Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic feature that creates an attractive arch of accessibility between Sydney’s city centre and the North Shore. But the functional landmark, often referred to as ‘the coat hanger’, is not just there for the commuters. As the cars constantly whiz along the bridge, there are groups of tourists clinging for dear life amid the tonnes of steel above.

Despite being absolutely terrified of heights, I decided to sign up for the ‘bridge climb’ challenge when I was backpacking in Australia.

The urban mountain climb takes around three and a half hours, although there is a two-hour express option.

There were several people in my group and we all had to wear protective jumpsuits and have some training before getting out there.

Each climber was given a metal grip, which attached onto roping along the side of the bridge. We were all linked together and had to attach and remove these grips when changing direction and levels.

I felt a bit daunted when first stepping out onto the bridge, but comforted myself with rational trains of thought, such as ‘hmmm you never hear of people dying on bridge climbs nowadays, erm, unless they deliberately throw themselves off’

The safety record was not as pristine back in the day when the construction was underway in the 20s and early 30s. In fact, I remember reading about the history of the bridge and discovering how 15 workers lost their lives during the eight-year build.

It’s not surprising really, as there was no such thing as health and safety and the construction workers wouldn’t have even have had any safety harnesses to protect them if they happened to make a deadly slip as they clambered along.

The bridge opened in 1932, but planning for it began as early 1912.

I found the experience of climbing the bridge to be exhilarating as well as scary. These two emotions often come hand in hand. The adrenalin was pumping around my body and I was buzzing.

Unfortunately my legs were not as confident and were wobbling like jelly – especially during the parts where we had to go down the ladders and could see the big drop below.

It was great enjoying the spectacular views over the harbour during moments where the whole group completely stopped to take in the scene, without having to worry about co-ordination (which is definitely not one of my strong points).

While there were moments of pure fear, I felt great afterwards.