Sydney: Walk on Sydney Harbour Bridge

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 1 Afternoon Itinerary :

  • Circular Quay 
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk 
How We Got There :
Bus to Circular Quay from Broadway Shopping Centre.

Too Late for Ferry? 

Arriving by bus from Central Station, we walked towards the wharves at Circular Quay, planning to take a ferry to Watsons Bay.

Unfortunately, we were already a little late (4.30 pm) and based on the ferry timetable, we wouldn’t be able to catch a ferry back from Watsons Bay since the last ferry departing from there on a weekday is at 4:45 pm (so early!).

We decided to just do a round-trip along the route F7 (Eastern Suburbs) without alighting from the ferry instead, so that we could admire Sydney’s Harbour from it while the sun was setting.

“Hi,” I approached and told the staff at the wharves’ ticket counter about our plan, just to confirm that it was alright. We had just come out with this plan after checking through today’s timetable so we were confident of a positive acknowledgement.

“No, you’re too late for our last ferry.” Such was the unexpected reply from the staff.

Feeling surprised and confused over his negative response, we left the counter with thoughts circling in my mind…

“Hmm? How can this be? It was written clearly on the F7 timetable that the last outbound ferry would continue till near midnight today, just that there would be no ferry departing from Watsons Bay….” I thought.

The ferry would just stop briefly at Rose Bay before returning to Circular Quay again, which is actually that we wanted — a round-trip around the harbour! The staff seemed to have misunderstood our request and just assumed we wanted to go to Watsons Bay.

As a result, we decided to do the ferry ride on another day instead. We would have to find an empty time slot in our packed itinerary to fit it in though.


Circular Quay

We then walked left along Circular Quay, and it was here where we saw the famous Sydney Opera House for the first time! We were momentarily mesmerized by it, not exactly by its beauty (since we already knew how it looked like from books and shows), but because it was such a famous landmark and we could finally be seeing it with our bare eyes!

Photography Time!

[CAT]: We walked past the Master Steps and reached an area known as the ‘Water Taxis Campbell Cove’. It is beside a nice Restaurant Tower, the Imperial Peking Harbourside. This spot allowed us to have a good view of the Sydney Opera House and take photographs with it.

We had Dar sitting on the embankment with the Opera House as the background, as he had run ahead of us. After I took the shot and walked closer, I realised the deep waters was just behind it at a high level! I was surprised because there was no railings for this long stretch unlike the earlier stretch closer to Circular Quay. Fortunately, Dar was cautious and didn’t decide to do anything funny then. If he toppled over, he would be in the deep waters next…

With our gorillapod, we also managed to get our first family shot in Sydney, one with the Sydney Opera House. A ‘must-take’ since it is an icon for Sydney. Passers-by were wondering what we were up to as we set up the shot. Some were kind enough to notice we were taking a self-timed shot and stopped in their tracks to prevent walking into our shot as we took a few to get the best. Subsequently for this trip, we encountered many people kind enough to help us take shots or patiently waited for us to take photographs before they moved on.

Walking a bit more to the cove, we found another good photo spot for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Finding our way to the Bridge 

In front of us was the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it was when up close that we discovered how tall and huge the bridge really was. We were naively thinking we could find a way up by going nearer to it at the bay, only to realised there was no way we could get up there from our location.

We decided to walk inside towards ‘The Rocks’ area where we saw quite a number of restaurants, cafes, historical buildings and network of streets. It was so different from the modern Sydney in Central where we were staying.

After asking a few people, we finally found one who directed us the way onto the bridge. He told us to continue walking until we find a staircase which leads to the top — we had to backtrack along the bridge from the bay along Cumberland Street and pass through the King George V Memorial Park, until we reached ‘Bridge Stairs’ which would lead us upwards. Fortunately, the man had described clearly that it was a spiralled staircase because the structure looked so ordinary and old, else we might have passed it.

Entrance to Sydney Harbour Bridge
It was an ordinary structure in a quiet neighbourhood… Didn’t look like an entrance to the bridge

[CAT] : From the map, we should have walked in from the ‘Master Steps’ earlier towards ‘The Rocks’. If we did that however, we would have missed the ‘Water Taxis Cove’ and not found two great photo spots for the attractions above.

To Sydney Harbour Bridge

“Hey-ho! Hey-ho!” We panted and puffed as we struggled to climb up the winding stairways, after already walking quite a distance before this (spent 10 mins locating here). Well, except for our Energizer Bunny Dar, whose energy level never seems to die off, especially when it comes to stairs and ramps.

He ran happily ahead, pausing and looking back at us, wondering why we hadn’t caught up with him yet, while we made sure he’s always within our sight. After we finally reached the top of the stairway, we could see cars and trains zooming past us on the bridge but there was no sight of a pedestrian walkway! Have we taken the wrong way?

It didn’t take us long to get down one flight of stairs and find the ‘correct’ path however, where many joggers and visitors were traveling on. We must be too busy catching up with Dar and climbing all the way up to notice them. ^^|

Starting our walk 

By now, the sun was setting and disappearing across the horizon on the opposite of the bridge, so we probably missed the best time to catch the harbour view from the bridge. Nevertheless, since we had already witnessed the beauty of the opera house glimmering under the setting sun earlier at Circular Quay, we didn’t feel we would have missed much.

With Earth’s largest heater (aka The Sun) quickly disappearing in sight, the temperature started to drop quickly, especially with strong winds blowing at us on the tall bridge. Still, the cold air was comfortable since we were wearing sufficient layers of clothing and exercising (yes, walking is exercising ^^). We walked from the southern side of the bridge to its northern end and had a fun time doing so. Not just due to the views but because of our bonding time and funny antics from Dar along the way. Moreover, it was always an enjoyable experience to walk long distances without feeling sweaty, something rarely experienced in tropical Singapore.

[CAT]: If you noticed our itineraries in different countries so far, we always love to walk/reach high places and do a walk or view the entire landscape from a high point. It’s a blessing Dar is more active than us and capable to do long walks too. The bridge walk actually felt like a walk uphill. Hence, it was quite tiring at some points and we rested often to look at the nice scenery. Only when we reached the other end, it turned into a downhill walk.

Took a walk on Sydney Harbour Bridge
The boats looked like ‘toy boats’ from up here…
Lower Right: That cove was where we were sitting at, taking our photographs just now.

Nearing the center where the arch was, people could do a ‘Bridge Climb’ or walk on the arch of the bridge. If one is daring enough…

Interestingly, we noticed many signs along our walk, cautioning people not to climb over the fences and that 24-hour surveillance cameras are constantly watching us. We also saw several security personnel standing guard at various points. I bet there must have been quite a number of visitors partaking in dangerous, daredevil stunts in the past to call for such security measures today?

Contrary to our beliefs (which originated from those beautiful postcards of the night scenery), the Sydney Opera House didn’t look that stunning after the sun had set, as there weren’t much lights shining on it to attenuate its beauty. I would have expected brighter and more colourful lighting since it was such a famous landmark for Sydney.

Time Taken to walk from start to end of Bridge: 23 minutes

After crossing the bridge’s northern end, we continued our walk for another ten minutes until we reached the Milsons Point Train Station. From there, we took a direct train back to Town Hall Station in search for dinner at Chinatown. (We didn’t find one nice enough and ended up at Kura Kura in Haymarket)

In Summary: 

We only managed to complete one part of our itinerary for the day due to the time wasted in the hunt for the mobile Optus Card (which we needed immediately to Google locations and transport timings). The sun set too fast at around 5.30 pm so we couldn’t do much in the night.

Failed To Walk:

  • Sydney Opera House – Didn’t manage to go to where it was located to view it up close.
  • Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a famous landmark but didn’t had the time. 


Why Visit Sydney Harbour? 

  • Sydney Harbour is considered to be one of the world’s finest harbours known for its beauty.
  • It was the point of entry for the first British explorers in 1770, where British eventually colonized Botany Bay and other Europeans came (their descendants are the main population race in Australia now).[source: Wikipedia]
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in 1932. It is the sixth longest spanning-arch bridge and the tallest steel arch bridge in the world. More info

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