Steel with big rivets surround me as I walk up the steps. As I make my way slowly up the incline, the wind pushes harder at me, I begin to see more water in my peripherals than land and finally, I make a full turn at the top, enjoying a full 360 degrees view of Sydney from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. It took me almost 2hrs but I was finally at the top.
Sydney Harbour Bridgeclimb
The whole climb took me about 3hrs to complete so do spare some time if you intend to do the climb. The whole process was very orderly. Make a booking online and you will be assigned a timing for your climb. At the climb base, you will be called into a room at the exact time of your booking, given instructions on the climb and sign off on all the legalities. You are then given a change of clothes, shoes (if you do not happen to be wearing the right ones like me on that day) and ushered off to another part to be hooked up and given a demonstration on how to climb. You will have a guide at the head of the line bringing you and the rest of your group up and telling you stories as you move along.
For those on budget, I would suggest instead to head to the Pylon lookout which affords the same kind of views for a nominal fee in comparison. The top of the lookout brings you more than halfway up the bridge so views are just as worthy. You can take as much photos as you wish to and walk around the top to get a 360 degree view of Sydney harbour. There are also photos and exhibits on display, explaining the construction in detail so as to understand the enormity of constructing such an iconic structure during those times.
Honestly, the climb was not as challenging or daunting as I had thought it to be. The challenging part was early in the climb as you climb from the lower limbs to the upper level of the bridge. You will encounter stairs and several narrow passageways (thank goodness for my small size!). At one point, you are literally walking over water in the harbour. Other than this, the rest of the climb was a waiting game. It could have been that there were more climbs on the day that I had chosen but we had to stop to let the groups before us get ahead. When we got to the top, there were already 2 – 3 groups up there as well.
Was this worth the amount paid? It depends on your preference I suppose. I personally felt that the climb was not worth the money. Sure, you earn bragging rights to climbing the iconic bridge but when I’m travelling on budget, this is a big amount of money to spend on. Furthermore, I would also have preferred more time at the top to enjoy the view or to take more photos but I was not able to bring along my camera for safety issues and had to settle for the photos purchased instead. Nevertheless, it was still a memorable time spent and I will still encourage others to try the climb if you can afford to do so. After all, I did get a free entry to the Pylon lookout for doing the climb.
Between the two, I felt more satisfied visiting the pylon lookout as I had more time to enjoy myself with plenty of exhibits on display to entertain my curiosity. However, walking up to the top of the lookout can be a bit of a workout as it is about 4-5 floors up (if I remember correctly) from the main reception (more stairs from the bottom to get to this main reception) but you can stop to look through the displays first on the way up if you are so inclined.