BridgeClimb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge
01.08.2014 17 °C
THEY say a picture paints a thousand words.
But neither the photographs nor the words on this page can do justice to the spectacular experience that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.
Overcoming a mild case of vertigo and parting with the reassuring firmness of solid ground is worth it for the scenery - which on a clear day allows you to see out to the Blue Mountains on one side and to the ocean on the other.
My friend Fay and I decided that on arrival in Sydney, Australia, one of the best ways to take in the stunning city which never wears a frown was to scale one of its oldest and best-known landmarks.
Built between 1924 and 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is as magnificent in stature as we’ve all been led to believe.
Celebrities who have taken on the BridgeClimb include Daniel Radcliffe, Torvill and Dean and the late Steve Irwin. And if it’s good enough for Harry Potter, its good enough for me.
We begin by getting kitted out in grey jumpsuits, baseball caps we get tokeep, safety harnesses and a guide strap which will keep us permanently attached to the bridge as we begin our assent.
Reassuring myself that “it doesn’t look that high really”, we step out from one of the four towers and onto what our tour leader Sal affectionately refers to as “the catwalk”.
If by this, she meant that you were using up one of your nine lives by walking on it, I’d believe her. Because the narrow walkway feels very exposed as we make our way under the roadway and walk metres above the tiny ant people below.
We are lucky enough to pick a picture-perfect clear day and after bypassing some painting works which are taking place, we are quickly heading towards the middle of the bridge and above the harbour waters.
If nature had a paintbox, the best blues were saved for Sydney’s water and sky. Even now, looking back at these pictures, they don’t even begin to fully encapsulate just how incredibly stunning the colours are.
I try to avoid spending too much time looking at the water however, as it is directly below us and frankly, a little too far away for my liking.
But if like me, you get jelly-legs when the ground is incredibly far away, you’ll be reassured to know that the steps up to the top don’t have gaps between them, so it feels more like walking on something solid than I thought it would.
Negotiating a few security gates and doors, we’re soon onto the main part of the bridge and start our climb in earnest.
To our left is the skeleton of the bridge - huge steel supports interwoven above Sydney’s busiest road and to our right is the Sydney Opera House, which we’d visited the previous day.
A total of 52,800 tonnes of steel, 17,000 cubic metres of granite and 95,000 cubic metres of concrete make up the Sydney Harbour Bridge - a fact which once again reassures me that it’s not about to collapse and send me to a perilous death-by-harbour-shark.
We’ve opted for the Express Climb, but at two-and-a-half hours, it is more than enough time to get plenty of posed pictures (you’re not allowed to take your own camera up, but the tour leader gets plenty for you) and take in the scenery without getting too breathless.
And it isn’t long before we’re doing the final steeper steps that lead us to our destination - the peak of the bridge.
We are welcomed by two Australian flags and the best view you will ever see in your entire life. I could never get bored of looking round and seeing the buildings, beaches, waters and people surrounding us. The word “breathtaking” is banned about too much, but this really was.
Anything I say now will only sound cliche, so I’ll leave you with two words - DO IT.
Contact: www.bridgeclimb.com Day climbs are between $248 and $268 for adults and between $168 an $188 for children. Twilight, night and dawn climbs are also available.