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"What is the #1 tourist attraction in Sydney?" Harbour Bridge Tip by etfromnc

Harbour Bridge, Sydney: 208 reviews and 336 photos

  Sydney Harbor Bridge from Circular Quay
by etfromnc

I guessed the Opera House, did you? I was wrong. I hope that you weren't.
According to Lonely Planet, the Sydney Harbor Bridge is the number one tourist attraction in all of New South Wales. It is also richly admired and heavily used by the locals. It can, of course be driven over, but it can also be walked across, cycled across, climbed, seen from a train, and, of course, sailed under. I was fortunate enough to walk and drive across and to climb up it. I even met some hardy souls skateboarding across. It is the most massive structure in Sydney and can be glimpsed from some very unexpected places within Sydney.
Nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design, it opened in 1932 and according to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the world's widest long-span bridge. It is also the fifth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world, and is the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 meters (440 ft) from top to water level. Until 1967 the Harbor Bridge was Sydney's tallest structure.
A harbor bridge was first proposed in 1815 but serious planning did not begin until 1912. When it finally began on 28 July 1923, construction of the bridge coincided with the construction of a system of underground railways in Sydney's CBD (Central Business District), known today as the City Circle, and the bridge was designed with this in mind. Designed to carry four lanes of road traffic, flanked on each side by two railway tracks and a footpath, both sets of rail tracks were linked into the underground Wynyard railway station on the south (city) side of the bridge by symmetrical ramps and tunnels. Plans for the north end were more nebulous and have changed several times over the past 80 years.
The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932.
In his 1951 book, "Return to Paradise," James Michener said,
"To get on in Australia, you must make two observations. Say, "You have the most beautiful bridge in the world" and "They tell me you trounced England again in the cricket." The first statement will be a lie. Sydney Bridge [sic] is big, utilitarian and the symbol of Australia, like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower. But it is very ugly. No Australian will admit this."
There are two very different ways to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Being cheap and not a mountain climber anyway, I simply climbed the 200 steps of the bridge’s South East Pylon to its 87 meter summit at a cost of about Aus$2. Some of my more daring, and richer, friends suited themselves up and strapped themselves to the exoskeleton of the bridge, at a cost of approximately Aus$200, to climb all the way to the 134 meter (~ 400 foot) ultimate top of the bridge.

Directions: From the Sydney CBD side, motor vehicle access to the bridge is normally via Grosvenor Street, Clarence Street, Kent Street, the Cahill Expressway, or the Western Distributor. Drivers on the northern side will find themselves on the Warringah Freeway.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 16, 2013
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