Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge
I can determine exactly when and where I first heard about Sydney Harbor Bridgeclimb.
It was the second season of The Amazing Race in 2002. I remember clearly – I was a senior in high school, still out of the peak of my first overseas trip to France the year before, obsessed with all things French, and dreaming of traveling the world .
I remember the season villain – Wil. Yes, Wil with one L. His partner was his estranged wife, Tara, and he spent the entire race spitting on vitriol about everything and everyone around him.
Until the team landed in Sydney and Wil was told that he would do Bridgeclimb.
It turned out that Wil was very afraid of heights. He was so nervous about climbing bridges – taller and taller, above all of Sydney, the port below – which struck him to be silent. He really left without insulting his teammates for more than an hour!
I watched Amazing Racers wearing blue, glued themselves to the bridge by utilizing it, and climbed from the base of the bridge to the top, staring out to the harbor, the Sydney Opera House below. It’s like an amazing experience. At that time I knew – once I arrived in Australia, I would also work on Sydney Bridgeclimb.
Should I Do It?
I wanted to – but when our trip to Australia materialized, I became afraid that I would end up like Wil, too afraid to enjoy it. I have a fear of heights – nothing too extreme, but enough so I don’t want skydive or bungee jump. Ever.
Out of curiosity, I saw the Bridgeclimb page on TripAdvisor. This is rated very high, which is very good, but the most prominent review for me. Review after review said something along the lines that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the bridge climb, but I did it and I WAS VERY PLEASED.
It completes it. I will do it.
I contacted Bridgeclimb staff about doing climbing work and they offered me a free climb in exchange for protection. I then scheduled it on my first full morning in Sydney so I didn’t have to spend too much time worrying about it!
My group consists of 10 people: five Danish students studying abroad in Australia, a French couple, a London couple recently moved to Sydney, and me. We started with the primer on climbing and went to adjust. With warm weather, the staff suggested that we take off most of our clothes and wear jumpsuits in our pants.
We were introduced to our guide, a friendly Australian citizen named Baxter, and suddenly we switched from a collection of global errors to a group coordinated with military precision. This is where Bridgeclimb shines – they run it like an operation with the right time.
We take our place around the metal ring with hooks and take our equipment, tie our eternal rope together when Baxter directs us. Everything has a purpose, everything has orders, and everything is done quickly and efficiently.
Next, the time has come to do the exercises to climb several stairs and surroundings. (There are structures built inside for this purpose.) We practice moving our harness hooks along the lines, climbing stairs, and making sure there are no more than one person on the stairs at any given time.
And it’s time to go up to the bridge itself!
Climb the Bridge
We connected ourselves to a rope that stretched along the path above and around the bridge, and soon Baxter led us down a series of roads, then several stairs. Soon we are ready to start climbing.
Determining? It’s not much challenging, and it’s not scary! It’s like climbing stairs, and there are lots of fences. You have to be quite klutzy to fall. (And believe me, I know klutzy.)
We stopped in the middle of the road and saw the port. At that moment, I stared at Sydney in confusion, wondering how on earth this city, with many strange shaped lands attached to the port, had a public transportation system. (Especially the bus, it turns out.)
Oh, but it’s beautiful! Before the climb, I thought that Cape Town (where I had been) and Rio de Janeiro (where I had never been) was supposed to be the most beautiful city in the world – but Sydney was really on that list. as well. Even though it was a mostly cloudy day with only a little sun, we gawked at various suburbs winding around the sunny blue harbor, skyscrapers dominating the horizon on the right, and the Sydney Opera House itself holding the court.
Looking at the other side of the bridge was even more beautiful – the scenery swirled in beautiful blue and green, dim mountains appeared in the distance.
I like that climbing bridges is a very relaxing activity – we have plenty of time to look at the harbor and contemplative contemplation. I really appreciate that time.
That said, I miss my camera. I can’t believe I’m in this beautiful place without a way to document it. I really understand why they don’t allow you to bring a camera or other personal items – if you drop something, you can cause a car accident on the bridge below – but I hope I keep it with me.
There are some pictures, however – Baxter takes photos of each of us, which are available for sale later.
Baxter tells many interesting stories throughout the climb. My favorite is that the day before the bridge opened in 1932, they had children’s days when Sydney children were invited to walk across the bridge before they opened it for traffic.
A few years ago, Baxter entertained an old woman named Gwen on a hill. He walked across the bridge in 1932 when he was twelve, and he climbed the bridge 78 years later at the age of 90!
On the way, Baxter notices that he looks tired and he whispers to him that he can ride the elevator from the top if he wants. Gwen flatly refused, saying there was no way she could ride the elevator, thank you very much!
Evaluating the Bridgeclimb Experience
When I travel, I make a point to find the kind of experience that I will not find anywhere else in the world – like snorkeling in Silfra’s blue neon waters in Iceland or, more recently, visiting a manufacturer of balsamic vinegar in Modena, Italy, the only cities in the world that can produce it.
Bridgeclimb is such a unique experience. I don’t know anything else like this in the world.
Run Bridgeclimb to climb after climbing all day. To carry out this busy and intense operation, it must be run like a well-oiled machine. And while Australia may have a reputation that deserves to be very relaxed, Bridgeclimb runs with high precision. There must be dozens of employees working together, from guides to people at the front desk to people in the changing area to pre-climbing guides and everyone I didn’t see.
The whole climb is very aware of safety, and I don’t feel scary at all.
Our guide Baxter was fantastic. I can’t say good things about him. I was especially impressed by the fact that he soon found out all our names, even foreign names from Danish students. If Baxter represents Bridgeclimb’s caliber guide, you will be in very good hands.
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But is Bridgeclimb worth the price?
Bridgeclimb is one of the most expensive activities in Sydney: prices for adults range from $ 198-308 AUD ($ 184-287 USD) for most of this year and $ 228-318 AUD ($ 212-296) from December 25 – 8 January.
This is a very expensive activity, but it is important to remember how expensive Australia is as a whole. You need to look at prices differently. Activities in Australia tend to cost 30-50% more than similar experiences in North America or Western Europe, so this is more like the $ 100-200 experience at home. (I will write more about this in more depth later.)
I will say this: Bridgeclimb is a unique experience, a wonderful experience, and they run it very well.
Everyone in my group finished with a big smile on their faces. I met a couple in Uluru who had made the climb before and told me that they wanted to climb the next night. My friend Paul told me that Bridgeclimb was one of the best things he had ever done.
THAT’S a special experience. But only you can decide whether it will make the price appropriate for you.
If you travel around the world in the long run, you might want to skip Bridgeclimb and use the money for, say, three to four weeks in Vietnam instead. However, if you have already saved for a special trip to Australia, I would recommend sharing money for this.
I love every minute of Bridgeclimb. And I really want to go back and climb dusk so I can climb when the color of the sunset is beautiful. Hopefully I can return to Sydney soon!