Thursday, January 27, 2005

Australia Day

So yesterday, to mark the invasion of Australia in 1788, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge! It’s worth a few more exclamation marks!!!

Did it at 7am to avoid the heat and even then it was still very warm – you have to wear these really attractive jumpsuits (with logo, of course) made from a lovely clingy synthetic material and then a safety harness & radio & other things clipped on to it. You’re not allowed to bring your own camera or even wear any jewellery – there’s a metal detector test before you go up. It takes about 3 hours altogether and costs about 200 dollars.

First you go out onto a catwalk under the motorway (about 50 metres above the ground) and cross to the pylon tower, then up a series of ladders to the start of the metal arch. When I started up the first ladder the guide said in a jokey kind of way ‘your head will pop up between lane 7 & 8 of the motorway’ – he wasn’t kidding!

We then went up on to the arch and climbed up the side looking out over the Opera House. It’s not as steep as it looks and there are steps and a handrail there for the maintenance workers so it’s a pretty easy climb - we were taking fairly handy anyway because everyone’s so wrapped up in the view. Because it was Australia Day there was lots of activity in the harbour – there was a race on with 1000 surfers paddling on their boards across the harbour – they looked like insects in the water! The tall ships were out too and lots of smaller yachts. There’s also a giant disco ball hanging off the top of the arch this month too, thanks to the Sydney Festival – very glam ;-)

At the top of the arch we crossed a wire mesh catwalk to the opposite side – bit nerve-wracking that bit! Looking down through the mesh past the motorway and railtracks to the water beneath… And the guide said we were 134 metres or 1 ½ football fields or about 5 seconds above the water ;-)

The ladders going down on the other side were also a bit scary – passing between the railway lines with the roar and rattle of trains going by.

Still, I reckon it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Unforgettable experience. Like seeing the Grand Canyon in the snow or watching sunrise at Uluru. Was it worth the price? Absolutely. Was it worth the airfare to Sydney? Probably!

How I spent Australia Day 2005! Posted by Hello