Thursday 13th November 2014
So one of the activities we had both talked about since arriving in Australia was our desire to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, which if visiting the city, was apparently a must do. When Tina mentioned doing it back in the UK I was sceptical as she doesn’t really do heights (she felt very uncomfortable when we went up the Shard earlier in the year and also she suffers with her knees). So the idea of her climbing over 1300 steps and then freezing due to how high she was or her legs ceasing up before we even reached the summit didn’t really appeal. But she was determined to go through with it, “I won’t get another chance to do it so let’s go for it” she affirmed.
And so the day had come. Firstly we had buy a cheap pair of trainers as she’d forgotten to pack any, and then we were off. The actual climb takes 3.5 hours; the first 60 minutes dedicated to getting into your snazzy overalls, sorting out your climbing gear, and the radio headphones. We then had to do a practice climb, up and down some short ladders too make sure we were competent at this before tackling the real thing. Prior to this we’d all (14 in our group) had to be breathalyzed as well as signing a medical form, just to ensure there were no incidents whilst we were up top. I will admit the safety side of the preparation was very thorough, I guess it wouldn’t be good publicity to lose clients, even if they were stupid enough to go up drunk!
We were then all led off by Bernie, our guide for the ascent. Bernie was very knowledgeable and reassured us that he’d never lost anyone so far. Again reassuring. The first part of the climb took you horizontally to one of the two pylons that help to hold the bridge up. The walkways were quite narrow and it reminded me a bit of my mast climbing course I completed with BT many years ago. Fortunately I didn’t fall off then either. We then climbed some steep steps to get on to the main part of the bridge structure before slowly climbing the bridge to the top. Tina found the steps part a little tough on her knees but she coped well and didn’t hold up the group, one of her fears before starting. Bernie took a few photos of us as we climbed and then a group photo at the summit. The views of Sydney were incredible, even though it wasn’t the clearest of days. There was a light breeze making it quite comfortable and not too scary. We joined in singing happy birthday to one of the climbers (not many can say they’ve sung that at the top off the bridge), recorded a short video message and then started our descent. We were back on the ground pretty much on the 3.5 hour mark.
We took up the offer of the ‘non-obligatory’ photos for $50, collected our certificate and headed back to the hotel room for a rest, satisfied we’d accomplished something amazing.
We then decided to head to Darling Harbour to get some lunch and found a lovely restaurant I the waterside, enjoying it even more knowing we’d earned it following our earlier endeavors. We then strolled to Paddy’s Market, where there were a number of stalls selling all sorts of stuff before walking back to the hotel to freshen up for the evening.
For dinner, we both fancied a Nando’s so went off in search of the only one in Sydney, but when we got there it was just closing up so we instead walked back to Darling Harbour and ate at the same restaurant we’d frequented earlier in the day. Afterwards, completely knackered, we returned to the hotel for an early night, and fell into bed.