Even though I spent a whole year in Australia 11 years ago there were still many things that I didn’t do for various reasons usually related to money and this trip was intended to bring almost complete closure to what I wanted to do Down Under. Having been to Alice Springs and Ayers Rock for the first time my mind turned to doing something in Sydney for the first time. I set my mind on climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge and thanks to the better half of my mate Andy I even got a 25% discount which made the final price (about A$150 instead of A$200) a lot easier to swallow.
Not wanting to waste time in my day I decided to do the 9am climb which involved introductions, a video, getting breathalysed, signing disclaimer forms, changing into the suits provided and being equipped with all kinds of things which might be needed. Of course they attached everything in some way and we even had a scan and walked through a detector thing like you do at airports to make sure we had no loose coins or were trying to sneak our own camera on to the bridge with us. We did an indoor practice run of climbing up and down the ladders to prepare us for the ones we’d have to do on the real thing. There’s more to this climbing lark than meets the eye……or so they say anyway!
So after about an hour of all the pre-climb stuff we finally got outside with me leading from the front apart from our female leader Ed (as in Edwina) who was followed by our all-male group. We all had earphones and a kind of walkie-talkie pack so that we could hear her instructions and information about the bridge, harbour and so on. For once I actually took in most of what a guide said which is very rare where I’m concerned.
As for the actual climb it was fairly easy starting off with a few ladders and then a gradual incline of steps leading up the to the top where we then crossed over the bridge before descending on that side of the bridge. I thought it was great but it didn’t exactly quite give me the adrenalin rush I hoped it would other than a slightly nervous shaking leg at the times when I really did stare down on to the road and water below. The highest point of the bridge is 134 metres which is exactly the same height as my biggest bungy jump but as I looked down into the harbour I was sure that I couldn’t do such a thing again!
Of course the “free photo” in the climb package was always going to be the group one which no one really wants. I think we all had three individual or small group photos taken at different points of the climb but the only one that I really wanted was the one above and it didn’t come cheaply at A$26 but it’s not as if I am going to ever do such a climb again is it?!
Part of the Bridge Climb ticket also included entrance to one of the towers which we learned on the climb do not support the bridge structure in any way but are just there for design and to give ease of mind to many people. As we had finished our ascend of ‘The coathanger’ it started raining and quite hard too which was fortunate for our group but it did mean that I got quite wet making my way to the tower where I could actually take my own photos of the Opera House and the rest of the Harbour from up high.
There was a little museum up there with the construction photos and the simple Question & Answer cards being of most interest to me.
Bonus: I’ve still never been inside Sydney Opera House and to be honest I don’t really have any interest in doing so. On another day I was more than happy to spend a lovely sunny afternoon walking from Circular Quay to Mrs Macquaries Point and back via the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Unlike Melbourne I really don’t know my way around Sydney so well despite spending two weeks there at the start and two weeks at the end of my years working holiday in 2001. Obviously its a more beautiful looking city than its rival due to its harbour setting and famous landmarks but I can’t say I’m too keen on its Central Business District (CBD).
Two of the most notable films to have been made in Sydney are ‘The Matrix‘ and ‘M:I-2‘ (a.k.a. ‘Mission Impossible 2‘) and they will have their own separate entries soon. One other movie to have been made in part in Sydney is ‘Superman Returns‘ (2005) and its just ahead of the hour mark (58 mins to be a bit more precise) that Superman is ‘distracted’ by an out-of-control car which was all part of the diversion plan from his nemesis Lex Luthor.
Superman saves Luthor’s henchwoman Kitty Kowalski by the circular fountain (below) on Martin Place in the middle of the CBD.