One thing few tourists do—which is a shame—is to walk across the Harbour Bridge. The bridge, completed in 1932, is 1,150 m (3,772 ft.) long and spans 503 m (1,650 ft.) from the south shore to the north. It accommodates pedestrian walkways, two railway lines, and an eight-lane road. The 30-minute walk from one end to the other offers excellent harbor views. From the other side, you can take a train from Milsons Point back to the city.
As you walk across, stop off at the Pylon Lookout ([tel] 02/9240 1100; www.pylonlookout.com.au) at the southeastern pylon. Admission is A$11 for adults, A$6.50 for children ages 5 to 12. There are four levels inside the pylon, with displays about the bridge’s history. On level two, there are observation balconies on both sides, and when you get to the top, 89 m (292 ft.) above the water, you get panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, the ferry terminals of Circular Quay, and beyond. The Pylon Lookout is open daily from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day).
Another very popular way of enjoying the wonderful views from the Bridge is to climb to the top. The Sydney BridgeClimb is an exhilarating achievement, and one you won’t forget. BridgeClimb, 3 Cumberland St., The Rocks ([tel] 02/8274 7777; www.bridgeclimb.com), offers three climbs. The Bridge Climb takes you along the outer arch of the bridge on catwalks and ladders all the way to the summit. The Discovery Climb takes climbers into the heart of the bridge. You traverse the suspension arch and then wind your way through a tangle of hatchways and girders suspended above the traffic. You also climb between the arches to the summit. Both experiences take 3 1/2 hours from check-in to completion. An Express Climb is the same as the standard Bridge Climb but with fewer people and a quicker preparation, which allows you to discover the wonders of the bridge in just 2 hours and 15 minutes. Climbers wear “Bridge Suits” and are harnessed to a safety line. You also will be given an alcohol breathalyzer test and are not allowed to carry anything, including cameras (the guide will take photos of you at a couple of stops along the way and at the summit). Daytime climbs cost A$235 for adults and A$148 for children ages 10 to 15 on weekdays, A$10 more on weekends. Twilight climbs cost A$298 for adults (A$308 on weekend) and A$208 for kids (anytime). Night climbs cost A$198 for adults and A$148 for kids (rug up, it can be cold up there!). A dawn climb costs A$308 for adults and A$208 for kids. Children under 10 are not allowed to climb. Prices are slightly higher in the peak time between Christmas and early January. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Visitor Centre, where you set out from, has good displays featuring Sydney’s famous icon. It’s open daily 8am to 6pm.