Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Growing up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, I always loved heading to the city because everything was so grand and majestic. Being up close to the iconic bridge and Opera House that decorate the harbour and make it recognizable all over the world truly makes one appreciate the beauty of Sydney, especially as a young kid.

I was probably about 10 years old when I first heard that one can climb the bridge, and I knew since then that it was something I wanted to do. I’m not afraid of heights so that wasn’t an issue, but there’s a certain age requirement so I had to wait a few years before I could do it. I ended up moving away from Australia a year later but during my last visit to Sydney I was determined to climb the bridge before I left.

I asked my cousin and one of my best friends to tag along with me and they were more than happy. We went ahead and booked tickets online on the official website. Prices are quoted in Australian dollars and range from 148 – 368 dollars for adults and 118 – 148 dollars for children depending on the type of climb, time of day, and time of week you wish to climb. We chose to do the weekday night climb which takes about 4 hours and includes a group photograph, short video from the summit, a cap, certificate of achievement, and a free pass to the Pylon Lookout.

Once we checked in at the Bridge Climb center, we were immediately placed in a group with about nine others. Each person took a minute to introduce themselves before we headed to the locker room to change into our climb suits. Every climber is required to wear a special jumpsuit equipped with all the necessary climb gear such as a waist belt meant to be clipped to the railing of the bridge, headphones, a beanie among other things. For safety reasons phones and cameras are prohibited and everyone is required to remove all jewelry items. We then went into the training facility where we spent about 45 minutes being taught how to utilize the climb gear. Within the training facility there’s a replica of the most difficult part of the climb, a vertical ladder, which each climber practiced on before we departed for the actual climb.

The climb itself was super safe and surprisingly easy. I expected it to be a steep climb but the steps are so big it feels as if you’re walking on a flat surface. The guide we had was fantastic, so friendly! He made us laugh throughout the whole journey which eased our nerves. We kept our headphones on throughout most of the climb to hear the guide talk about the history of the bridge and point out all of Sydney’s landmarks. We stopped a couple of times to take photos which you can purchase on the way out. We also had the opportunity to film a short video at the summit which you can access through e-mail for free.

The feeling once we reached the summit is indescribable. The sense of accomplishment I felt was amazing and standing on top of one of the most beautiful cities in the world really put things in perspective for me. I was so glad I got to experience this with people I love and I encourage all of you to do the same when visiting Sydney if it’s within your budget. It’s truly an unforgettable experience and makes for a great birthday, graduation, anniversary, or Christmas gift idea 🙂

Have you been to Sydney and done the bridge climb? Tell me about it below xx


Summer in Sydney

IMG_0246Growing up in Sydney, Australia, I couldn’t wait for December to arrive because it would mark the start of summer. While people in the Northern Hemisphere were gearing up for winter, I was busy shopping for swimsuits and planning my summer days. Christmas was spent at the beach and pool parties were a standard way to ring in the new year.

As the summer season approaches Downunder, I find myself longing to be back in Sydney. The best time to be in this city is during the summer months as it’s located right on the water. Since I can’t be there myself, here are some must-do’s for anyone planning on visiting this fantastic city this summer:

– Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk: Besides the obvious health benefit, this 6km walk provides stunning views of Sydney’s coastline and surrounding beaches.

– Queen Victoria Building: Better known as the QVB, this architectural masterpiece is located in the central business district and is just as majestic as the sovereign whom it was named after. Lots of fancy shops and restaurants await you inside.

– Harbour Bridge Climb: I did this back in 2012 and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The view at the summit is breathtaking and the climb itself is super safe and easy. It can be done during the day, night, dusk, or dawn and is a great birthday gift or date idea. Check the website for more details: . P.s: Sydney Tower is a great alternative, you can do the skywalk or dine at the buffet restaurant which spins to give you a full 360 degree view of the city.

– Taronga Zoo: A lovely day out for families or friends alike where you’ll get to see Australia’s most unique animals close up (Koala, Kangaroo, Platypus etc.) as well as witness live shows. The best way to get there is by ferry boat in my opinion as you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Sydney Harbour.

– Sydney Opera House: While Paris has the Eiffel tower, Rome has the Colosseum, and New York has the liberty statue, Sydney has the iconic Opera House. If you’re unable to catch a show inside, I recommend going for drinks at the Opera Bar at night. You won’t be disappointed and cannot leave Sydney without catching a glimpse of this landmark up close.

– Harry’s Café de Wheels: You know that saying, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’? Australians love their meat pies and this place offers the most delicious pies in the city so head over there for a bite. It’s been visited by the likes of Nicole Kidman and other Australian celebrities.

– Bondi Beach: You can’t visit Sydney without spending at least a day at the beach and this is quite possibly the most famous beach in Australia. It’s almost always packed though so make sure to go early to get a good spot. If you’d prefer to go to a more quiet place head over to Wattamolla beach located in the Royal National Park, a secluded oasis of natural beauty.

– Rugby Game: Australians take their sports very seriously. Commonly referred to as ‘footy’, rugby is one of Australia’s most followed sports so be sure to check out any local matches as it’s a lot of fun.

– Pitt Street Mall: A great pedestrian shopping area located in the heart of the city.

– Darling Harbour: The best way to experience Sydney is a walk along the harbour. Some of Sydney’s most famous museums can be found here as well as the Sydney Sea-Life Aquarium, and it’s within walking distance from the Sydney Fish Market where you’ll find some of Australia’s tastiest seafood.

– The Grounds of Alexandria: If you’re a foodie head over here for breakfast or brunch in a beautiful garden setting.

– Royal Botanic Gardens: This is the perfect place for rest and relaxation. Have a picnic, read a book, or simply lay on the grass and take in the sights and the smell of fauna.

6 Things I Miss About Australia

What is home to you? Some would say wherever family is at, others simply call it a place they return to every night, and then there’s people who give a poetic response like “home is where the heart is.” I’m one of those people.

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Australia and although I no longer live there I think about it often and long to return sometimes.  The memories of childhood are embedded in my heart and my face lights up every time I reminisce… The same way my father’s face lights up when he shows us around the village he grew up in, the same way my aunt speaks of the country she immigrated from when she was a teen, the same way my American professor at university uses references from his all-American childhood to explain concepts. Although I’m building new memories where I am now, there are some things my new country of residence cannot replace.

Here are 6 things I miss about Australia in no particular order:

1. The beaches: It is no question that Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the best part? Entrance is totally free unlike many Mediterranean and European cities where you have to pay a fee to access the beach or to rent a beach chair for the day.

2. Multiculturalism: At any given moment in Australia, you could be surrounded by a Chinese, Indian, Greek, Croatian, Italian, Lebanese, Philipino etc. Being around all these different people gives you a diverse and tolerant outlook on life.

3. The accent: This one speaks for itself. I’m a sucker for accents, mate.

4. Meat pies: If you haven’t had a meat pie with gravy and mashed potato, you have not lived.

5. Family: My extended family is pretty big and there’s nothing I miss more than being surrounded by cousins, aunties, and uncles on holidays and major life events such as weddings and christenings.

6. Rugby: I was sort of a tomboy growing up and rugby has a huge following in Australia. I always looked forward to ‘footy’ season where all my cousins and I would head to the stadium to support our local team.