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Mar 24 / Amy

#31 – Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

As I’ve mentioned previously, when I went to Sydney back in 2003, I really wanted to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The iconic “coathanger” is one of my favorite things in the city.  Unfortunately, I was only there for the weekend, and no one from the group I was with wanted to go, since it would take a few hours and we only had the weekend to see Sydney.  I vowed on our departure that I would return one day, and I would not pass on the opportunity to climb the bridge during my next visit, and it was added to my life list.

It’s the “Coathanger”!

So when Josh and I started talking about going to Australia, doing the BridgeClimb was number two on my list of things we *had* to do (number one was spending New Years in the Harbour).  I was *so* excited.  I contacted the BridgeClimb in September 2010 (yes, way ahead of our trip) only to find out tickets wouldn’t be on sale until the middle of 2011.

I remember that I was on the phone with my mom last June when the email appeared stating that tickets for December 2011 were available.  I immediately got off the phone, opened my Skype app, and tried calling their office, but the phone kept disconnecting.   I wanted to order the Gift Certificate package, so we could get a special booklet about the Bridge, but I was convinced I just needed to order our climb, so I did it online.

My mom and dad offered to buy our tickets as Christmas presents, which was a very generous offer, and we were very thankful.  We decided to do the Dawn Climb, so we could see the sun come up over the city AND so the climb didn’t cut into the middle of our day exploring the city.

Tickets were purchased and the anticipation continued to grow.

So when the 28th of December rolled around, I was excited.  Josh was too, though waking up at 2:45 am was not something he was excited about.

We woke up early, got ready, and grabbed a cab to the BridgeClimb location.  We had to be there by 3:45 am, but since we took a cab instead of walking, we got there at 3:30 am.  The cab driver thought we were a bit crazy for getting there at 3:30 am, but there were already people there before us.

As we walked in, we made our way to the counter to check in.  The little café was open, so I purchased some water and raisin bread toast.  I needed to eat something before making the climb!

Once our meeting time was near, we walked upstairs to the meeting area.  We were greeted by a BridgeClimb employee, she brought us into a holding room where we filled out consent forms, took a breathalyzer test, and got further instruction on how the morning would go.

Next, we entered the room where they kept the BridgeClimb jumpsuits.  It was there that we introduced ourselves.  There were 4 people from Australia (2 from Brisbane, 2 from Perth), 4 from London, and then Josh and myself.  After that was taken care of, the suits were passed out.  They weren’t cute, but at least everyone was wearing them.  They took us into an area with changing rooms so we could put our suits on, and then gave us access to lockers to put our personal items that we could not take on the Bridge.  Because of the height, and the fact that people are driving below, they limit the items you can wear and take up with you.

After we were suited up, we met our Climb guide and he started with showing us how to put our gear belt on.  He may or may not have teased Josh in the process (it was funny).  We got our headlights, our hats, handkerchiefs, etc. (see the full gear set here)  Then, it was time to practice the climb.  Inside the holding area, there was a set of steps and ladders that we had to climb and test out how to use the harness cable that we’d be using on the bridge.

Then, it was time to climb!

We got in line, attached our harness cable to the Bridge and we were off!

As we started the climb, our guide began telling us history behind the bridge and how the BridgeClimb came to be.  The first climb was put together for an international business convention, and from there, the idea was born to open the Bridge up to the public.  The first public BridgeClimb took place on October 1, 1998, after multiple safety concerns were addressed.  The Bridge is on loan to BridgeClimb for 20 years, and at that time the contract will either end or be extended.

The view from the Bridge was spectacular!  It was dark when we started our trek up the Bridge, so it was neat to see the city wake up as the sun came out.

Josh is not a huge fan of heights, but he did so well with the climb.  They suggest that you be in somewhat good shape while climbing, but I didn’t feel it was overly tough.  There were a lot of steps though!  To get to the actual part of the Bridge, there were sets of ladder-like steps (like the ones we had to practice on before we went out for the climb).  While climbing them, traffic on the Bridge was whizzing by to the left of us, which added a little bit of atmosphere!  Once up on the bridge, the steel was solid, so you felt pretty sturdy while going up the side of the Bridge.

At three different points on the Bridge, the guide would take pictures of you or your group with the city in the background.  We purchased two (they were a bit pricey, but I wanted proof of our climb!  Instead of getting prints (we got one of our whole group) we purchased digital copies so we could use them as we wanted.

About to head up the arch!

You can find out more about the various climbs here.  They do climbs every day with the exception of December 30th and 31st (while they’re setting up for New Years Eve).  Surprisingly enough, after New Years Eve, you’re able to do the BridgeClimb the next morning because the clean-up is done so quickly.

Seeing the city lights turn off and the sun come up was amazing.  It was totally worth getting up early and the money spent.  If anyone reading this has plans to go to Sydney anytime in the near future, this is one of things you MUST do.  MUST.

What a spectacular view!

Have you ever done the climb?  What were your thoughts?  And if you’ve never done it – would you if you had the chance??


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  1. Rebecca / Mar 26 2012

    I did the regular BridgeClimb back in 2008 and had a blast! Must have been awesome to see the whole city wake up, sounds awesome!

    • Amy / Mar 26 2012

      It was so cool! I’m so glad we decided to do it! There was no way I’d miss out on the chance again!

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