LG Sydney Series: Harbor Bridge ClimbAdventure Travel, Australia, City Travel, Tours & Attractions — By Amanda P on October 22, 2009 at 11:00 am
Sydney was our last stop on our round-the-world trip, and we have plenty of amazing memories from living “Down Under.” Now ’til the end of October, we’re going to be recalling our favorite Sydney moments. At the end of each post, you’ll find out how to get the chance to make your own memories in Oz by entering to win a trip to Sydney.
Jen: With our carefree days living in Sydney drawing to a close, Amanda, Holly and I decided it was now or never to experience one of the most iconic and thrilling adventures the city had to offer: The Harbor Bridge Climb.
After a few wrong turns and one frantic phone call to revise our scheduled departure time, we arrived at the visitor center excited to get our climbing party started. Waiting in the lobby for instructions, Holly, Amanda and I browsed the extensive Wall of Fame featuring snapshots of such notable faces as Nicole Kidman, Will Smith, Jodi Foster, Hugh Jackson, the Olson Twins and Brendan Fraser, before a climb coordinator directed us to a back room to get suited up for our big ascent. But a funny thing happened on the way to the equipment station. We were “pulled over” by an employee and asked to submit to a breathalyzer test to make sure we weren’t planning to climb under the influence. As I pursed my lips for the requisite puff, I could only hope that our happy hour at the Establishment bar the night before wouldn’t come back to haunt us. Luckily, we registered 0.0% (anything under 0.05% is passing) and were approved to proceed to our wardrobe fittings.
After slipping into a sexy one-piece jumpsuit that any self respecting Trekkie would travel light years to get their split-fingered hands on, we were issued a fuzzy fleece for cold and windy conditions, a baseball cap to keep the harbor sun out of our eyes, a cord to keep our sunglasses from blowing off the bridge and even a handkerchief to tuck into our sleeves for, well, you know. We politely refused the thick gray scrunchies provided to keep our hair back, cause, hey, even donned in space suits, a Lost Girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere. After a quick equipment check and safety review with our guide, Mike, we made our way outside and down the sidewalk, past snickering tourists to the base of the bridge. With a quick glance upward, we took the first of many steps leading us closer to Sydney’s powder blue sky.
Rather than take the traditional route, the girls and I decided to give the newer, and apparently more adventurous, Discovery Climb a shot. Instead of journeying over the top of the bridge to the summit, we were going to cut straight through the heart of the structure, wind through mazes of metal across suspended catwalks, and snake over massive steel beams punctured with rivets before emerging at the top. Now when the girls and I first heard about the bridge climb, we envisioned ourselves dangling precariously over the water, lashed to the bridge with carabineers and forced to scale the walls like Spiderman. Needless to say, we were dramatizing the situation just a teeny bit, as so far, the seemingly death-defying act of climbing the bridge was more like a gentle stroll.
Secured to the side with a special harness linked to a static line, we walked gracefully up a series of iron planks and staircases as Mike enlightened us with a detailed history of the bridge and prominent Sydney sites. We took in the passing cars and crowds of tourist below, while getting a sneak peek at some of the surrounding landmarks like the Opera House, Darling Harbor, Manley Ferry, Luna Park and (then) Prime Minister John Howard’s house. And while the climb was an exciting experience in and of itself, the real reward came at the top. As our heads popped up from beneath the center of the bridge, we couldn’t help but marvel at the spectacular bird’s eye view we had of the glistening harbor and vast cityscape that stretched endlessly below. We took our time navigating the steal summit, posing for the guide’s camera as he snapped dozens of photos of us at every turn and prominent look out point. As we noticed more groups rising above the beams behind us, we realized our time was up, so we slowly began to make our way back down to the base.
A mere 3 1/2 hours, dozens of staircases and thousands of steps later, our feet finally hit solid ground. Happy, exhilarated and only a tad wind blown, we headed to the office to take a look at our photos and get the skinny from the staff on where to go for a celebratory beer in the neighborhood (They suggested we hit The Australian for a frosty Victoria Bitters and deep dish pizza topped with kangaroo, crocodile or emu). So, was the Harbor Bridge Climb all we expected and more, you ask? I mean, should scrunchies have remained in the 80s? Of course! Not only did we get to experience one of Sydney’s most signature activities, we had dozens of pictures showcasing The Lost Girls’ silliest grins to show for it. Bridge Climb Wall of Fame here we come! And in a nod to the company’s tagline, we did in fact, have the climb of our lives!
The folks at Tourism New South Wales are offering two winners a trip to Sydney for themselves and a friend including airfare on V Australia, seven nights accommodation and an exclusive ticket to experience at least five of the most “life enhancing” activities that the city has to offer, such as:
â€¢ Learning to Surf at Bondi Beach
â€¢ Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge
â€¢ Sailing on Sydney Harbour
â€¢ Going behind the scenes at Sydney Opera House
To enter, simply click here or go to http://www.facebook.com/seesydney?v=app_17037175766 and follow these steps:
1. Click on the “Win a Dream Sydney Vacation” button
2. Enter your contact info
3. Become a fan of Sydney, Australia on Facebook
4. On the Sydney, Australia Facebook Wall write in 30 words or less about a Sydney experience you’ve had, or would want to have.