The Sydney Harbour Bridge is excellent because supports additional life experiences other than its basic transportation function.  In that sense it is a full-service bridge.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge,   By:  Adam J.W.C  [Creative Commons]


The structure is one of the world’s great bridges.  It opened in 1932 and it was the second longest arch at the time, just behind the Bayonne Bridge which was completed the year before.  At this point it is #6 on the longest arch span list, having been surpassed by three new Chinese bridges and the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia in addition to the Bayonne Bridge. 


Chaotianmen Bridge

Chaotianmen Bridge  - World’s Longest arch span   By:  Civil Digital, Vinu John


The New River Gorge Bridge, by the way, also functions in ways besides just connecting point A to point B.  It is the focus of “Bridge Day” where brave souls parachute off or tie their feet with giant rubber bands and bungee jump into the canyon below.  When people tell you to “go jump off a bridge”, in West Virginia they are serious about it.

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge Bridge   By:  MarkDoliner  [Creative Commons]


New River Gorge Bridge Base JumpJumping off the New River Gorge Bridge on Bridge Day    By: Courtesy of Trip Advisor


For many years, the Sydney Harbor Bridge has offered tourists the opportunity of a bridge walk


The walk is not on the placid flat part of the bridge, but it is a tour up the curved above-deck arch.  This tour takes advantage of maintenance access ways on the top chord of the arch.  Participants get to wear special futuristic jump suits, and they are tied down via harness connections for safety.  The pre-climb checklist notes that participants must be in good health and may need to provide a Certificate of Fitness from the doctor.  If climbers have too high a blood alcohol level, they are uninvited from the climb.  Also, it is recommended to avoid the tour for participants who have a fear of heights.  Although, the tour company is not averse to encouraging even acrophobiacs to climb.  For those afraid of heights, the mutual benefits are of conquering one’s fear for the climber and the additional fee for the tourist company. 


Once participants are cleared for the adventure, the guide notes that “step by step you’ll ascend the arches of the bridge”, which would seem to be the way to do it.   Unrelated to Australia, the description, “step by step”, is a prominent part of an Abbott and Costello routine that takes place at Niagara Falls.


Climber Bear

Climber bear   By:  Bridge Climb, Sydney


Cameras are not permitted on the bridge climb but you can buy photographs and other items at the souvenir shop (which is not on top of the arch but at the base).  Merchandise includes a bridge hoodie and a climber teddy bear.  There is also a special edition of Monopoly that is based on the bridge climb.  One of the tokens is a small version of the bridge.  But there are no kangaroos.


Proposing marriage on top of the bridge is a recent trend.  Since bridge climbing began, the Daily Mail notes that the bridge has supported over 4000 marriage proposals, leading to 25 weddings conducted at the summit.  Wedding receptions are probably conducted off the bridge where there is more space for au d'oeuvres and not all the guests are required to endure the rigor of the climb.  


If you think that a bridge climb in a special jumpsuit is good but you want to take it to the next level, the latest activity is a dance party on top of the bridge.  


Dancing on Sydney Harbour Bridge

Dancing on Sydney harbour bridge   By:  Bonnie Van Dorp / Bridge Climb Sydney


As part of the city-wide “Vivid” festival, a dance platform is constructed on top of the arch and participants are invited to groove to the bridge beat.  The festival includes live music, light shows at night throughout the city, and lecture programs.  The dance platform fits the categories of both light shows and live music.  The platform is not too big, and dancers are probably encouraged to limit their moves to safely stay on top of the bridge.  Otherwise there would be concerns.  Let’s say that during the festival there was an Australian Square Dance on top of the bridge.  The caller (and you need to imagine this in an Australian accent) says:


“Swing your partner right!  Dosee Doe!”


And the square dancers swing their partners to the right, but too far!  One plummets off the edge, to an encounter hundreds of feet below in the harbour with kangaroo sharks.


You can be friends with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Facebook (and I am hoping this will continue after the recent data problems – it is possible that the online bridge “friend” is actually a Russian spy, but probably not.)  My bridge friend has provided many spectacular photos of celebrations and special events, including information from Vivid parties.  A dance party on top of the bridge sounds good to me.  Maybe the focus should be on slow dances.