How to Walk Across The Sydney Harbour Bridge
A walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge offers magnificent views of the city skyline and the harbour traffic. It is a popular tourist attraction and a superb choice for a weekend stroll.
Every traveller to Sydney goes home with at least one photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and if you are anything like me several 🙂 So what is the best way to experience this iconic Australian landmark?
Well, you can:
- Walk across the bridge by taking the pedestrian walkway, a footpath offering spectacular views.
- Climb 134 meters to the summit of the bridge’s upper arch on a BridgeClimb, gorgeous at twilight.
- Cycle the path on the western side of the bridge
- Climb up one of the Pylons on the eastern side and visit the Pylon Lookout. Along with being one of the best vantage points in Sydney, offering 360-degree views, the pylon also houses a small museum detailing the bridge’s construction.
The best ways to experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Regardless of your budget, there is an option for everyone to explore the famous “Coathanger”. So let’s check them out now in detail and see which one suits you best.
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1. How to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge footpath
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 slightly obstructing the view; however, you can poke your camera through the gaps and capture shots like the one above.
I like to begin on the northern side, so you have the Opera House view all the way. To do this, take the ferry over to Milson’s Point wharf or the train from Wynyard Station.
Allow some time to wander around to Wendy’s Secret Garden and take some harbour photos from Lavender Bay Wharf before heading back along the waterfront and up the flight of stairs in Kirribilli. There is also an elevator here if required.
How long does it take? It takes about 30 minutes to walk the footpath across the bridge if you include the time it takes to get on the bridge from the Cumberland Street steps in The Rocks or the Cahill Expressway in Circular Quay.
How much does it cost? Free!
2. Walk over the top on a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
While it’s not in everyone’s budget, if you can afford to splurge on a Bridge climb and can deal with your fear of heights, then I highly recommend it. Don’t worry, there is a detailed safety briefing and you will be secure in your harness.
Your climb experience includes a free group photo at the top, a Bridgeclimb cap and a certificate.
We have done a rundown of the current offerings by BridgeClimb. They have changed a bit in the last few years. It’s highly recommended to book a few weeks out if you want to climb at the most popular times of sunrise and sunset.
A dawn climb is on my bucket list!
How long does it take? This depends on the adventure you choose. The full climb experience 3 hours and 30 mins which includes your briefing.
How much does a Bridgeclimb cost? Prices vary considerably depending on the time you want to climb find out more here. There are currently some great special deals.
3. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon
The Pylon Lookout is a great place to watch the harbour traffic and also get up-close shots of the bridge’s arch
The walk to the top of the Harbour Bridge’s southern pylon lookout offers a sky-high view for less than $20. Better still, there are only 200 stairs to the top!
As you make your way up to the lookout, there are three levels of information about the construction of the bridge.
Finding the entrance to the museum can be tricky, so 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, in Cumberland Street in The Rocks; it’s not far from the Australian Heritage Hotel on Gloucester St, 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 early so no sunset shots. Read our 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? There is free entry included with Bridgeclimb tickets for everyone else; it is $9.50 for kids, $15 for students and concessions, and $19 for adults.
When: The pylon is open daily from 10am to 4pm. I expect hours may increase as more international visitors arrive. Find out more on the official site.
4. Travel under it on a ferry, in a water taxi or a kayak
A morning kayak ride is a fantastic way to experience Sydney Harbour. If you can make it to the water before the busy peak hour harbour traffic begins, it can be amazingly peaceful too. If kayaking is not your thing, jump on the ferry.
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! So 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 for a kayaking expedition.
How much does it cost? From $8.04 for a Sunday ferry ride to $100 for the other two options.
5. Fly Over Sydney Harbour
I have never done it cause I am terrified of small planes, but those who are braver than I am, report it to be a wonderful experience.
What does Sydney Expert Recommend?
For me, it’s a trip under the bridge on a ferry from Circular Quay to Milson’s Point. A walk around the foreshore to explore Lavender Bay and Wendy’s Secret Garden. Then a stroll back to Kirribilli, where you can take the stairs or elevator onto the Harbour Bridge. Doing it this way means you 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, 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?
Oh, and if you fancy a bit more exploring, check out this sculpture walk.