“You can see it from every corner of the city, creeping into frame from the oddest angles, like an uncle who wants to get into every snapshot. From a distance it has a kind of gallant restraint, majestic but not assertive, but up close it is all might. It soars above you, so high that you could pass a ten-storey building beneath it, and looks like the heaviest thing on earth…This is a great bridge.” – American travel writer Bill Bryson speaking of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
When I drove over the Anzac Bridge last September towards my brand new life, I recall looking out across the harbour at the looming Sydney Harbour Bridge. It seemed so full of promise to me. I had visited Sydney countless times before, yes, but it was different this time. It was now becoming a part of my life…a permanent fixture.
Last year, for my sister’s 30th birthday, she was gifted a voucher to complete the bridge climb. Naturally, it meant Christmas had come early for me because I was definitely coming along for the ride (or climb as it may be) because really, who wants to climb alone?! Since it had also been on my bucket list for an age, it was an opportunity not to be passed up.
I for one am not typically afraid of heights, nor am I averse to a fun physical challenge. However, in the days leading up to our climb, www.bridgeclimb.com probably had more hits than the Beatles…or One Direction, if that’s more your thing (it is totally my thing but try not to hold that against me). I was all but convinced that I was going to have a coronary on the walkway and subsequently fall through one of the ladders that we would be tackling during our climb. I’ll just say what you’re probably thinking right now…I am not the most rational person at times.
On the day of the climb, we checked in, devoured a sandwich (for fear we wouldn’t see any food for an ungodly period of time, which actually turned out to be a mere three hours or so) and headed up the steps to the waiting area. I felt like celebrating Rocky-style at this point because I had successfully made it up two flights of stairs (#WINNING). After completing the necessary paperwork and getting to know our fellow climbers with some flashback-inducing icebreakers, we were fitted with our jumpsuits, which are the most fashionable item since the Snuggie (remind yourself of that beaut here). Once fitted with our headsets, it was finally time for the group to practice climbing on a set of “simu-ladders”. At this point we could also decide the pressure of it was all too much and head for the hills.
Finally, we headed off across the walkway looking catwalk ready, trains barrelling along above our heads. Now, here is the most important thing I will say about this whole experience: if you’re worried about your fitness level, don’t. It was slow and steady, more tortoise than hare, with regular pit stops for our history buff (and the other kind of buff) leader to talk us through the life of the bridge and the city in which it holds such a prominent place. In what felt like no time at all, we were posing for our token throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air-because-we-made-it pic. At the peak of the climb we were given a moment, some time to take in all that surrounded us.
We completed the climb during my final weekend in Sydney. For one year I had looked around at this city that never quite felt like home, without ever really seeing it. Standing atop this steel giant, however, looking out across a sparkling harbour abuzz with life, I could finally see it. A city full of beauty, of life, of promise. Finally, it didn’t seem so bad.
Find out everything you need to know about completing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb at www.bridgeclimb.com. These guys are brilliant and I highly recommend going with them! There are three different climb options, so if you’re short on time choose the Sampler which will have you done in about 90 minutes. Prices are around the $280 mark for a day climb, but trust me, it’s worth every dollar.
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