Sydney Harbour Bridge: Climbing to the best views

Sydney Australia Harbour Bridge Climb photo on Brads Backpack Travel Blog

Sydney is one of the few places that offers you the ability to actually climb up an icon known across the world. The experience has been voted their number one attraction and it isn’t hard to see why. Sometimes when booking an experience the time of day can make or break your enjoyment. With the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb you can never be disappointed. If you go early in the morning you are treated to a stunning sunrise over the Opera House. But climbing in the evening allows you to watch the sunset over the city. You also descend in the darkness creating a whole new experience. No two climbs will be the same so whenever you decide to go will always be truly unique.

I was originally booked on to do the sampler climb. But this route only takes you a quarter of the way up the bridge. However as the date of my climb approached I was already starting to regret not booking the sunset climb. Many people take the sampler option everyday and for a lot of them it’s enough. As for myself, it seemed ridiculous to travel halfway across the world only to complete a quarter of something. 

Sydney Harbour Bridge Australia

Suiting up

The experience starts with a safety briefing, meeting your Tour Guide and handing out your jumpsuits. There’s no point wearing something cool for your pictures as everyone has to wear one. Each jumpsuit looks a bit like the result of if MC Hammer worked for NASA. Our Tour Guide for the climb was Dash. He made a point of telling us that every group has one person who doesn’t listen and puts on their jumpsuit back to front. That person was me. As I awkwardly shuffled out to ask for help getting out of it I could hear him say “there’s our one”.

After my wardrobe malfunction, we had to have a practice climb before we were allowed out. This was on a rig built inside the centre so that we would know what to expect outside. Using the ladders and safety rail and we all made our way across without issue. So we were permitted to to exit and step out onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Setting foot onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge

As you start the climb you are given a radio and headphones so you can hear the tour guide over the wind. Dash was an amazing guide who was able to answer every question we threw at him and was making jokes along the way. If you are debating which of the climbs below would be best, I would honestly recommend the full Summit Climb. You will find 3.5 hours will go so quickly, and the money is worth every cent as the view of the Opera House is unparalleled. There is no better way to learn all about the history of Sydney and how it was built.    

Blinky Bill Viewpoint

The very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is home to a flashing red light affectionately named “Blinky Bill” which is there to warn low flying aircraft, but also acts as a marker for when you have reached the peak. When you stand under this light you are 134 metres above ground, and your reward is nothing short of spectacular. The view was breathtaking, wind was whipping around me and the city was giving me the most incredible lightshow. I loved watching the boats move across the harbour, and had what was indisputably the best view of the Opera House in Sydney as Dash regaled us with facts about the history of Australia. It was at this point Dash took some photos and videos of me to document our climb, some of which I have scattered across this post.

Before I knew it I was being told that we had to start our descent. There’s a certain level of intensity going down that you don’t get climbing up. A lot of the excitement comes from the part where some ladders between two train lines crossing the bridge. Before we knew it though we were back inside taking off our jumpsuits. I said my thank you’s and goodbyes, and collected my photos. Still full of excitement from the climb, I finished the night off by heading back to the coffee shop to check the photos out and wind down before retiring to my hostel bed. 

Sydney Harbout Bridge Climb FAQ’s

How can I book a climbing experience?

You can book directly with Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb either online or in person.

How long is the climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Climb lengths can vary depending on the type of tour that you choose. I have explained in each type how long they usually take. 

The Summit Climb

The summit climb allows you to climb 1390 stairs and stand 134m in the air. This climb can take up to 3.5 hours to complete, giving you ample time to soak up the 360 Views. This is one of the longest options for climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

The Summit Express

For those who are limited on time, the Summit Express allows you to get to the top and back down, in around 2.5 hours. You still get all the same views as the Summit Climb, however you just get less time to enjoy them. The main difference between the two climbs is that this one is faster and has fewer stops. 

The Sampler Climb

The sampler climb allows you to climb a quarter of the bridge and still see some stunning views. This option is cheaper and more suited for travellers on a budget or who are time conscious. 

What should I do next in Sydney?

Sydney is full of activities to do! But if you enjoyed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, why not explore it from a lower level? Check out the cruise around the harbour with Get Your Guide below. If you book this or any other activity through Get Your Guide using the link below, it won’t charge you any extra but I may receive a commission. All of which will help support me continue to deliver you content.

Can I take my camera on the climb?

No. Cameras, or accessories of any kind cannot be taken onto the bridge, watches and bracelets must be removed before the climb can commence. This is because the bridge is used at all times, and if anything falls it can hit the cars below and potentially cause an accident. Luckily your guide will have a camera with them and will be able to take photos on your behalf at various scenic points, including the Opera House in the background and under “Blinky Bill” the light in the centre of the bridge.

Can I take water with me?

Water cannot be taken onto the bridge, however there are water fountains at various points throughout your climb and descent, just be mindful there aren’t any toilets though. 

Any unique souvenirs?

A lot of main attractions in Australia offer commemorative coins. I liked to pick these up while travelling as they are small and light, and often pretty cheap. But whenever I look at them I can remember the experience in every detail. Another one they provide is a replica of the rivets used to make the bridge. I liked the idea of this as it is stamped and would be the sort of item that people would pick up in the home wondering what it would be.

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