One of the most commonly talked about things to do in Sydney is the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb, enjoying a great view of a city and loving a challenge of course I did this!
After much debate and wallet searching, I booked a twilight/sunset bridge climb a month or two before I went to Australia. I asked several friends and they all suggested doing twilight if I could afford the extra $100 for that time slot. I figured I would probably only do it once so I better do it now.
The twilight climb starts when it is fully light out, and ended in the dark. Made a great setting for the city. I did this by myself and thought it was a great activity for solo travelers. You are “attached” to your guide and your group and will have plenty of time to chat with the people around you. I had locals next to me and learned a bit about the city, very handy since it was my first night in the city.
The climb itself was not “hard,” the average healthy person can do this with little or no trouble. You do climb pretty high so it’s not “easy,” but it is certainly doable. There is plenty of time to climb too if you’re not in the best shape. I NEVER felt like we were rushed and had frequent breaks along the climb while groups ahead of us were doing photos. I will say though that my legs were shaking at the end, a bit like they do at the end of a Jillian Michael’s workout.
I feel I should mention the set up of the climb as there is quite a bit that needs to be done to get ready. But, it’s not the most interesting part of the climb. So what do you do? After the Breathalyzer test you put on jumpsuits. After that everything you bring has to be attached to the suit. Sunglasses, hats, handkerchief, climbing gear (you are attached to the bridge during the climb), extra jacket, radios (mostly so the guide can communicate with the group). You go from station to station as a group and get your gear. There is also a section where you get to practice climbing the ladders that are on the bridge. Overall, I felt very safe after all the training and gearing up we did.
The tour includes admission to climb the Pylon, I had stopped in the office before my climb and they gave me my voucher early so I could climb the pylon that day. That was really nice since it was a beautiful day. Though it was quite windy. Between the tour and they pylon I thought I got a great feeling for the work that went into building the bridge.
Is it worth it? I thought it absolutely was, it was a great adventure for me. But I understand it is expensive and some people are afraid of heights. I can’t help if you’re afraid of heights. But if money is a concern, I do think just doing the pylon is a good experience, I’ll have a post about that next week.
I did pre-purchase the photo package, and thought it was a good value, especially since they have a legitimate reason for not allowing you to bring cameras up with you. My guide knew I had the package and took extra photos of me. When the climb was over I was forced to choose only the allotted number of photos from the package (8, I think). When I returned home I sent a letter about that complaining, because frankly, it didn’t cost them any money to give me those extra photos. The letter I got back was wonderful – starting the following day they were allowing anyone who purchased the photo package to have all their photos and they looked up and sent me all of my photos. Before that I was on the fence about the photo packages; but I loved my photos and the experience so much that I highly recommend the photo packages.
If you want to climb during twilight but don’t want to pay the $100 extra, book a tour right before or after the twilight tours and you’ll have twilight during part of your climb.
Leave you’re stuff at home or in the hotel if you can. If not, lockers are provided.
Dump all of your stuff from your pockets into your bag before your group is called, makes it easier when you have to change clothes.
Wear comfortable clothes, you can wear them under the nifty jumpsuit so keep that in mind when dressing.
Book early in your visit to Sydney, weather (hot, cold, wind, thunder) can cause the cancelation of tours. One girl in my group was on her 3rd attempt to climb.
They will give you a hat for the climb, so wait to buy a baseball cap from the shop.
Don’t drink before, they do give a breathalyzer test before you climb.
Drink water before the climb, use the bathroom too. There are a few water fountains on the climb, but you can dehydrate on the climb, and there are no bathrooms – keep this all in mind!
If you want to climb a pylon, wait until after you climb the bridge, a voucher is included.