See the Sunset from the Top of the Harbour Bridge with a Twilight BridgeClimb

Straight-up the best place to be for a Sydney sunset.
Shannon Connellan
November 25, 2015

Sydney sunrises and sunsets are pretty damn special. You'll see Instagram lose its collective mind every time there's a clear day with a marmaladey sunset to be snapped. But you've never seen a sunset like the panoramic mindbender from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, one only accessible by personally climbing the bridge itself. Luckily, the adventure-seeking crew at BridgeClimb will happily take you all the way to the top, with their extra pretty dawn and twilight climbs.

Like many Sydneysiders, we hadn't climbed the Harbour Bridge before (except the time we sent CP's Tom Glasson up the bridge for a special Vivid climb). But we can't stress this enough: it's something all locals should try to do at least once — it makes a damn great Christmas present too. You'll see your city from a completely different angle, and remember why we're lucky jerks to live here.

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You'll find the BridgeClimb centre just up the road from the Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks — and you'll want to remember that libation-happy location for when you come back down to earth. Twilight climbs run for around three hours, so make sure you snack before you start. After using the bathroom about twenty times, we're headed into the pre-climb area. You'll be breathalysed — don't go on a bender and decide to climb the bridge — and if you pass, you'll be given your slammin' BridgeClimb onesie to change into. If you wear spectacles, you'll get to wear a super groove-o glasses attachment (suck it, jocks, we cool).

Then it's time to meet your Climb Leader. We had the pleasure of climbing with wildly funny and incredibly knowledgable climber Brett, who has been climbing for 13 years. He hasn't counted, but reckons it's anywhere between 2000 and 3000 climbs. Your Climb Leader will help you suit up with a radio headset, heaps cool cap, handkerchief, fleece, headlamp and importantly, hair ties. Then you're off for a quick trial climb indoors and we're headed for the bridge.

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Not going to lie, this editor was bloody scared to be climbing this colossal bridge. But your team has your back and your Climb Leader is there to keep you going (and to tell you not to look down). Only three people have ever turned back on Brett's climbs — over 13 years. You'll make your way along underneath the Bradfield Highway, as trains roar above you and the Park Hyatt guests swan around beneath you. Give a high five to the hand-chipped granite pylons and head up the ladders, past zooming cars, to the main bridge climb.

Once you're past the initial stage of the climb, the actual ascent to the summit is super, super easy and straight-up one of the most beautiful views in the world. Brett weaves stories about the history of The Rocks, the poorly designed nature of Fort Denison and the origins of White Australia in Campbell's Cove. He'll tell you the origins of Kirribilli as an Aboriginal fishing spot of choice (derived from the Aboriginal word Kiarabilli, which means 'good fishing spot'). Fun facts: Sydney Harbour's shoreline is 317kms around. Another fun fact: There have been 4000 proposals on the bridge, and 26 weddings (they give the bride a little mini-veil). One more fun fact: Paul Hogan used to be a worker on the bridge (without any kind of rope support) and his mates dared him to enter a talent quest, which he won. One more? The granite pylons are unnecessary — the bridge could actually stand up without them.

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Being a twilight climb, the whole ascent and descent is timed around the sunset — climb up with the sun on the Opera House, climb down as the sun sets behind Western Sydney, behind Anzac Bridge. There's something incredibly pride-instilling about being on the top of such a feat of modern engineering and problem-solving as the sun goes down (before the bridge was built, it took a whole day to horse and cart from Sydney's CBD to North Sydney, over five bridges).

Heading back to solid ground, with our headlamps necessary for the last little section, you can't deny this newfound adoration for this crazily clean, beautiful, peaceful city we very often take for granted (and rather enjoy complaining about tiny things like coffee prices over). Although climbing during the day or nighttime would have an undoubtedly similar jaw-dropping effect, adding a little bit more dosh to your ticket and climbing the bridge at dawn or twilight adds that extra gobsmacking element you could need to stop yearning for Sydney to be anything else but Sydney.

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BridgeClimb runs day, night, dawn and twilight tours every day. Book in your climb from BridgeClimb's website — they also make an excellent Christmas pressie.

Published on November 25, 2015 by Shannon Connellan
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