The Wimp’s Bridge Climb…

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If you have $200+ and nerves of steel you can climb over one of the Harbour Bridge Arches..     If you have neither, you can take the wimp’s climb to the top of one of the Pylons.

Sunday was a beautiful day and I was able to drag the manservant away from astrophysical stuff and head off to Sydney Harbour.   As this was going to be a strenuous activity we fortified ourselves with breakfast in The Rocks first:  (the bridge is just peeking through at the end of the street)

The manservant had a proper breakfast of bacon and eggs while I went for the more high energy apple strudel: 

And then we headed off to the bridge: .

Plenty of wire stops those of us who might be tempted to jump over – either onto the roadway or into the water:

There are 200 steps from the pylon entrance (road level) to the top  – they are open metal, and although this photo is looking upwards, if you looked down you could see a lot of open space which made me a little giddy (an excellent indication that I would not be able to do the arch climb!!)


About a third of the way up (70 steps actually) there is a little historic display with info about the building of the bridge.   No “charming attendants” today, just a couple of guys sitting behind computers at a counter; no pashometer and no telescopes!

A gold watch must’ve been a really high priced commodity way back then – but what a way to get one!:

This handy little device is about half way up the climb  – luckily we did not need to rip it off the wall:

200 steps later we came out onto the pylon lookout – at this point we are 87 metres above the Harbour.  The arch is 134 metres above the water.   There are 6 million rivets holding this bridge together!!  Apparently welding of the 1920’s was considered too unreliable and nuts & bolts were too expensive.   Work started on the bridge in 1924 and it was completed in 1932  –  7 years and 356 days.

Here are some arch climbers – they look like ants on the right hand side:

The views from here were fabulous  – though I’m sure they are better from the top of the arch you are not allowed to take a camera with you on that walk (another reason for me not to go LOL)….     This is the city of Sydney  –  the roadway on the right is what goes over the bridge – not much traffic on a Sunday but it is clogged on work days:
Of course when you are up there you have to take shots of the Opera House: 

Ferries & boats coming into Circular Quay:

From up here you really get an idea of how big Sydney Harbour really is.   The Harbour holds 500 gigalitres of water apparently …  this is also quoted as being 400,000 acre feet.   Whatever, it is a bloody lot of water!

This is the view towards Parramatta – one of these waterways is the mouth of the Parramatta River: 

This is the view towards Darling Harbour,  Anzac Bridge  –   the sky was looking really cool here:

This is something well worth doing if you ever visit Sydney and I think it must be a little bit of a well kept secret because there were hardly any people up there at all….   it costs $9 each.   My father took us up here in the early 70’s  – the walk up was not on fancy steel stairs then but I bet I climbed it  little easier!  Mind you, my mother would not have let me eat a breakfast of pastry back then!!

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29 responses

  1. Wow! What an awesome day trip Aussie May! You got some gorgeous pictures. I don’t think I would have ever made the first two hundred steps let alone tried climbing the arch. Great post! I really enjoyed it! You could make a living just traveling around and doing posts of great places to see.

    • It was great once we got to the top of the Pylon – because you sort of look outwards to everything you don’t notice the height. No way would I ever be able to go over the arch though – not enough solid walls around me!

      • Some of that queasiness has nothing to do with a person’s fear of heights, but because of problems with the inner ear. I do not have a fear of heights, a respect but not a fear, but I have found that I my inner ear/balance issues can cause problems for me at certain, albeit extreme, heights.

        I imagine that the differences in air pressure/concentration could also be a cause for some people to be squeamish.

        Just thought I would throw that out there so that everyone could have something other than fear to blame for not being able to handle heights.

  2. For years they’ve been threatening to put steel mesh above the rails of the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent people from jumping off to commit suicide; but it’s usually stopped by locals who say the mesh will ruin the view of the city and bay from the bridge. Judging from your photos however, it looks like your view was just fine with the metal “cage” around you.

    Myself, I’d rather have more mesh around me. I get unnerved by the high winds on bridges and by the feeling I’m going to be swept off.

  3. These are all such wonderful photos. No way would you get me up there climbing like an ant on the top without my camera. No way would I leave my camera behind.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah….no way no how under any circumstances would I want to go up there like that. I’m such a chicken.

  4. I would also go with the strudel…YUM! What fun, climbing bridges. And as much as I love natural beauty of the world, I love the last photo with all the roads.

  5. I would love to do either climb, but I would be disappointed about not being able to tale a camera on the higher up climb (but I understand the precaution).

    My sister is a travel agent and she was able to go to Sydney and she did do the climb up to the top. She had to wear the jumpsuit and the harness, the whole deal.

  6. I wish I’d known a few years ago about this alternative to the bridge climb; I was in Sydney in, I think, 2007, and would have done it if I’d been aware of it.

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