Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney – the world’s largest steel arch bridge

A good bridge deserves a superb location and they don’t come better than this. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is known by the locals as the ‘Coat Hanger’ and it sets off the stunning harbour perfectly. It’s difficult to appreciate the vast scale of this deceptively simple structure. So do hop off your Sydney Bus Tour and take a closer look.

While you’re here you might want to visit the south-east pylon. You can get to it via the walkway and by climbing about 200 steps. There are often exhibits about the history of the bridge here. And if you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can even go on a ‘BridgeClimb’. You’ll be well harnessed and suitably attired, but it’s not for the faint-hearted! Or for a more tranquil way to take in the views, see the bridge from the water on a Captain Cook Cruise.

A national incident

People still talk about the grand opening of the bridge, which happened back in 1932. The New South Wales Premier was meant to cut the ribbon, but someone beat him to it. Captain Francis of the Para-military group slashed the ribbon with his sword. The incident has now become part of Australian folklore.

Plenty of traffic

When the bridge first opened it cost just 6 pence for a car to cross. Now it’s priced in dollars. It’s been load tested with 96 steam locomotives, which is just as well, as the amount of traffic crossing just keeps rising. In fact, in 1 hour as many as 15,000 vehicles can drive across the bridge.

Other interesting facts about Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • When the bridge opened in 1932, the public was allowed to walk across it before it opened to traffic
  • The bridge is designed to withstand expansion or contraction due to heating or cooling
  • It took 272,000 litres (575,000 pints) of paint for the initial 3 coats of the bridge
  • Don’t try taking a horse across the bridge – it’s not allowed