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First Time to Australia: Is the Sydney BridgeClimb Really Worth $250?

January 9, 2014 at 3:24 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's always sunny in Australia, or at least right now it is, during the Southern Summer. Oz is one of those destinations that can take a little more planning and a little more money to make happen, but it's worth it the moment you set foot on Aussie soil. All this week we'll be sharing our best tips for taking that leap for a first-time trip Down Under.

You’ve landed in Sydney. First things first—grab your bags, get into town, head to the harbor for a look at the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, consider climbing said bridge, suffer sticker shock when you read that the prices for BridgeClimb average $250 AUD.

Decision time.

Prices actually vary from $198 for a night climb all the way up to $308 for a dawn climb (child rates are lower). The most popular choice is a $245 daytime climb on the weekend, and do reserve one of those as early as possible (it can be done online).

Why you should go for it:

· If you're at all interested in architecture, history, nature, transportation, construction, engineering, urban development, geography, Australia or Sydney in general, it's most definitely up your alley.
· it's a moderate workout and a mild adrenaline rush that won't have you panting too hard, but at the end of the day you will enjoy the "runner's high" that only comes from a good exercise.
· You can brag to high heaven and post the BridgeClimb photo to Facebook.
· The VIEWS! On a clear day, you'll see all ends of the harbour plus get a feel for exactly how sprawling are Sydney and its suburbs. On a rainy or misty day, the tour will still operate and you'll have a unique perspective on the flow of a major city and its infrastructure against Mother Nature.
· It's actually invigorating to experience a major tourist site free from the need to fuss with a camera, watch out for pickpockets, or corner yourself with "am I getting the most from this?" The BridgeClimb requires climbers to leave all cameras and belongings behind (in a locked locker, no worries) and the plain act of putting yourself outside of a comfort zone is a point in your court.

Why it's maybe not the best idea:

· If you're traveling on a super tight budget and your choice is between doing the BridgeClimb or having a place to sleep at night.
· If your whole goal is to get a super epic photo. The photos will be good, no doubt, but because you're not in charge of the camera and there is limited time and unpredictable weather, the photos end up how they end up. There'll be no multiple retakes or directing the framing of the shot, because there's others yet to photograph and your tour does need to move along.

Specific little bits that help to make it worth the money:
· Checking out the celebrity BridgeClimb photos in the waiting area, and spying people like Pierce Brosnan, James Bond himself donning the same unisuit and giving the same, uncontrollably cheesy tourist grin as in your photos.
· A great wireless radio system that allows you to listen in to your guide’s directions and stories without having to be at the front of the pack.
· Clearly defined paths and walkways. The BridgeClimb does not simply walk across girders or make you shimmy up structures; it all takes place between handrails, on paths and stairs, and with constant connection between your harness safety belt and a steel cable along the entire way. Even occasional occurrences where you’ll need to crouch are in spaces padded “just in case.”
· Commemorative photos, a baseball hat, and a certificate of BridgeClimb completion are included with the price. You won’t have much choice in the photo pose, as we’ve previously discussed, but at least there’s no worry that you’ll have to whip out your wallet again at the end.
· Entry to the Pylon Lookout is included, though you may just want to head to a pub afterward. The Pylon Lookout is 200 stairs inside one of the bridge's four pylons, which takes you to a small museum on the bridge construction and yet another awesome viewpoint.

If you happen to be in town between February 17 and March 6, 2014, BridgeClimb is offering a special “Mardi Gras Disco Climb” to celebrate the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. It will cost the same and follow the route of the Discovery Climb, but with the added funk of a disco ball and dance party at the top, plus a tour narrative focused on the city’s LGBT history.

We were a guest of Tourism Australia for the BridgeClimb, but will go back and pay the even higher rates to experience it again during dusk or dawn, because it’s that good.

[Photos: BridgeClimb, Jaunted]

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