Saturday, 16 April 2016

# 22 - Climbing Tours (Bridge Climb)

Now, I have to say, there wasn't a huge amount of competition in the 'Climbing Tours' category.  In fact, there were two entries.  One was the Urban Jungle Adventure Camp, and one was the Bridge Climb.  It was a tough call, but after much deliberation, we decided to go with the Bridge Climb.

There are a lot of activities for people to do in and around Sydney, but one of the most well known is the Bridge Climb.  For many people, it is the top thing on their own personal list of things to do in Sydney.  The question is, is it worth the fuss?

I know, it's a pretty cheesy pose, but it feels like you're allowed on the Bridge Climb
Well, first of all, you probably need to mention the cost.  There are a few different options available.  For the full climb, the prices start at 228 dollars for a weekday climb at night, up to 353 dollars for a weekend twilight climb.  It is certainly not cheap, particularly when you have the Pylon Lookout which gives you almost the same views for just 13 dollars.

As I've said for other expensive options in the top 100, whether it is worth it depends on what you need to give up to get it.  If you can still afford to do everything else you want to do, it's probably still worth doing.  If it means you need to spend the rest of your holiday dressed as a statue standing really, really still at Circular Quay, then I would probably just do the Pylon Lookout instead.

Anyway, once you check in for your climb, you get taken through to a room to sign the various disclaimers, and to take a breath test to prove you haven't been drinking.  This is an important point.  I'm sure there are more than a few people who have been left disappointed because they didn't realise that the no alcohol rule is strictly enforced.  Even although we hadn't been drinking, we were still highly nervous when taking the breath test.  There's something about being asked to take a breath test that just makes you immediately feel guilty.

After this, you go through to get kitted out in your super cool outfits, and get taken through all the safety information, and get to practice using the equipment.  You also leave all your belongings, including your camera in a safe at this point.  They advise you to wear just your underwear under those suits by the way.  It does get pretty hot up there.

It's worth doing the climb just so you can try out their fashionable suits
You then start making your way outside.  The early part of the climb is walking through various platforms on the underside of the bridge.  There are a few ladders, and parts where you need to duck down or squeeze through gaps.  If you're generally physically fit, then you shouldn't have any issues.  Throughout this stage, and the whole climb, your guide keeps you entertained with stories and information through the headset that you are given during the prep stage.

Eventually, you emerge at the top side of the bridge, but still at the bottom of the arch.  Even from this point, the view is pretty spectacular.  You then essentially climb a giant staircase to get to the top of the bridge.  It can be surprisingly busy at this stage, and you can sometimes see four or five groups at various parts of the bridge.  You have a couple of photo stops on the way, and then some more at the top.

The view at the top truly is sensational, and there is also a psychological thing about being on top of the Harbour Bridge.  You get some more photos and stories up there, along with the opportunity to take a video, if you so desire.  We did not so desire.  Then you cross across to the other side, enjoy the views in the other direction, and start making you way back down, accompanied by more stories from your guide.

Once you get to the bottom, you get changed back into your clothes, fill out some feedback forms, and head off to collect whatever pictures you have decided to pay for.  You can also pick up various souvenirs of your trip in the shop.  One other point is that you get a ticket to the Pylon Lookout included in the price of the Bridge Climb.  Given that you are not allowed to bring your own camera, I would highly recommend that you use this ticket to get lots of your own pictures.  

There are plenty of people who would say that the Bridge Climb just isn't worth the money, and there are plenty of arguments to support that opinion.  However, for me, it is one of the highlights of all the things we did in Sydney.  For most people, it's a once in a lifetime experience, and one you will always remember.  If you can't afford it, or don't have time, as mentioned, you get almost the same views from the Pylon Lookout.  But if you can afford it, there is just something really special about standing on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

What's your view?  Is it too expensive?  Or are you just not prepared to be seen in public in those grey suits?  As always, please get involved and leave a comment.

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