Sydney Bridge Climb: Photos, Tour Options & Is It Worth It?
The Sydney Bridge Climb is one of the top attractions in Sydney, Australia. Scaling this bridge and enjoying the views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House makes for an unforgettable experience.
During our second visit to Sydney in May of 2023, we decided to experience this amazing bridge up close by climbing the bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney.
In this guide, we share with you everything you need to know about how to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney. There are several tour options to choose from, with a wide range in price and time commitment, and we’ll let you know which ones we think is worth it.
This guide was written by Adrien Peregoff and edited by Tyler, who spent 3.5 months in Sydney during a study abroad semester. Adrien visited Tyler during this time and as you’ll see in the photos, Tim and I did the bridge climb with them.
Interesting Facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Opening to the public in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The roughly 1,150 meter (3770 foot) bridge connects The Rocks neighborhood in Sydney’s central business district (CBD) to Milsons Point in the North Shore area.
This stunning bridge was the brainchild of famous Australian civil engineer John Bradfield and was heavily modeled after the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City. With materials provided by Dorman Long, a steel producing firm from the UK, the Harbour Bridge took almost 9 years to build. The bridge’s many extravagant arches consist of approximately 50,000 tons of steel that is held together by 6 million steel rivets.
As of 2023, it is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world and its appearance has earned it the nickname “The Coathanger.”
Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset. If you look closely, you can see climbers on the summit of the bridge.
Sydney BridgeClimb Tour Options & Cost
BridgeClimb Sydney is the official tour operator for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. There are several different climbing routes and each one is described below. Prices vary depending on the time of day you complete your trip.
Time: 3 hours
Climb: Out-and-back on the upper arch
On the Summit climb, you climb out-and-back on the upper arch of the bridge to the summit. This climb takes about 3 hours. The price for this package depends on what time of day you decide to go.
Day (8am-3pm): Adult $344, Children $149
Twilight (2pm-4pm): $394, Children $149
Night (4pm-5pm): $294, Children $149
Time: 2.5 hours
Climb: Out-and-back in the lower arch, with a view from the summit
This shares a similar route as the Summit climb, but instead of climbing on the upper arches of the bridge, the Summit Insider climb takes you through the lower arch of the bridge. On this climb, you get to close up views of the metal arches and the street below. You will have a view from the summit on the upper arch, before you climb back down the lower arch to the starting point.
This climb takes about 2.5 hours. We recommend this package for those that aren’t the best with heights.
Cost: Same as the Summit package
Time: 3.5 hours
Climb: Entire span of the Harbour Bridge, both on the lower arch and upper arch
The Ultimate climb is a full bridge climb with two summits. This climb is a combination of the Summit and Summit Insider packages.
As you walk/climb across the bridge, you will walk on both the lower arch and the upper arch, enjoying the view from the summit twice. This experience takes you from one end of the bridge to the other, and back again.
It’s the longest climb offered with the most steps, but you get the full experience. Plus, this is the only tour option where you get to walk the full length of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
This package is only available Fri-Sun from 9 – 11 am.
Cost: AUD $364 adult, $189 child
For our Sydney Bridge Climb journey, we did the Ultimate climb to get the full experience.
Time: 3 hours
Climb: Out-and-back on the upper arch
This climb is identical to the Summit climb, however, this tour is centered around the Aboriginal stories of Sydney Harbour. The climb is led by a First Nations Storyteller and is usually only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 am and 1 pm.
Cost: AUD $364 adult, $189 child
The view of Harbour Bridge from the South Pylon. In this photo, you can see climbers on the upper arch of the bridge.
A closer view of the climbers. If you have a fear of heights, this climb is still manageable. The steps sit within a wider section of bridge so you don’t have a drop off right next to the staircase.
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
This is an overview of our experience on the Ultimate Sydney Bridge Climb from start to finish. Cameras are not permitted on the BridgeClimb experience, so our photos are limited to those taken by Sydney BridgeClimb during the tour.
Check-In & Getting Geared Up
The BridgeClimb Sydney office, called the Climb Base, is located within one of Sydney Harbour Bridge’s smaller pylons, at 3 Cumberland Street, in The Rocks. We booked our climb for 10 am and we arrived an hour beforehand to grab a bite at the BridgeClimb cafe and gear up.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Plan on arriving 15 minutes before your tour time, to allow enough time to check-in and sign the safety waiver. We arrived earlier so we could have breakfast at the café.
Once our hunger was satisfied, we headed up to the equipment area where we met our guide and the rest of our group, which totaled roughly 15 people.
We were given brief introductions and got breathalyzed to check that we were all below .05 BAC. Yes, everyone will be breathalyzed before beginning the climb as a safety check, and you will not be able to participate if you fail the test. Remember this fact the night before your booking (and the hours leading up to your climb)!!
We changed into our stylish blue BridgeClimb jumpsuits, put all of our personal belongings in lockers, and went through a metal detector. You will not be permitted to bring anything with you, and on this list are watches and cameras. The metal detector will pick up anything you try to bring with you.
It was now time to get equipped with our climbing essentials! After putting our harnesses on, we were given a wide variety of gadgets to clip to our climbing gear. On a tour you’ll be given a water bottle, handkerchief, rain jacket, hat, radio, headset, and straps to attach your sunglasses to your gear. We had so much equipment on our jumpsuits that we felt like the Ghostbusters!
It took about 45 minutes to get into the jumpsuit and harness for the climb.
Here we are in our stylish jumpsuits and harnesses.
On the First Catwalk
Regardless of the tour you take, the first part of the walk is on a catwalk under the road of the Harbour Bridge.
You will clip your harness into a metal wire that spans the length of the bridge. This first 15 minutes of the walk is completely flat and straight, so it’s a good spot to get accustomed to your harness and the elevated walkway.
Looking out to our right, we could see the Opera House and Circular Quay. Below us lay the Dawes Point Reserve park as we crept up to the bridge’s southern pylon.
Expect to travel at slow speeds for the duration of your climb. Part of your gear includes a safety cord that’s locked into a metal safety line that traverses the length of the bridge. You’ll have to slide this cord as you walk, which sometimes can get caught at junctions between safety lines. It’s a minor worry that, for the most part, you won’t have to think about. It’s a skill that you’ll have perfected by the end of your climb!
Once we made it to the South Pylon, we began the climb up the lower arch of the bridge. At this point, we were on the side of the bridge which faced the Opera House. While climbing, our guide would tell us interesting facts regarding Sydney’s history and the Harbour Bridge while we traversed through the narrow catwalks.
At times, you’ll find yourself fitting through tight spaces that run underneath the bridge’s road, but for the most part it’s a calm walk with plenty of space to move around.
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
A few minutes after passing through the southern pylon, we began our climb up the lower of the two arches. We had our first photo spot about halfway up and enjoyed a mini break from stair climbing.
After another 10 minutes of climbing, we reached the peak of the lower arch. Here we crossed over the road and climbed a steep but brief staircase to access the upper arch and the bridge’s summit.
Upon reaching the summit, we stopped to briefly enjoy our views and indulge in our second photo opportunity, this time featuring Luna Park in the background. The great thing about the Ultimate package is that you are treated to views of the city from both sides of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Overlooking Luna Park
From the summit, it was a slow 20-minute walk down to the northern pylons, which acted as our halfway point. We crossed back over to the side facing the Opera House, and after stopping for a brief water break, began our climb back up to the summit.
After climbing up what seemed like an endless staircase and learning about the millions of rivets used to hold the bridge together, we once again reached the summit and had our third and final photoshoot, this time with the beloved Sydney Opera House in the background. Afterwards we crossed to the other side of the bridge via a catwalk and headed back down to the lower arch. With no more stops, it was roughly a 30-minute walk before reaching the equipment room and the end of our expedition.
The view from the summit. Photo courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney.
Our adventure was over, but we still had to disassemble our massive climbing kits. We put each piece of equipment back in their corresponding bins, and even got to keep the hat that they gave us, which was a nice souvenir. We bid farewell to our group and our tour guide, received our picture package, and left after a much-needed bathroom break!
Choosing the Best Bridge Climb Option
Although opting for the Ultimate package gave us the most comprehensive climb and the opportunity to learn the most about the bridge’s history, the experience felt repetitive at times. The walk to the first summit was filled with new views and interesting facts, but the walk to the second summit and back down was mostly filled with the same views that we saw on the way up.
Because of the repetitiveness, length of time, and price of the Ultimate experience, we recommend that most book the Summit or Summit Insider climbs. Both of these climbs are action packed from start to finish and should keep you entertained the entire time.
When choosing between the Summit or Summit Insider packages, it’s just a matter of preference. If you’re someone who wants to see the amazing architecture of the Harbour Bridge, then the Summit Insider package may be right for you. If you just want to get some great views of the harbor, then pick the Summit climb.
Additionally, we recommend choosing the Burrawa-Aboriginal Climb for those who want to learn about the history of Sydney from a First Nations Storyteller.
The view of Luna Park from Harbour Bridge. Photo courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney.
Things to Know Before You Go
There are minimum health and safety requirements each climber must meet. For example, climbers must be 8 years or older, at least 1.2 meters tall, and have a blood alcohol reading under 0.05. Get the full list on the official website.
Your climb will take place even if it is raining. However, things like lightning and high wind can cancel tours.
Wear comfortable shoes with laces, light clothing (we all wore shorts and T-shirts under the jumpsuit), and sunglasses. You will not be permitted to wear a watch or Fitbit on the climb, so you won’t get to log your steps, unfortunately. Anything not permitted on the climb will be stored in a locker.
If you have medication you must have with you, your climb leader will carry it for you.
Once you are in your jumpsuit, you will not be allowed to go on a bathroom break (not until the climb is over). Make sure you use the toilet before changing into your jumpsuit and harness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bridge Climb Sydney Worth It?
If you want spectacular views of Sydney, bragging rights and the thrill of scaling the famous Harbour Bridge, and to learn more about the history of Sydney, then the Sydney Bridge Climb is worth it. This is one of the pricier experiences in Sydney and the most budget friendly option is to sign up for the Summit climb experience.
I’m afraid of heights. Can I still do the bridge climb?
You can absolutely do the bridge climb if you’re scared of heights! There are many safety precautions that will make you feel comfortable the whole time. Between the harness that’s always attached to a steel cable and the fact that there are railings on both sides the entire time, the fear of falling is practically eliminated. Also, the summit doesn’t appear to be that high up once standing at the top, compared to what you’d expect while looking at the bridge from the ground.
How long does the bridge climb take?
The Sydney Bridge Climb ranges from 3 to 4 hours. This includes time to get geared up and do the Bridge Climb.
What is the best time of day to do the bridge climb?
We had a fantastic time completing the bridge climb on a calm morning in May. Even in the cooler months it can get pretty hot climbing in the jumpsuits. We recommend booking the Sydney Bridge Climb for the morning or at twilight to avoid the heat.
Can I bring my camera on the climb?
No. BridgeClimb Sydney requires that you leave all of your belongings in the lockers before you put your equipment on. This includes small items like watches and bracelets. However, there are a couple photo opportunities during the climb where your guide will snap photos of you and your group, if you purchase the photo package.
If you have any questions about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or if you would like to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Australia
SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk and the best viewpoints and photography locations in Sydney.
MELBOURNE: Melbourne is our favorite city in Australia. Learn about the Best Things to Do in Melbourne and get a recap of our experiences here.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One of the best things to do in South Australia is to visit the wine regions near Adelaide. Plan your visit with our Guide to McLaren Vale, our Guide to Barossa Valley, and our Guide to Clare Valley.
TASMANIA: In Tasmania, hike to Cape Raoul and Wineglass Bay, explore the Tasman Peninsula, spend some time on Bruny Island, visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and cruise to Tasman Island.
ULURU: In our Guide to Uluru and Kata-Tjuta, learn how to get here, what to do, and how to plan your time. We also have information on a great hike in Kings Canyon and a recap of our experience in the Red Centre of Australia.
Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.
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