Sydney Harbour Bridge
The largest steel arch bridge in the world, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an iconic landmark spanning one of the finest natural harbours known to mankind. Opened in 1932, the bridge is fondly nicknamed the Coathanger by Sydneysiders. You can walk and cycle across the bridge or climb to the top for stunning views.
The iconic bridge took eight years to build using 53,000 tonnes of steel and six-million hand-driven rivets. During construction, the two steel halves of the towering arch met in the middle of the span on 19 August 1930 at 10pm. Other fascinating facts about the famous Australian bridge include:
- The arch spans 503 metres
- The top is 134 metres above the water
- The pylon granite was quarried near Moruya, on the NSW South Coast
- The father of the bridge is J.J.C. Bradfield, an engineer
Things to do
The bridge walk is on the eastern side. You’ll find the stairs up to the bridge walk next to the pedestrian crossing near the Australian Heritage Hotel, on Cumberland Street in the historic Rocks. Along the walk is the south-eastern Pylon Lookout, which offers a spectacular panorama.
The cycleway is on the western side of the bridge. You can gain access to cycleway near the Sydney Observatory, a beautiful heritage-listed building with telescopes for star-gazing. You can hire bicycles in the city or join Sydney Bike Tours, Bonza Bike Tours or Bikebuffs for guided tours.
For an unforgettable experience, BridgeClimb Sydney will take you to the top for 360-degree views of Sydney and beyond. BridgeClimb is on Cumberland Street, near where the road curves under the bridge and stairs go down to a colonial military battery at Dawes Point (Ta-Ra) Park.
Another memorable way to marvel at the bridge is on a ferry. Take a ferry from Circular Quay past the bridge and the Sydney Opera House to Taronga Zoo, Manly or Watsons Bay. Or glide underneath the bridge to destinations including Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Cockatoo Island and Parramatta.
What about bridge sightseeing with a harbour cruise? You can choose from a delicious range of harbour cruises, including lunch, high tea, sunset cocktails or dinner cruises. There are wonderful sailing tours, too. For a bird’s-eye view, fly in a seaplane from Rose Bay or a helicopter from Mascot.
Eat and drink
Its location in The Rocks means that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to heritage pubs surrounding the Coathanger. The Australian Heritage Hotel and The Glenmore are both on Cumberland Street and around the corner, the Harbour View Hotel is situated just under the bridge. Sit outside and look up.
Nearby, you have the restaurants along Walsh Bay and The Rocks. Fine diner The Gantry is just around the corner from the bridge but if you want views of it while you dine, catch a ferry to the north side of the harbour and pull up a seat at Aqua Dining, Sails on Lavender Bay or Ripples Milsons Point.