“Cause I’ve had the CLIMB of my life, and I owe it all to you.” – June 5th (Day 3)

With a wide abundance of attractions in Sydney so close in proximity to the Sydney Harbour YHA, everything is accessible by foot. As 2.15pm strikes, it was time to head down Cumberland Street to the entrance of the my first activity in Australia, the Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb.

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The Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb first opened in 1998, with just over 3 million visitors taking part in a climb. Standing 134 metres about the Sydney Harbour, climbers will reach the summit while trained Climb Leaders reveal the secrets of Sydney and its Harbour Bridge. The BridgeClimb brings in heaps of international interests with over 50% of visitors being from out of Australia, 23% coming directly from Sydney and the remainder being domestic visitors to Sydney. Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, Prince Harry as well as many others have completed the BridgeClimb.

Depending on personal interest or time allotted during you stay in Sydney, the BridgeClimb offers three distinct experiences.

The Bridge Climb takes climbers over mesh catwalks, up ladders and to the summit of the Bridge. The Bridge Climb takes 3 ½ hours to complete.

The Discovery Climb is a very unique journey through the steel heart of the bridge, where you pass by the historic point where the arches of the Bridge were joined in 1930. Don’t worry though; you will make it to the summit of the Bridge at the end of this climb, with a handful of background history about the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s construction.

The Express Climb is perfect if you are short of time in Sydney. The express climb follows a similar route to the Discovery Climb but you will get to the summit in 1,002 steps in just over 2 hours.20130605_211508_HDR

After arriving to the check-in station for The Express Climb, myself and my two fellow climbers were taken through various stations to get prepped for the “Climb of our Lives.” We were then put into all our climbing gear and with that, we were off!

The group of us (myself and 2 fellow Western Australian Aussies) was partnered with Ed our Climb Leader. She was fantastic! As she took us through the bridge, she would stop and inform us on the fascinating history of the construction of the bridge, as well as fun facts about the BridgeClimb in general. One of the coolest things about the bridge is that there are approximately 40,000 Blue Granite tiles individually cut and used to support the outside of this structure. Also, during the construction of the bridge there were many fatalities, as the builders didn’t wear safety equipment. One gentlemen however, managed to survive a fall from the bridge by breaking the fall on the way down with his tools cutting the water surface first.

Not only was the BridgeClimb an exhilarating and never-ending adrenaline rush with each step you take, it provides an amazing experience for those interested in learning about the history behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It may not look that high from the ground, but when you reach the summit the height sets in and it is an experience you’ll never be able to wash out of my mind.

1,002 steps later, and a sore bum guaranteed the next day – we arrived at the summit. I don’t think I have ever seen a better view of anything in my entire life. The feeling of being “on top of Sydney” was mind-blowing. You can see for miles and miles in all directions. It’s an experience you can’t quite put into words, and if you try, you aren’t really doing it justice.

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After spending some time capturing some pictures 134 metres above the Sydney Harbour and filming a short video clip, we began our descent to the base of the climb. Let’s just say going down was a lot easier than going up.

As I mentioned above, trying to put into words the experience of the BridgeClimb is very difficult. It’s kind of similar to trying to explain when you are in love. The experience is different for everyone, and you can’t give it justice in only words – you need to feel it yourself. The BridgeClimb delivers an experience unlike anything else in the world. The BridgeClimb prides itself for being “the Climb of your Life” and it sure lives up to that title.

A Night on the Town

After a 2-hour climb up Sydney Harbour Bridge, you can bet I worked up quite an appetite. I had been looking forward to meeting up with Alison from Tourism Australia for a really long time, and tonight was the night for us to kick back, relax and enjoy an evening at the Opera Bar and Pony Lounge & Dining.

The Opera Bar is located directly under the Sydney Opera House, and provides one of Sydney’s most unique dining experiences.

Whether drinking or dining, Opera Bar provides the perfect setting for any occasion and coupled with a diverse food, wine and cocktail menu it leaves you spoilt for choice – drink or dine, inside or out, day or night.

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Looking directly out on the lit up Sydney Harbour Bridge, Alison and I grabbed a couple cocktails from one of the various bars available. After a great introduction to Sydney’s nightlife and indulging in the ViViD drink special, we made our way along Circular Quay to our dinner reservation in the Rocks.

The food in Sydney and Australia is to die for. Whether you want to dip into some authentic Australian food, or you’d prefer some traditional Chinese, Thai, Indian or Italian food – Sydney’s bars and restaurants provide top-notch quality service with affordable prices (if you look in the right places).

As the jetlag was slowly setting in, it was time to head back to the Sydney Harbour YHA and catch some sleep as I had another fun filled day planned for the next day. With great thanks to Alison and the whole team at Tourism Australia, I had an amazing welcome to Sydney, Australia and I can’t wait for my adventure to continue on such a high note!

Until next time,

Sam Clarke.

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