Harry Potter and James Bond have done it. So have Prince Harry and tennis great, Martina Navratilova. Even Cameron Diaz managed it with her typical glamour and style. Not sure what you are thinking, but I am talking about climbing to the top of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Groups of around a dozen embark on this journey every ten minutes. From afar, they look like trails of ants eagerly beavering towards the sugary-sweet highlight of standing atop this metal meccano giant (at 134 metres above the water) and savouring the luscious view along Sydney’s majestic natural harbour. On clear days, the vista extends well past the heads of the harbour and inland to the hazy Blue Mountains. On top of the world, you can gaze over the ferries of Circular Quay, the patrons of the glistening Sydney Opera House and the stunning Sydney skyline. Below cars hasten across this thoroughfare while trains rattle across every few minutes, bringing a gentle shudder across the entire bridge.
Priced at an eye-watering A$180 (it only costs a car $3 to drive across and it is free to walk across at road level), it is an exhilarating experience to walk up ladders and around the girders and supports of this critical transport link, previously only accessible to the bridge painters and workmen. The price includes a group photo and a certificate to remind you of the adventure.
Initially security seems harsher than at airports, though it is performed with far greater humour and good will. No jewellery, loose clothing, cameras, coins or wallets are allowed and pockets must be empty. You clamber into a pair of less than flattering but comfortable grey and blue overalls and sign a disclosure saying if you fall off, then it is your own fault. Mind you, you quickly find out that it would be difficult to manage as you are permanently clipped onto the bridge. Caps, headphones (to hear the guide’s description and instructions) and sunglasses (and wet weather gear if needed) are fixed onto your overalls. The guides jauntily describe data about the bridge such as the bridge contains over six million rivets.
Stepping through a metal detector to ensure that you really don’t have any secreted metal objects and a breathalyser test is conducted to ensure that you are sufficiently sober to climb (you must meet the same standard as a driver of a car), a final briefing is offered before you embark on the climb.
The entire tour runs for around three hours and is a treasured way to experience this most elegant travel wonder and view the glistening blue waters of Sydney Harbour. After all Harry Potter and James Bond would only see Sydney in the best possible manner!
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