwise sunset would be a close second.
- Either sunrise or sunset is most appropriate for photographs (the lighting will be softer) compared to the harshness of the middle of the day.
Sydney Harbour Bridge facts
- The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932
- Sydney Harbour Bridge is nicknamed “The Coathanger” because of its arch-based design
- The arch at its summit is 134 m high (440 ft) above sea level
- About 79% of the steel was imported from England, with the rest being sourced from Newcastle.
- The bridge is held together by six million hand driven rivets.
- There have been over 4,000 proposals at the summit of the bridge.
- 85-year-old Lloyd Poulton has done the climb 50 times
More tips for your Sydney travel
- What to do in Sydney in 48 hours
- Ultimate guide to Sydney
- 18 free things to do in Sydney
- 15 things to do in Sydney with kids
- Cockatoo Island – camping on Sydney and historic tours
- 10 day trips from Sydney (or weekend getaways)
Plan Your Trip to Sydney
We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights, and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:
- Booking.com has over 500 properties in Sydney including hotels, apartments, and guesthouses. You get free cancelation on most rooms and a best price guarantee. Also, check out these Sydney accommodation options
- Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
- RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
Tours of Sydney
Want someone to take you around the city on fascinating tours? Check out what Viator offers.