Sydney Harbour Bridge
Bustling with energy, the Sydney Harbour provides a wealth of cultural and leisure activities. With tourists enjoying the blazing sun, enthusiastically taking selfies in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, spectacular views of the Opera House and the sound of music from live bands at the Opera House Bar the atmosphere is electric. For me It was love at first sight when I first made my way down Elizabeth Street viewing the Sydney Harbour for the first time. It was a hot and sunny day and the bright, blue sky enhanced the beauty of the area. First, seeing the Opera House and then the Sydney Harbour Bridge it was an area I explored in depth. I was there virtually every day, taking pictures and enjoying the sun. The desire to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge was top of my bucket list but I was prepared to wait a few months for the pleasure. As I was away from family and friends at Christmas time, I wanted to do something very special so I was over the moon when I was told it was possible to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Christmas Day. Even though it was a bit more expensive I booked it on the spot at the end of November to ensure I had my Christmas Day adventure! Scaling the Pylon lookout and enjoying the fireworks at the Harbour on New Year’s Eve ensured a lifetime of unforgettable memories.
It was somewhat typical as it was the only day of the week, on Christmas Day, the day of my Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb that it rained! The weather had been boiling hot and sunny all week but as a British guy the weather seemed quite fitting! By the time I had arrived, put on my Sydney Bridge Climb jump suit, and was harnessed up the weather had eased a little and in no way did dampen the experience.
Some people in my group were nervous because they were acrophobic and so conquering the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was quite a challenge. I was too excited to worry about that! Latching on to the Climb Base below the Bradfield Highway you can hear the roar of the traffic from here the first part of the experience is a walk below the road deck until you reach the south-east pylon. So far so good! I had not imagined a climb up giant ladders, but you must climb four ladders to the start of the Upper Arch. For me this was the most nerve-racking part of the climb and the only time I was close to fearing heights. However, I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and just kept climbing up and up and up and up until I got to the top! Challenge one was out of the way! It was a little slippy at this point due to the rain which had fallen earlier but I was not really that concerned – I was on the main arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – on Christmas Day!!
Your harness is then clipped to a safety rail and from here you begin your climb up the arch. The views of the Opera House and the Sydney skyline are outstanding and despite the cloudy weather it was a view I will never forget. The steps are relatively easy to climb and to be honest I kind of forgot about the height. The sensational views anesthetised those lagging fears. Photos were taken at various times as you ascended the arch and there was plenty of time to take in the views and as the climb was as chilled as our Aussie guide, Mike. When you reach the summit, you enjoy a summit celebration and can film a short video. As it was Christmas Day my Summit video was wishing everyone at home a Happy Christmas as you can see below! It was a special moment and one of many memories I will not forget.
After some more photos you cross over the arch and make your decent down the arch on the other side which faces Darling Harbour back towards Climb Base. Enjoying my climb of this iconic landmark in Australia I was thrilled I had conquered the 1,332 steps in three-and-a-half hours. On completion of the Bridge Climb you get a little certificate of achievement, a Bridge Climb cap, group photograph and the option to purchase your own photographs and video. I am always happy to do this as I feel the cost is always secondary to the memories and the experience. My experience climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Christmas Day was something I loved and will never forget. Check the website out to book your own memories of a lifetime.
I few days later, I decided to check out the Pylon Lookout. Entrance is included free with the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and it is worth checking it out for more fantastic views of the city. The weather was hot and sunny again which was great. The four pylons are primarily aesthetic but the south-east pylon has been open to the public since 1934 and is home to the pylon lookout museum which is very informative and it is here where you can discover how the bridge was constructed, learn more about the people behind its design and historical images of the construction, opening celebration and rare video footage. There is also an honour roll which recognises the individuals who worked on the construction of the bridge between 1922-1932 and a memorial of the 16 men who lost their lives from injuries sustained on the job.
I climbed the 200 steps to the top of the Pylon Lookout to enjoy the spectacular views of the city of Sydney and the stunning harbour and the Opera House. There is a unique vantage point to view the Sydney Harbour Bridge and watch the lucky people enjoying the memory of a lifetime climbing the bridge. I was quite jealous when I saw people climbing the bridge as I really wanted to do it again!
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
I got up at 4am on New Year’s Eve – I literally bounced out of bed! I was literally skipping as I was so excited! This was one of the events I was most looking forward to and it was great as I was spending it with a friend who I had met in Sydney. He was born in Sydney and had never been to the fireworks on New Year’s Eve at Sydney Harbour himself, so it was to be an awesome experience for both of us!
We power walked to the top of Macquarie street as we wanted to be in the paved area around the Opera House. The whole area was sealed off and there was a site entry point. There were about thirty people already there, so we joined the queue. At 6am they put us in this holding pen! We were now in Phase 1 – The Sheep Pen! We were sat on the grass and this guy was asleep next to me. He had been asleep since we arrived. When he woke up, he told us we were going to be in the Sheep Pen until 10am. For over four hours I was worried we were in the wrong queue for where we wanted to be…
At 9.30am, after a 5 hour wait, everyone suddenly stood up and pushed forward. At 10 am we entered Phase 2: The Crush! I thought I was going to end up flat on the floor with about a thousand people walking over me but thankfully I managed to stay on my feet. There were loads of Aussie martials yelling for people to calm down. One of the martials yelled to stay in lane 2 for the Botanical Gardens view or move into Lane 1 if you had tickets to the area around the Opera House. My heart sank. We did not have a ticket for where we wanted to go and now, we had no choice but to stay in the lane for the Botanical Gardens. We had no idea where we were going to end up though. We had to go through the bag check and then we hurried forward.
Our worries turned into pure joy as we realised that completely by accident, we had an even better view than if we had been down by the harbourside!!! If you were at the harbourside then if you turned 360 degrees and looked up there is a small park right on the edge overlooking the harbour. We thought it was ‘The Lawn with a View’ ticketed event. We were sat on the grass right at the front directly opposite the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I could not believe we had literally one of the best spots possible completely accidentally!! I could not believe my luck!!
After we were told we could not pitch our tent we prepared ourselves for Phase 3: The Sun Bake! We were right in the sun. I lathered on factor 50 about 5 times throughout the day but I could still feel myself burning! We bought loads of Calypsos which became my new favourite ice cream!
Around 5pm the sun went behind one of the skyscrapers – we praised the lord for some relief from it! Just before 8pm it started to rain which was great as we had spent the day cooking in the sun! The fireworks at 9 were very cool! An excellent start to the evening. There were boats on the harbour all lit up – the Endeavour ship was out and looked spectacular. I still could not believe my luck that I had such an amazing view.
Finally, the countdown began towards midnight and I was excited. Suddenly it was the New Year and the sky lit up. I captured every minute of it on my phone. It was utterly amazing though. It had been worth the wait. The ‘waterfall’ towards the end was probably the most spectacular part but the whole experience was mesmerising. I will never forget it. I can tick ‘New Years at Sydney’ off my bucket list!
I was very reluctant to leave the Harbour after the fireworks! I think if I had been on my own or we had not got so much stuff with us that I would have insisted on staying longer. Even when the fireworks were over, and most people had left I was still enjoying it and wanting to stay there forever!
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