Lonely Planet review
Whether they’re driving over it, climbing up it, rollerblading across it or sailing under it, Sydneysiders adore their bridge and swarm around it like ants on ice cream. Dubbed the ‘old coathanger’, it’s a spookily big object – moving around town you’ll catch sight of it in the corner of your eye and get a fright! Perhaps Sydney poet Kenneth Slessor said it best: ‘Day and night, the bridge trembles and echoes like a living thing.’
Vital statistics: 134m high, 502m long, 49m wide and 53,000 tonnes. The massive bridge links the CBD with North Sydney, crossing the harbour at one of its narrowest points. The two halves of chief engineer JJC Bradfield’s mighty arch were built outwards from each shore. In 1932, after nine years of merciless toil by 1400 workers, the two arches were only centimetres apart when 100km/h winds set them swaying. The coathanger hung tough and the arch was soon completed. In 2007 the bridge turned 75 – 250,000 people celebrated by walking across the great span.
The best way to experience the bridge is on foot – don’t expect much of a view crossing by train or car (driving south there’s a toll). Staircases access the bridge from both shores; a footpath runs along its eastern side. If this view doesn’t sate you, try a knee-trembling BridgeClimb , or scale the southeast pylon to the Pylon Lookout Museum enter via the bridge stairs on Cumberland St. The views from the top are awesome, and museum exhibits explain how the bridge was built. The pylons may look as though they’re shouldering all the weight, but they’re largely decorative – right down to their granite facing.