Sunday, 17 April 2016

# 20 - Pylon Lookout at Sydney Harbour Bridge

When they first produced the plans for Sydney Harbour Bridge, apparently people were worried that it didn't look sturdy enough.  As a result, they decided to incorporate four pylons into the design.  The pylons are actually hollow, and don't offer any support.  They are just there to make it look safer.  The plus side of people's irrational fears is that we now have an exceptional viewpoint to look out over Sydney Harbour.  

The Pylon Lookout is located in the South East Pylon.  This is the one closest to the Opera House. You can access it via the main walkway across the bridge.  It is on the right hand side if you are coming from Circular Quay or The Rocks, and for a very reasonable entry fee of 13 dollars, you can make your way up 200 stairs to the top of the pylon.  Once there, you can snap away until your heart's content.  The views are exactly what you see in many postcards of Sydney, and I could look at it for hours.  If they ever put a bar up there, I might just move in permanently.

Trying to catch the wedding going on at the right hand side of the picture
To keep you entertained on the way up, they also have a whole load of information about the history and construction of the bridge.  In the days before health and safety took over, there are no shortage of crazy stories around the working conditions.  There are also lots of those numbers that people seem to love hearing as well, even though they mean nothing unless you have a source of reference to compare them.  You know the ones.  Like, there were 18,000 cubic metres of granite blocks used in the construction.  It sounds like a lot, but so would 5,000 cubic metres.  Or 300,000 cubic metres.  I don't know if anyone hears these facts and says, 'wow, 18,000?  I could have sworn it was closer to 15,000'.  Anyway, I am rambling now.

One of the other pylons - not quite as pretty as the harbour views
There is also a small exhibit at the top with more of these kind of facts, and lots of interesting pictures of the bridge being constructed.  It is interesting enough, but for me at least, the Pylon Lookout is all about that view.

This one feels a bit arty.  No?  Well, I like it...
People often ask whether they should do the Bridge Climb or the Pylon Lookout.  I would suggest the question should be whether you should do both, or just the Pylon Lookout.  A ticket for the Pylon Lookout is included in the Bridge Climb price, and having seen the view from on top of the bridge, it is great to get some of your own photographs of almost the same view, to help you remember the climb.  Given that the Pylon Lookout is so cheap, and takes so little time, I would recommend that any first time visitor finds some space for it in their schedule.

Do you agree that the Pylon Lookout is a must see?  How do you think it compares to the Bridge Climb?  Please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments.

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