In the 11 years since adventure-hungry climbers have been able to scale the width and height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (courtesy of operators BridgeClimb), there have been at least 2,000 marriage proposals at or near its 134-metre summit. Small wonder – this is a pretty special experience in a pretty special location and the perfect setting for a what-the-hell spontaneous (or indeed premeditated) romantic gesture. In fact, in 2008 a Scottish couple were the first to get married at the top of the ‘coathanger’ (as the bridge is sometimes affectionately called).
Officially opened in 1932, Sydney Harbour Bridge consists of over 53,000 tons of steelwork and six million rivets, and from 1998 BridgeClimb began offering tours to people wishing to enjoy the ‘ultimate way to experience Sydney’. It offers two types of climb, the Classic Bridge Climb and the Discovery Climb, although both ultimately reach the top after around two hours of rather strenuous girder negotiation and several dizzying steel staircases. Climbers are required to wear a special suit and safety gear, including a harness and communication equipment, and they also have to pass an alcohol (breathalyser) test before they are permitted to embark on the climb. The reason for this prerequisite is perhaps obvious: you’ll need to be pretty fit and to have your wits about you to complete this mission. On this vertiginous expedition, there’ll certainly be no swigging a bottle of Foster’s while dangling whimsically from the girders like a pixilated baboon and pronouncing your love for the Minogue sisters.
And what a reward when you reach the top: glorious panoramic views of Australia’s largest city, including the Royal Opera House and Botanical Gardens. On a clear day you might even see as far as the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
For those who do not have a head for heights, The Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout is open to the public every day. No trip to Sydney is complete without at least crossing its famous bridge – even the half-mile pedestrian walkway offers spectacular views of the glittering harbour.