The best way to experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge is from right at top and those who attempt the climb are rewarded with the most beautiful view across the Sydney Harbour.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge – affectionately dubbed the Coat Hanger by the locals – not only dominates the city’s harbour landscape, it is also an important icon for the city’s history.
When I was invited to climb the bridge, I wasn’t told I would be required to strap myself in. Dressed in overalls with clips and straps all over me, I wondered if there was there a chance I had accidentally signed up for skydiving instead.
“The left hook needs to come around your waist to be clipped on to the right shoulder strap,” said our guide, demonstrating fluent movements fit for an airline safety demonstration.
We have already changed out of our day clothes into supplied BridgeClimb overalls, and we are now practicing the manoeuvres that would assist us with preventing a slip when we eventually attempt the real thing.
Let’s just say, safety is the number one concern here at BridgeClimb.
“Remember, one step at a time. No skipping. Solid footing per step. Yes, one, two, one, two… ” and thus continued our rather military like practice, as we replicated the instructions on the life-sized replica of one of the bridge’s mesh paths.
Preparation was all part of the experience, and the longer the course went on, the more our anticipation built as we waited for that last ‘okay’ before we headed out – for real this time, into the tunnel to ascend the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Reaching The Summit
Fully suited and equipped with an ear phone, we stepped out on to the steel platforms. For the first few minutes we seemed to be walking through the service passage surrounded by cold bricks and cool metal, and between the steel works we had glimpses of The Rocks area where the market was in full swing and people have settled along the water’s edge for picnics and a relaxing family day out.
Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932 and like the Sydney Opera House across the water from it, has been the poster girl of Sydney since then. From where I was standing, I gasped in awe at the magnificence of the bridge’s architecture, where the 52,800 tonnes of steel works are held together by nuts and bolts the size of my open hand.
Our guide’s voice accompanied our journey, filling our earphones with structural facts, information about the bridge’s construction and many of its historical anecdotes. We emerged between traffic lanes seven and eight, and step by step we ascended toward the summit, stopping once in a while to admire the view.
Around 50m below my feet the daily Sydney traffic zoomed across the bridge from both ends, although at this height the only sound I could hear was the wind whistling in my ears. I felt a sense of achievement as I took the last steps to the top and with the glittering waters of Sydney Harbour on my left and right hand sides I had a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. It was all the clichés it could be: glorious, majestic and stunningly beautiful.
They say time flies when you are having fun. After lingering for a little while on the summit and posing for the official BridgeClimb photographs (no personal possessions could be brought on the climb), we crossed the mid-section of the bridge and began to descend. We took our steps slowly; eyes on the horizon, hoping the experience would last just that minute longer.
Back down to Earth, we stripped off our equipment and collected our belongings. Each of us was presented with a certificate as a souvenir and the opportunity to purchase photos from the climb. Members of the group shook hands, glad to have the opportunity to experience this Sydney icon together. No one spoke but the smiles on our faces proved that we were all thinking the same thing – ‘that was the climb of my life’.
Feature Image: CC2.0 by thegirlsny