The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the iconic image of Sydney that has been beamed across the world since it opened in 1932. Every traveller goes home with at least one photo of it, and if you are anything like me several 🙂 So along with admiring it from afar, what is the best way to explore it?
Should you walk across the bridge by taking the pedestrian footpath,? Or go over the top, literally, on a BridgeClimb? Or climb up one of the Pylons on a visit to the Pylon Lookout and learn more about how it came to be in the small museum there.
Regardless of your budget, there is an option for everyone to explore the famous “Coathanger”. So let’s check them out now and see which one suits you best.
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1. Scale the top with a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
While it’s not in everyone’s budget, if you can afford a Bridge climb and are not afraid of heights, then I recommend the sunrise climb. Advance bookings are recommended for the most popular times so think about this before you arrive if you are only here for a few days. There is also a sampler climb for $148 which is an excellent option if you are not sure how you will go with the height or just on a tight budget. It is entirely on my bucket list to do a dawn climb one day!
How long does it take: 1 hr 30 mins for the sampler, 2hrs 15 for the express climb for the super fit and 3hrs 30 mins for the full experience.
How much does it cost: $200-$400 depending on the time of day you want to climb find out more here
2. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon
The walk to the top of the Harbour Bridge’s southern pylon lookout offers a sky-high view for just $15. Better still there are only 200 stairs to the top!
Along the way are three levels of information about the construction of the bridge and some fantastic photos taken of its workers.
Finding the entrance to the museum can be a bit tricky so you might want to check a map before you go. You cannot enter the pylon from the base under the bridge; you need to walk onto the footpath along the roadway. Look for the stairs, or the new lift, located near Gloucester St and Cumberland St in The Rocks; not far from the Australian Heritage Hotel, if you pass the Bridgeclimb office, you have gone too far.
From the top of the pylon, you get 360-degree views of the harbour and a pretty good look at the bridge climbers so if you have a friend climbing the bridge; you can watch them from here.
The best thing is you can bring your camera and take as many photos as you like – something not allowed on the climb.
The only negative is that they close at 5 pm so no sunset shots in the summer. Read my detailed review of the Pylon Museum and lookout and see if you are up to it.
How long does it take: Expect to spend about an hour here.
How much does it cost: Free entry included with Bridgeclimb tickets for everyone else it is $6.50 for children and $15 for adults
Find out more: https://www.pylonlookout.com.au
3. Walk across the pedestrian footpath on the Harbour Bridge
You can walk across the bridge from either direction, and it takes between 15-30 minutes depending on the pace you set. There is a safety fence all the way however you can poke your camera through the gaps and capture shots like the one above.
I like to take the ferry over to Milson’s Point and the wander around to Wendy’s Secret Garden before heading back along the waterfront and over the bridge to the city.
How long does it take: It takes about 30 minutes to walk across the bridge if you include the time it takes to get on the bridge from The Rocks
How much does it cost: Free!
4. Sail under it on a Sydney Harbour ferry, in a water taxi or paddle a kayak
Looking up at the bridge from the water helps you to feel its size and appreciate the achievement it was to build a bridge like this in the 1920s! Regardless of your budget take to the water and gaze up!
How long does it take: The ferry ride from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point takes about 7 minutes. A water taxi usually has a minimum rental fee, check with Sydney Water Taxis. I would expect you need to allow 2 hours to a kayaking expedition.
How much does it cost: From $2.70 for a Sunday ferry ride to $100 for the other two options.
5. Fly Over It
What does Sydney Expert Recommend?
For me, it’s a trip under the bridge on a ferry from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point. Walk around the foreshore and explore Lavender Bay. Walk over to Kirribilli and take the stairs onto the Harbour Bridge and walk across with the Opera House in your view all the way.
As you reach the southern side, you will come to the Pylon Museum which is a perfect spot to get your Harbour photos including great shots of the Sydney Opera House.
Once you are done, you will find yourself in the Rocks. Why not try out my Rocks Self Guided walk and finish up with a nice cold beer in a historic pub.
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