Sydney Harbour Bridge

Top choice bridge

in Circular Quay & The Rocks
Photo by Norman Herfurth

Sydneysiders love their giant 'coathanger', which opened in 1932. The best way to experience this majestic structure is on foot. Stairs and lifts climb up the bridge from both shores, leading to a footpath on the eastern side (the western side is a bike path). Getting the train to Milsons Point and walking back towards the city is the most spectacular. Climb the southeastern pylon to the Pylon Lookout or ascend the arc on the popular if expensive BridgeClimb.

The harbour bridge is a spookily big object – moving around town you’ll catch sight of it in the corner of your eye, sometimes in the most surprising of places. Its enormous dimensions (the arch is 134m high, the span measures 503m and it has 53,000 tonnes of steel) make it the biggest (if not the longest) steel arch bridge in the world.

The two halves of chief engineer JJC Bradfield’s mighty arch were built outwards from each shore in what was a huge source of Depression employment. In 1930, after seven 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 finally bolted together. Extensive load-testing preceded the bridge's opening two years later.