Sydney from New Heights

Another early morning in Sydney….thanks a lot jet lag!

We had nothing major planned for today other than the MOST exciting thing: the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb!! Chloe surprised me with tickets the day I arrived. We had talked about possibly adding this to our agenda while in Sydney, but agreed it was a bit too pricey. Little did I know she had purchased tickets. She’s such a little sneak! I couldn’t have been more excited to climb that bridge!

Before that epic adventure though, we decided to make our way to the Hyde Park Barracks. Wandering around the city so early in the morning was nice. We beat the morning onslaught of people trying to get to work. It felt like we had the whole city to ourselves.

We managed to arrive a bit early, so the Barracks hadn’t quite opened yet. So we sat on the nearest bench and Chloe told me about the evil magpies. I mean, those damn birds are evil. From what I’ve heard, and videos I have now seen on the internet, it’s shocking at how aggressive these things get! Thankfully it wasn’t that ‘time’ of year, so I was safe from any sort of magpie attack.

After a short wait, we were able to go inside. The Barracks are not very large. Most of the structure is original, which is pretty cool to see. The white washed walls and floors were done by the prisoners themselves. Chloe and I were the only two there which made for a nice leisurely exploration of the place. Some of the rooms were triggered by our presence, which we weren’t aware of. So when I stepped into an empty room, the audio would kick in from god knows where and it scared the crap out of me! I honestly thought someone was in there but couldn’t see them. We had a pretty good laugh over that once we realized what was going on.

We continued to wander the three levels of the interior. Outside, there was a small courtyard. At the back housed small court rooms where prisoners were tried on the spot and sentenced to remain in the barracks. It’s all so fascinating! We could literally sit amongst the jury rows or sit in the judge’s chair. All of it was open to the public.

After leaving the Barracks, we went across the street to Hyde Park. Why does it seem like every city has a Hyde Park? I know here in London (Ontario) we have one….
Anyway, it’s a very pretty place. The main thoroughfare was tree-lined and completely shaded. Obviously a nice feature for a city that can get so warm! A massive fountain was in the centre. We didn’t say too long because a bus load of tourists took over the area. So we continued down the paved pathway to the street. Unsure of what to do next, we decided to hop on the metro and head to Darling Harbour.

Darling Harbour is really quite nice. It’s got loads to do with the restaurants, movie theatre and shopping centre. There was a big dragon boat festival going on when we arrived. Having forgotten that yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I was quickly reminded of that by the massive hanging neon pink heart.

We stopped in at a restaurant to have a nice dinner. It would be our only expensive meal we would eat the entire trip – or so we said. We had steak and all kinds of sides. It was really quite nice! After we ate we found our way to the bus stop to catch a ride back to the hostel.

The time has come! Our bridge climb is here! It was really close to the hostel we were in, so we walked down to get ourselves checked in. It’s such an amazing gift Chloe surprised me with!! I was so excited to do this.
We arrive, check in and get called up. There was quite a few of us there, so we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell the group why we were here, etc. They have us sign a waiver and we’re ready to climb!
They also had us change into these amazing jumpsuits. Ok….there was nothing amazing or flattering about these suits. They’re hilariously hideous. So now we’re suited and ready to go! But first, we had to be trained on how to climb the bridge. Yes, trained. The steps and ladders are tricky. Better to be prepared than fall off the bridge to our doom. Jussssst kidding! We were tethered to the bridge…completely safe! πŸ˜‹

Words cannot describe how beautiful it was standing at the top of Harbour Bridge! For those of you daring to go, just know that you cannot take anything with you (no cameras, phones, nothing!). But fear not! They take loads of pictures for you while you’re climbing! Also….they offer a sunset climb for a price much higher than the regular climb. Do not purchase this! Just sign yourself up for the climb time just before the sunset climb and you’ll catch the sunset! That’s what happened on our climb. We were lucky enough to catch the sunset before the clouds came in! It was stunning!!

By the time we got to the top, we were out of breath and sweaty. But the views and the nice breeze are worth that climb! Chloe and I had so much fun! Once you’re at the top, you cross over to the other side of the bridge and make your way back down again. By the time we finished, my legs were shaking and exhausted. 1390 stairs in total you climb. And we survived! At the bottom once you’ve changed, you’re given a certificate. We ended up purchasing the USB of photos from our climb. We split the cost, uploaded them onto Chloe’s laptop and I took the USB home. It was totally worth it!

After the climb we found ourselves beyond hungry! We ended up at a pub just literally doors down from our hostel called the Australian Heritage Hotel. We carbo loaded like it was our job. Pretty sure the server though we were fat asses. We didn’t care! Beer and carbs after that climb….uh, yes please!

Just like that my time in Sydney is up! What an incredible way to start this month long adventure!

Stay tuned for my next stop: Melbourne

Until next time…

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