Travel Trends :: Ultimate Urban Adventures & Sydney BridgeClimb

Sydney Bridge Climb Experience[trip style = urban + adventure]

While in Sydney earlier this month one of the literal highlights of my time in Australia's biggest city was climbing the famed Harbour Bridge {more on this below}. Talking at length with my guide about its inception, the mandatory safety suit and if climbers ever get petrified part way up, I learned that Sydney's BridgeClimb, the first adventure of its kind, has influenced cities like Brisbane and San Francisco {pending} to follow suit.

If your next trip style = urban and you want to spice up the usual <eat, shop, walk, eat, visit cultural attraction, eat> itinerary, why not try:

  • Sydney's BridgeClimb - Wind your way through the Harbour Bridge's massive steel archways, scale your way to the top, take in the best views of Sydney's iconic harbour, salute the Aussie Flag and descend.
  • Auckland's SkyJump - Jump 192 meters at 82km/h off of Auckland's Sky Tower. Watching this video literally made me almost cry with an equal dose of excitement and fear, and I haven't even done the jump yet!
  • Toronto's CN Tower EdgeWalk - Walk 'the plank' of this landmark's narrow ledge, 365 meters above the ground. Opening soon.

The BridgeClimb Go Go Gadget.... When I got to the BridgeClimb's industrial-mod HQ, I knew I was going to be required to wear a grey adult 'onesie' that would make fashion lovers run for the hills. I soon learned function over fashion was for good reason: the suit was custom developed to both match the colour of the working mega-structure, as well as handle significant safety precautions with its doodads and attachments. Case in point, the hat I was provided had a plastic hook which latched onto the back of the suit, and my sunglasses were given a special string to secure them around my neck, and again, to my suit. Essentially, anything you bring onto the bridge has to be attached to the suit, as if you were Inspector Gadget. Everything had to reel back into your person.

Underwear and Fanny Packs My husband Nathan even got to wear a fanny pack, which I learned was a taboo phrase Down Under because it refers to something, well, down under... The Bridge allowed him to bring a camera {only because we did a private "media" climb for Trip Styler}, but there were two conditions: it HAD to be attached to his suit with a retractable string and housed in, as the Australians would say, a bum bag. And speaking of that area, even on the sunny, late-fall day when we did the climb, temperatures were getting into the mid 20's, so I followed the advice of my savvy suit concierge and climbed with shoes, the lightweight grey suit provided and only my undergarments below. Needless to say it was a perfectly breezy climb.

Top Design After an exhilarating ascent, winding our way along lengthy catwalks, narrow passageways, keycard-access security doors and stairs with perforated steel steps---the kind where you can see boats speeding past you below---we reached the top. The space was roomier than I expected. There was even a path cutting through the Bridge's centre, opening up into a diamond-like shape at the arch's mid-point. This gathering place, approximately 134 meters above the sea level, made me want to sit back, relax and toast the world with a bottle of bubbly. But alas, there were no loungers and champagne is not kosher when thousands of cars are crossing below, unless of course the BridgeClimb could figure out a way to attach a plastic bottle and flute to the suit, but I think that could be asking a tad too much.

Urban Adventure After the climb, I changed back into my 'civilian' clothes, threw my suit, belt and accoutrements into futuristic-like funnels for washing, and took in the moment, realizing I had the great privilege of joining the likes of Matt Damon, Cameron Diaz, Will Ferrell, Prince Harry and 2.6 million others who've beat the bridge to complete one of the world's ultimate urban adventures!

Photos start of bridgeclimb {Starting the climb.}

stairs on bridgeclimb {The stairs and yellow safety tubing directly above.}

harbour bridge's inside structure {The inside structure.}

climbing the sydney harbour bridge {A group climbing the bridge, up, up and away...}

bridge climb safety line {The safety line is attached to you and the bridge at all times. Aside from when you start and finish, you never have to hook and/or unhook the line---it's continuous.}

harbour bridge upper walkway {View of Opera House and Bridge's upper walkway.}

bridge climb suits {BridgeClimb onesies and the summit.}

australian flag at top of bridge climb {Australian flag at the top.}

bridgeclimb looking straight down {Looking straight down from the top.}

{What we saw as we were descending the stairs.}

Climbing down sydney bridge {A group on their way down.}

bridgeclimb hq {BridgeClimb's HQ.}

sydney bridge {Some perspective at the end.}

What to know

  • Prices start at $188 for adult climbers in off-peak season...
  • Kids 10+ can can climb.
  • There are 3 types of climbs:
    • The Express Climb - 2 hours 15 mins. The quickie.
    • The Discovery Climb - 3 hours 30 mins. The inner workings.
    • The Bridge Climb - 3 hours 30 mins. The outer arch.
  • Each person must perform a breathalyzer test prior to climbing, so don't get too crazy the night before...

PS - the closest comparison to BridgeClimb Sydney in Vancouver is Capilano Suspension Bridge's Cliffwalk, opening soon.

[images taken by @nate_fri + 1 by our trusty BridgeClimb guide]