Sydney Harbour Bridge

A stunning arch over the harbour, the bridge is over 1km long and was built in 1932.

TravelCurious Tip

The BridgeClimb tours leave every 10 minutes, but the maximum group size is only 12 – be sure to book ahead to avoid waiting.

Variously referred to as “The Coathanger”, “The Blue Arch of Heaven” or simply “The Bridge”, there can be no doubting that Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia’s true national treasures. It dramatically straddles the city’s harbour with a span of over 500m and, with the top of its magnificent arch standing a staggering 134m above the water, it is the tallest bridge of its kind in the world.

Capturing Hearts and Minds

Designed and built by a British firm from Middlesborough, the bridge was opened in 1932 to a thunderous reception. Estimates of the number of people in attendance at the opening vary from 300,000 to a million, an astonishing number in either case given that the population of Sydney at the time was just 1.2 million. The construction of the bridge was seen by many as a triumph over the economic depression gripping the world at the time.

To The Top

Now, more than 80 years later, the bridge is crossed by around 200,000 vehicles every day. This fact alone goes some way to show that, although the nearby Sydney Opera house has probably succeeded the bridge as Australia’s national landmark, it is the bridge which more likely holds pride of place in the hearts of everyday Sydneysiders. There are a variety of different ways to appreciate it, but without doubt the most spectacular is the BridgeClimb. Not for the faint of heart, it involves climbing up ladders and stairs and along gangways, all the while being entertained by your guide with stories of the bridge’s history, until you finally arrive at the summit of the great arch. There are tours during the day, at sunset and at night, and all offer unique and spectacular views of the Sydney shoreline.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Sydney
Sydney Opera House
One of the most iconic buildings of the modern era, designed by Jorn Utzon and opened in 1973.
Port Jackson
This natural inlet was the first site of European colonisation in Australia.
The Rocks
Established shortly after Sydney's formation and now in the shadow of the harbour bridge, this neighbourhood has character in spades - and the city's oldest pubs.
The Rocks Discovery Museum
A museum charting the history of The Rocks from pre-European times to the modern day.
Cadmans Cottage
Sydney's oldest surviving residential building, one of the last remaining of the original colony.
Harbour Cruise
Getting out on the water is the best way to see Sydney in all its glory.

Related Tours

Private Half Day Highlights of Sydney with local guide
You will start your tour at Circular Quay, famed as the main departure point for the city’s many ferries and also for the didgeridoo players close-by.  

Sydney Opera House

Your guide will lead you on a short walk to what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the city: the iconic Sydney Opera House.  Set on a spit of land jutting out into Sydney Harbour, and opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II, this centre for performing arts has won international acclaim for its style and beauty.  You will visit the outside the Sydney Opera House and take a look out at the magnificent panoramic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Downtown Sydney

Now heading inland, your guide will take you up Macquarie Street, stopping briefly to admire the State Library of New South Wales - the oldest public library in Australia.  At the end of Macquarie you’ll be faced by the lush greenery of Hyde Park, Sydney’s equivalent to Central Park in New York or the original Hyde Park in London.  Flanking one side of park is the imposing St. Mary’s Cathedral that is the current seat of the Archbishop of Sydney.

After a quick stop in the park, you’ll move across town through one of Sydney’s oldest shopping arcades, The Strand, before heading back to circular quay down high-rise George St.  This will be the perfect opportunity for your guide tell you the story of modern Sydney and how it has grown into the metropolis you see today.

The Rocks: Convicts and Rebellion private tour
Hidden to some degree under the shadow of the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks neighbourhood is as old as Sydney itself.  Although gentrified these days, The Rocks retains the old architecture, historic pubs and mazy streets of its turbulent and fascinating past.

History of Convicts and Rebellion

You will start your tour at The Rocks Discovery Museum which chronicles the remarkable history of the area all the way from pre-European times to the modern day.  This will serve as a light overview for the tour to come, moving from the British landing in 1788, to the convict struggles in the 19th century, to the transformations that have shaped The Rocks we see today.

The chief of these changes is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which looms over the historic Rocks as a constant reminder of modernisation.  Your guide will walk you and talk you through the ins and outs of this world-famous bridge that was at the cutting-edge of architectural design when it opened in 1932.

Pubs and Eateries

With its rough, working-class, convict roots, it is no surprise that the oldest, most-atmospheric pubs can be found in The Rocks.  Your guide will take you past three of the oldest: Fortune of War, the Lord Nelson Brewery and the Hero of Waterloo, and there’ll certainly be time to have a quick taste.  On their sandstone facades, be sure to look closely for the fine etchings made by generations of convicts.

Finally, you will be taken through more alleyways to Cadman’s Cottage, one of the oldest and best preserved buildings in Sydney.


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