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“Nice view...but why all the fencing and barbed wire?”

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Ranked #4 of 500 things to do in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Spanning the city center to the North Shore, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a wide steel arch bridge known for its beauty as well as function, providing a crossing for cars, trains, bikes and pedestrians. While the more daring can do the BridgeClimb to the top of the structure, opened to traffic in 1932, anyone can enjoy a walk for free.
Reviewed 17 August 2011

No visit to Sydney is compete without seeing the bridge--it's such an icon--but it is surprising how unfriendly and unpleasant that it feels to walk over the bridge. Unlike my 'home bridge' (the Golden Gate, another icon), the pedestrian pathway all along the water's edge isn't just a railing--it's a 10 foot (3 meter) high fence topped with barbed wire. This is in addition to police officers stationed all along it about every few hundred yards. It felt like a prison. You could only take pictures through a little 8 inch high gap in the railing and fencing. One can pay $$$ to climb the bridge, but this is not an option for families with younger children, and walking to the top of the pylon--apparently hundreds of steps and also $$--is also not really a reasonable option with younger kids. The bridge should be able to be enjoyed by all, not just enjoyed as money-making venture.

Date of experience: August 2011
Thank Notacamper99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10,122 - 10,126 of 12,452 reviews

Reviewed 15 August 2011

The Sydney Harbour Bridge itself is impossible not to see whilst travelling around in Sydeny, but to get the best of it, do the 'Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb'. Book online prior to travelling to avoid dissapointment as it gets quite busy. You arrive to an efficient and friendly welcome at the HQ underneath the bridge in The Rocks. You are then issued your climbing gear, treated to sfaety briefs and a short lesson on how to use the kit. The instructors are very friendly and professional and this short process only took around a half hour. You are then led out onto the bridge and commence your climb! We were in a goup or six + the instructor so the staff to visitor ratio was very good. The instructor tells you all about the bridge on the climb and has numerous annecdotes to keep you occupied. The climb itself is not really a climb - the girders themsleves are abour 5m wide and there are steps all the way with hand rails. Although exhilarating, its physically only mildly arduous - just prepare for a lot of steps! when you reach the top, the view is increadible and well worth the effort. To watch the traffic beneath you is also cool. There are a few climbs you can do. We did the express (2 hrs ish) and we found that to be plenty! Its not cheap (about $180 each) but the expense reflects the professionalism of the crew and I guess the high costs that they incur from insurance. A must do if your in Sydney.

Date of experience: May 2011
Thank cprior26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

TERRIFIC WAY TO SPEND A SUNNY DAY. we walked across and enjoyed every view along the way. Amazing feat of engineering for it's time. Gives one a fine appreciation for the Aussie spirit and competence. highly recommend over the super expensive options like dinner cruises and 'jumps'... This was very worthwhile for us.

Date of experience: May 2011
Thank B V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

Don't worry if you don't have the right footwear and/or if you feel the cold. The guide will suit you up with everything; even down to the handkerchief for the wet noses.

Date of experience: May 2011
Thank Wendyparker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 August 2011

Being quite scared of heights I had no intention of doing the Bridge Climb until I was actually in Sydney. We went up the pylon (if we’d done this after the climb we’d have had a free voucher but never mind) and I saw that the steps along the arch were solid steel and you couldn’t see through them. As my vertigo kicks in when I can see through what I’m stood on I started to think that maybe I could handle this after all. We went to the office to enquire about availability and to be honest, I thought I’d get out of it as we were leaving Sydney the next day but no, they had plenty of availability so in a snap decision we signed up. I fretted for the whole night but I needn’t have been so worried.

As many people have noted this is not the cheapest activity in Sydney but you do get quite a lot for that. All in all it takes around three hours. You start by getting breathalysed then don the fetching gray jump suit with all accessories (gloves, hat, sunglasses etc) securely attached. Then there is training of how the bridge climb works and how you move around the various parts. Then it was time to go. As others have said, the hardest bit is the first part when you are under the bridge as it’s a narrow cat walk though there are bars on either side. From there you climb up some ladders, through the road and emerge at the foot of the arch. I remember singing Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ to myself as I climbed up; there was no better song to fit the situation! Time for picture one. It got a lot easier once on the arch. It’s so solid and safe. It’s also shallow so I didn’t find it an effort to climb. A second photo was taken half way up and then another two from the top. You can’t take your camera with you and I found these pictures to be very expensive seeing as you are already paying a lot for the climb. The whole experience is narrated by your guide who you are attached to (as you are the rest of your group). Ours was brilliant and really brought the history of the bridge to life.

Despite my trepidation I am so pleased that we did this. I have to disagree with another reviewer who think that you can get the same views from the path below. The Harbour Bridge is enclosed by wire fencing and the views aren’t as good; there are also several lanes of traffic and trains so it’s pretty noisy. From the top of the bridge you can see all over Sydney and to the ocean. It’s the sort of activity that you do once but probably wouldn’t do again on a repeat visit due to the cost and time involved but the photo from the top that is now on my fridge never fails to make me smile.

Date of experience: September 2010
9  Thank Smiller2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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