Bridge Climb, Sydney
You've heard about it. You've seen the photos. You're all psyched about doing the bridge climb!! Well, it's about time you cooled off a bit. The climb, unfortunately, isn't all it's drummed up to be. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely an experience, and you learn a lot from the climb leader/tourguide. In fact, it's pretty cool to be able to say later that you climbed the bridge, and the views are very nice. But it will likely be an anti-climactic experience when you're all done with it, when you remember how much you paid for it. The A$175 climb price was just too much for what you get out of it. Especially, if you have visited the Pylon Lookout using the free pass that was given to you when you booked the climb.
Now, I don't want to imply that it's all bad. The Bridge Climb staff are absolutely superb and they make the best of what they have to work with. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and very safety conscious. For the climb itself, you're supplied with a special jumpsuit, safety harness, radio so you could hear the guide easier, a hat, a hankie, a raincoat if rain is expected, and a head light if you're climbing around dusk or later. EVERYTHING is secured either to the harness or to your suit, and you are not allowed to take ANYTHING of your own with you on the bridge short of your underclothes. The only other exception is glasses, and you are given a special lanyard for those that also clips to your suit. Reasoning behind it is that if something were to accidentally fall, it could cause some major damage to cars or pedestrians below. This, of course, means that you will be leaving your precious camera in the locker back at the base as well. So the only way to preserve the spectacular views from up top is to buy one or more of the photos of yourself that are taken by the guide during the climb.
Unique Suggestions: The climb might be worth it, however, if you do it during dusk or at night, but then you get charged even more. Sydney can be quite spectacular at night from up high.
Fun Alternatives: Still, unless you got money to burn, my recommendation is to spend the A$8.50 and go to the Pylon Lookout (see my tip on that) instead.
So what - I've got my Camera with me and you haven't! I've also saved myself A$200 and don't look like a "big girls blouse" and for that $200 you've just paid - you only get to climb over half the Bridge!
Unique Suggestions: Spit over the Bridge and see how long it takes to hit the water!
Fun Alternatives: Climb the South Pylon - It's far more interesting.
For that money you can have "the works" down at Doyles Seafood Restaurant and watch the climbers on the Bridge!
INFO added 23/05/05 - From The Sunday Times (UK) The Harbour Bridge is rated the 3rd overated Tourist attraction in the World. Number one is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
The bridge climb is very overrated. The thing that really got me were all the pictures that are taken during the climb and then try to get you to buy afterwards. The view is great but not worth the price of the climb, and for those hoping that it is a bit of a thrill...it's really not.
The Sydney Bridge climb is great but it ain't cheap. Even more expensive if you do the night climb but if you want some great photo shots and a memorable 'tourist' experience then do it. ''''''''''''''''''''
I just went on the climb last week. It takes about 3 hours because there are a number of safety instructions to run through first. You can't take your own camera because you may drop it on the traffic below......yeah right. Of course the guide takes his/her camera and you have to pay more money for the pictures they take!
Here's a picture of a group of climbers on the bridge. I haven't uploaded my photos yet.
When I wrote my review on the Sydney Harbour Bridge I immediately realised it was too long and that readers attention would probably be drawn to my coverage of the bridge climb, and my recommendation not to do it.
I certainly did want this commentary on the climb to detract from what is one of Sydney’s top sites. Accordingly, I have decided to write here (under tourist traps) separately on the bridge climb.
The main bridge/ summit climb which take you right up to the top of the arch, 134 metres above mean sea level on the Opera House side comes in various packages. Given all the preparatory briefings, etc, etc the ‘expereince’ takes around 3.5 hours. A sampler climb which only takes you half way up takes 1.5 hours (over half the cost).
While I have no doubt the view from the top of the bridge would be spectacular I recommend against the bridge climb for three reasons:
1. Because of what I consider to be absolute rip-off prices (see below).
2. You cannot take your own camera up and apart from a single group photograph included in the cost you will have to pay for additional photos which will be taken on your ascent.
3. You can get good views of the harbour, etc from various other locations at a lot lower cost.
Of course it is up to you to decide if you want to climb it or not so in the interest of fair reporting I will let you know that Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, Matt Damon, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Ferguson, Cathy Freeman, Kylie Minogue and Kostya Tszyu have all climbed the bridge. I doubt if any of these would have been overly troubled by the cost, if indeed they were asked to pay at all.
For those wishing to do the climb.
Bridge climb hours of operation
Daily: Pre dawn to night – so varies.
Climb Costs (November 2015)
The cost varies depending on time of day and day of week and are quotes in Australian dollars.
Dawn (not daily) – watch the sun rise - $353 -$363
Daytime – after dawn to pre twilight - $268 - $293
Twilight - $333 - $363
Night - $228 - $253.
Child rates about 2/3rd adult rates.
Unique Suggestions: Get someone else to pay.
Fun Alternatives: There are many options:-
Walk or cycle across the bridge for free
Take the train across for a few dollars – While the runs on the ‘wrong side’ of the bridge you can still see though to the Opera House side.
Do the Pylon Climb instead for a fraction of the cost – details:
Daily: 10am – 5pm (last entry 4.45pm) –closed Christmas Day.
Cost: Adult A$13.00 with concessions available for seniors, students and children. Note that entry is free if you have completed a full bridge climb.
Like the main bridge climb the Pylon climb has also attracted celebrities – this time in the form of The Cookie Monster and Elmo, Stuart Little, Bob the Builder and Basil Brush!
While I have not done it (as I have not done the climb) you can also take a 30 minute helicopter ride which covers an area much wider than just around the bridge for around A$250 per person. As I have not done it I can’t recommend an operator – there are a few if you google the subject.