Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge – with kids!

If you’re looking for something unforgettable to do with the family in Sydney – why not climb the Harbour Bridge together?

This week we found ourselves standing on the top of the world - aka. the Sydney Harbour Bridge, thanks to BridgeClimb Sydney!

This week we found ourselves standing on the top of the world with BridgeClimb Sydney!

As Brooke my eldest daughter’s 12th birthday approached, I searched around for ideas on how to mark the occasion. When I suggested climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to her, she jumped at the chance! Finally the day of our climb arrived and we were all really excited. BridgeClimb is located in a beautiful historic space underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge approach in The Rocks. Parking just a short stroll away, or you can catch the train to Circular Quay station and walk a few minutes from there.

BridgeClimb Sydney is located under the Harbour Bridge approach

BridgeClimb Sydney is located under the Harbour Bridge approach

Who can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

I originally climbed the Harbour Bridge back when they first opened in 1998. You’re in good hands with BridgeClimb Sydney. Professionalism and safety are the number one priority from start to finish of what really is one of the greatest man-made structure climbs of the world. It may seem a bit daunting at first – after all, the Bridge is absolutely huge! However if you can walk a couple of kilometres on a level surface, climb up and down fixed ladders and walk up a moderate hill, then chances are you can climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! (There are a few precluding factors you need to check first, here).

The big question many parents ask, is are children allowed to climb the Harbour Bridge? The answer is yes – kids as young as 8 years old and who meet a 1.2 metre minimum height are allowed to climb. My youngest child, 10 year old Samantha did it easily. BridgeClimb even host children’s birthday parties on the Harbour Bridge! (How’s that for the best Sydney kid’s birthday party idea ever?!)

Preparing to climb

Check in at the BridgeClimb recption desk first

Check in at the BridgeClimb recption desk first

Upon arrival, we headed to the reception desk. Here too you will find a large gift shop selling those important “I climbed it!” souvenirs, for when you come back down! There is a also a very good café offering snacks and drinks. If you haven’t had anything to eat prior to your climb, it may be wise to have a quick bite to eat here. The original climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge takes anywhere from three hours or more, and you don’t want to be climbing hungry.

The BridgeClimb gift shop and café

The BridgeClimb gift shop and café

Preparation for the climb is done in highly-organised stages. It’s all very efficient and thorough – which is especially reassuring when you are taking your children up the Harbour Bridge with you!

Firstly, we were given our admission tickets and directed up a flight of stairs. We entered a room where we sat and filled out the necessary paperwork, and met our fellow climbers. There were eight in our group. Here we also performed a quick alcohol breath test.

We were then directed into the next room, where everyone received their jumpsuit to wear. The BridgeClimb jumpsuits are light cotton, neck-to-ankle with a zip up the back. Wet weather pants were also handed out, as rain was forecast on the day of our climb. Warm fleece jumpers are also provided if the weather is cold.

Then it was time to get changed, and we were shown into the change-room cubicles and storage locker area.

Getting outfitted

BridgeClimb clothes are light and comfortable - and come in kid's sizes!

BridgeClimb clothes are light and comfortable – and come in kid’s sizes!

We were advised not to wear too many clothes underneath our jumpsuits so that we didn’t get too hot.

It’s really important that whilst you are climbing the Harbour Bridge, that nothing is dropped which may fall down to the bridge below. So absolutely everything you wear or carry is attached to your person in some way. BridgeClimb are extremely careful when it comes to the possibility of loose items.

What you aren’t allowed to wear or take with you during your climb – no loose items – your watch, dangly earrings or jewellery, your camera, mobile phone or wallet. Don’t worry, you are given a locker to store your clothes and valuables and take the key with you, hung around your neck.

What you are allowed to wear or take with you during your climb – you can take your prescription or sunglasses with you – you’ll be provided with a cord to attach them around your neck. Hair bands on your hair and rings on your fingers are also fine to wear. Your free BridgeClimb cap will be attached to you with a clip-on cord. You will also receive a handkerchief, which secures around your wrist with a band.

Tip! Be sure to wear enclosed shoes for your climb – normal sneakers or sports shoes are very comfy and suit the job perfectly!

Special climbing equipment

When everyone was dressed, our Climb Leader took us to a special area to put our climbing gear on.

We all stood around a large metal ring. which we “hooked on” to, to help us fit our climbing belts. On the belt was an attached tether-cord and hook system. These are what keep you attached to the Bridge at all times so that you can’t possibly fall off!

Then we each received a radio and headset to wear, so that we could hear our Climb Leader at all times during our climb.

Rain jackets rolled up in pouches  (which our Climb Leader jokingly referred to as parachutes!) were clipped onto the back of our belts. Complimentary BridgeClimb hats were given out at this time, too – a great souvenir to keep of this special day!

Now we were all-ready for our test climb!

But first – a short test run!

Before heading out to tackle the real Harbour Bridge, everyone doing the original climb is required to complete a short test-climb. This is a small structure located inside the BridgeClimb building. Climbers get to practise hooking on to a cable and climbing a few short ladder sections and walkway. It’s a great way to make sure everyone knows how to go up and down the ladders correctly.

Once everyone had had a test-climb, it was time to begin our Sydney Harbour Bridge climb!

Your Climb Leader

Although other BridgeClimb staff may be present at certain areas along the way, your main support during your Harbour Bridge climb is your Climb Leader. He or she will lead and direct you, help you with any issues or concerns you may have, and make sure that everyone is together and okay. Our Climb Leader managed everyone with ease and assisted us whenever we needed it. He kept us all entertained too, with fascinating Sydney Harbour facts and history. He was even our group photographer, taking some rather spectacular family photographs of us along the way. We were very well-looked after by BridgeClimb staff throughout the entire climb.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge climb  

We headed off together as a group along a walkway to the entrance door leading out onto the Harbour Bridge. Our safety tethers were hooked on to a metal cable, and slid alongside us as we walked, just as we had practiced. These would keep us firmly attached to the Bridge at all times. Don’t worry – there’s no way you can fall off, and there’s also continuous hand rails to help support and guide you along the way.

As we prepared to step out onto the Bridge, a group of excited climbers were returning. It was lightly raining, but we didn’t care a bit – we were about to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Our Climb Leader gave us a hand to put our rain jackets on, and then we were off

We walked single-file through the huge stone pillars and out onto the level metal catwalks beneath the bridge roadway. The traffic clattered overhead, and far below us we could see tourists wandering around the Sydney Rocks Area – it was surreal, exciting, and already, incredibly thrilling!

Climbers walking the Harbour Bridge catwalks high above the Sydney Rocks area

Climbers walking the Harbour Bridge catwalks high above the Sydney Rocks area

An unexpected bonus

Even from the very start of the climb, there were regular stops to allow everyone to catch up wherever necessary. Then we heard the rumble of distant thunder, and were informed that there would be a safety stop ahead. BridgeClimb staff had decided that as a precaution, they would divert climbers to an enclosed “backstage” maintenance area whilst the storm passed. This was an unexpected development which turned out to be a bit of a bonus – it meant that we got more time on the bridge, plus we got to see a behind-the-scenes area, too!

We all sat down for a chat to wait it out, deep inside the Harbour Bridge itself. BridgeClimb staff were very attentive, checking that everyone was fine. Drinking water and toilets were available here, too. We received regular weather updates during this time, and then were delighted to hear that the storm had passed, and we could safely continue on and up the Bridge!

The ladders

Off we went again, now reaching the true climbing part of the Bridge – a set of  ladders which take you up through the road level to the beginning of the arch. With staff at both the bottom and top to advise and guide us, this ladder section posed no problem at all. When I had originally climbed the bridge years ago, these ladders had been two long sections. Now they had been shortened to more manageable lengths, with platforms in between, which made them even more user-friendly. When we reached the top of the ladders, there was time for a family photograph with the arch stretching up behind us – challenge, accepted!

Ready to climb the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Ready to climb the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

On top of the world!

As soon as this photo was taken and the kids were allowed, off they eagerly went, up the arch. They were having a brilliant time! The arch walkway is made-up of flat steps, with secure railings along either side. Although the arch can look imposing, it’s actually quite easy to manage due to the organised rest stops to catch your breath. Near the top it was time for the iconic Opera House photographs – here’s a birthday photograph Brooke will always remember!

A very special birthday photograph

For a different perspective, you also get a photograph with Sydney City as your backdrop. You can pose however you like for your photos, but it’s really hard not to go for the iconic victory poses – you’re on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, after all!

Our Sydney City view shotIt was just such a thrill to be up at the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – realising that you are actually standing where the flashing red light and twin flags fly. Normally they looked so tiny from way down on the ground! We were given some time to soak it all up and take in the amazing 360 degree views. Then we crossed over from one side of the Bridge to the other via a connecting walkway – and  it was photo time again. This time, there was even the opportunity for a quick video!


Eventually it was time to head back down the bridge – but not before our Climb Leader lead everyone in an enthusiastic rendition of the Happy Birthday song for Brooke! One thing was for sure – this was certainly a birthday she was never going to forget.

Crossing the top of the Harbour Bridge

Crossing the top of the Harbour Bridge

Climbing back down

From the top, the walk and climb back down the Harbour Bridge was a straightforward process of simply heading back down the opposite side of the arch. With no need for rest-stops, the return trip down the arch is easy-going, and much quicker.

At the bottom of the arch, we all carefully climbed backwards down the ladders. Thanks to two sets of railings on either side, this is an easy ladder descent. Even Samantha, the smallest member of our party, found she could descend easily. We all wanted a train to go past us as we climbed down the ladders through the road and rail level, but it was Brooke who turned out to be the lucky one – she was delighted to experience a train passing just below her!

When we had all reached the bottom of the ladders, we retraced our steps back along the catwalks, and before we knew it we were walking back into the BridgeClimb home base. We were back – and we had climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge – how incredible!

Removing our climbing gear

Then it was time to go through the reverse-process of taking all of our bits and pieces off. Hankies, wet weather gear and lanyards all disappeared down chutes. We returned to the change rooms to get back into our street clothes, and access our lockers.

When we were ready to go, it was time to receive our BridgeClimb I climbed it! Certificates and a complimentary group photograph. There was also time to view all the other photographs which had been taken during the climb. Several  photography packages were available to purchase, and everyone was snapping them up – after all, where else on earth were you going to get family photos like these ones?!

Finally we headed down to the BridgeClimb gift shop and café for a bite to eat – and of course to buy a  t-shirt, and a few other souvenirs. What an amazing day it had been, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge together!

BridgeClimb Sydney

BridgeClimb Important Info

BridgeClimb prices range from Adult A$258-393 and Child A$178-283

BridgeClimb is located at 3 Cumberland St, The Rocks NSW.

Telephone: +61 (2) 8274 7777   Email:

For further information, visit the official BridgeClimb website here.

If you're looking for something memorable to do with the family in Sydney - why not climb the Harbour Bridge, Australia?


Have you ever climbed the Harbour Bridge, or do you plan to one day? Tell us in the comments below!


All information and prices are correct as at October 2017.
Let’s go Mum were hosted guests of BridgeClimb Sydney, however all opinions remain firmly our own.




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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at!