The idea for the Sydney Harbour Bridge dates back to 1815, but work didn’t start until 1923. Famous for its distinctive arch and enormous pylons, the bridge was completed in 1932. This was the world’s widest long span bridge until 2012, and Sydney’s tallest structure until 1967. It contains over 6 million hand-driven rivets and, for each repainting, requires 7,925 gallons (30,000 liters) of paint.
Today, the car, train and pedestrian bridge is an iconic piece of Sydney’s skyline. It’s the centerpiece of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city, with its fireworks display snaring headlines across the globe. The view of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour and surrounds from the bridge make it a magnet for photographers.
Take a 30-minute stroll across the pedestrian path on the east side of the bridge, easily accessed from Milsons Point. Cyclists can ride across using the cycleway on the west side. Those wanting to get above the traffic should book the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.
Offering panoramic views of the city, the BridgeClimb experience is very popular, so bookings are required in advance. Climbs are available in various languages and express climbs are an option for those wanting to maximize their time in the city. The classic BridgeClimb, which runs for 3.5 hours, is the most popular option. You’ll ascend more than 1,000 steps to walk along the bridge’s outer arch on the Sydney Opera House side. Soak up 360-degree views, and pose for photos with your group at the bridge’s peak.
For a less strenuous climb, visit the southeast pylon that’s accessible by the pedestrian path. Learn some of the bridge’s history on your way up the 200 steps to the Pylon Lookout. Three floors of exhibits give details about the design and construction. There’s an admission fee to enter the Pylon Lookout, which is open daily, except Christmas Day.
Access to the bridge from the downtown side is via the Bridge Stairs on Cumberland Street in The Rocks area. It’s a short walk to The Rocks from Circular Quay, the major public transport hub. Metered parking is available in the area, but spaces are limited.