BridgeClimb Sydney the height of sightseeing
platforms and 1,332 steps, I joined a group
of 14 people (the maximum number), got
breath-tested for the first time in my life,
was fitted for a jumpsuit and gear and
walked through an explanation that readied us for the once-in-a-lifetime experience
A lightweight, industrial-strength safety
cable tethers each climber to the bridge’s
structure throughout. Loose objects like
jewelry, hair clips and cameras must be left
behind in a locker, while glasses, sunglasses,
gloves and baseball caps are allowed if secured or attached to the provided jumpsuit.
Our amiable climb leader also served
as safety monitor, bridge historian, stand-up comic and photographer and videog-rapher. Each climber gets a certificate, a
video and a group photo from the summit,
with a host of solo photos also available for
Headphones come in handy when the
winds pick up, although our mild early;
winter afternoon in June offered but a light
breeze. We stopped various times along the
way to take in the sweeping vistas, catch
our breath and enjoy our climb leader’s
commentary and anecdotes. He explained
how the bridge, held together by almost 6
million hand-driven rivets, missed out on
being the world’s longest steel arch bridge
when it was completed in 1932, a title then
held by New Jersey’s Bayonne Bridge. Construction on the bridge began in 1924 and
took 1,400 men eight years to build.
At various points we looked down between our feet on the busy eight traffic
lanes and two rail lines it carried. I had
driven the bridge, walked across it, sailed
under it and glimpsed it from my airplane
window seat during previous visits, but
this was my first climb, and it was worth
every effort and jitter. I am already plot-ting a twilight climb to watch the Sydney
skyline as it comes alive at night. How cool
would that be?
Climb prices are scaled by time of day
and day of the week, but expect to pay from
$253 for a journey to the summit. See www
By Patricia Schultz
The Sydney Harbour Bridge — the world’s largest and widest steel arch bridge and affectionately called the Coathanger — shares center stage geographically as well as in the hearts of all Sydneysiders with the Opera House across the harbor. Look up at almost any time of the day and you’ll see what looks like a trail of ants moving slowly up and over its exposed steel spine: These are adventurers who have signed on for the Bridge-
Climb, arguably Australia’s most exhilarating and fun attraction.
Not half as scary or strenuous as you
might think, the BridgeClimb is over before
you know it, even though your watch tells
you it has been 3. 5 hours (the longest of
three climb options). And for those counting, it burns only about 50 calories.
Social media has helped spread the
word of the BridgeClimb, thanks to celeb-
rities including Oprah, Prince Harry, Katy
Perry and Pippa Middleton (during her
Oz honeymoon last year). I joined over
3. 8 million adventurers since the Bridge-
Climb was launched in 1998, who have
reached the summit 440 feet above sea
level to propose, get married, celebrate a
birthday or other milestone, overcome a
fear of heights, qualify for bragging rights
or simply to drink in those spectacular,
360-degree views of one of the world’s
most photogenic harbors.
Climbers as young as 8 (accompanied
by an adult) are welcome, and there is no
cutoff as long as you are fit and willing. The
BridgeClimb’s website proudly posts their
most frequent ascender: an 8-year-old Australian who has racked up 125 climbs so far.
Happy to hear that an octogenarian
could easily handle the ladders, catwalks,
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The elegant and chic Park Hyatt Sydney is
not simply the best all-around choice for
those wishing to climb the bridge (it’s a
10-minute walk to the BridgeClimb start-
ing point) or merely observe those who
do (the hotel’s rooftop pool area gives
you front row seats), it is arguably the fin-
est hotel in Sydney, period.
Still appearing fresh and luxurious from
a total 2012 restoration, it enjoys a coveted harborfront location in the historical
Rocks area. All of its 155 rooms and suites
(the Sydney Suite is the city’s largest) enjoy private balconies from which to drink
in Sydney’s three iconic attractions: the
Harbour Bridge, the Opera House directly
across the way and the busy Circular Quay
where the occasional cruise ship docks.
Setting a new benchmark for contem-
porary luxury in Sydney’s hotel scene, the
Park Hyatt’s signature minimalist design
helps optimize the hotel’s location and
keeps the focus on the spellbinding views
on display everywhere, from the mo-
ment you enter into the airy and simply
named Living Room lounge area and the
acclaimed Dining Room to the spacious
and stylishly designed guestrooms.
A ubiquitous style of clean lines and
warm neutral tones of chocolate and
cream offsets an impressive collection
of specially commissioned paintings and
artwork by prominent Australian artists.
Impeccable and seamless service from
an enthusiastic staff help explain why the
Park Hyatt Sydney is widely considered
one of the finest Down Under.
Nightly rates for a City Harbour Room
begin at about $780; visit https://sydney
The Park Hyatt a perfect base camp
The Park Hyatt
Sydney sits across
Circular Quay from
the Opera House.