Sydney Harbour Bridge

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia.

Sydney Harbour

That first view of Sydney Harbour Bridge is an unforgettable moment. Start with a stroll down George Street, heading deep into the heart of centuries of Australia's history.

Excitement builds as you reach Circular Quay and clap eyes on the unlikely white-sail outline of the Opera House, glinting in the sunshine. As you continue around the quayside the finest view of them all slowly unfurls: the greatest coat-hanger on the planet. Only now have you arrived in Australia.

History of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

The bridge was completed in 1932 and remains the world’s widest long-span and tallest steel arch bridge. It carries foot, road and rail traffic from the North Shore to The Rocks but also performs a far more important function. Simply, Sydney Harbour Bridge is the symbol of the country. It is the backdrop for a breathtaking New Year’s Eve fireworks display and is arguably Australia’s top tourist draw.

Best views

You can see the Sydney Harbour Bridge for free on foot or take a ferry under it for a small fee or buy a ticket to ascend its south pylon.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Many visitors also take the Bridge Climb (£80 – £125), a jaw-dropping walk to the apex of the arch. One climb follows the curve of the arch to the top, while the other explores the inner structure of the bridge before ascending to the top via a mighty staircase.

Sydney is superb anytime of year, but November brings lovely early summer sunshine and fewer crowds than December and January.

Planning your trip to Sydney

Sydney Australia is a good first stop when planning a visit to the city. If you’re going further afield, start at the Official Australia Tourism website.

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