Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge & Bondi Bliss

We arrived in Sydney about 6pm on Monday 9th November. Luckily our hostel was only a short train journey from the airport and we were quickly checking in to Backpackers HQ hostel. It had a great location as it was right next to Kings Cross train station which had easy access into the city, and there was also a good variety of shops, bars and restaurants around. Feeling hungry after the flight we quickly went out to get some food and had a little wander around the town area, then chilled at the hostel for the rest of the evening.  

As Tuesday was our first proper day in Sydney, we wanted to do something fun. And the weather was pretty great too so we caught the train and bus to Bondi Beach for swimming, sunbathing and taking in the scenery. It took quite a while to get there as there’s no train station near by so we caught a train to the closest train station, then got a bus to the beach. The traffic was heaving, evening at mid morning on a Tuesday, so it felt like it took forever to get to. But once we were there we could see straight away why people love Bondi so much. It’s got a great chilled out atmosphere, with quirky shops and cafes aplenty. And the beach was gorgeous - nice white sand, turquoise water and lots of people hanging out or surfing.

After a few weeks in Australia, this was the first place that felt like a backpackers home. It was just so relaxed and there was a complete mix of people from different cultures and countries. We spent the day chilling in the sun and occasionally dipping our feet in the sea (it was freezing!), grabbed some healthy lunch from Envii Salad Bar (they’re all about being healthy in Bondi) and then plonked ourselves back down on the beach for the rest of the day. That evening we had dinner around Kings Cross area.

The next day we made it our mission to go to the gym first thing, so we found the Snap Fitness in the area (which we were both now members of) and had an early morning session. After a shower we caught the train to Sydney Harbour Bridge as we were climbing it 11:35am. There’s no way we could have afforded this luxury as the bridge climb is super expensive, especially when on a backpackers budget. But Natalie’s Mum and Dad had gone to Sydney and did the climb 3 years ago, and they were keen for us to do it as they enjoyed it so much, so they very kindly offered to pay for it. Thanks guys! We got to the Bridge Climb Base a bit early so we could get our gear on and meet our guide for the day, Laura. She showed us how to safely move along the bridge by securely threading you harness through the hand rail on the bridge, so you always have three points of contact at all times - your feet on the steps, your hand on the handrail, and your harness over the handrail. Once we all got the hang of it, we ventured out onto the bridge and started climbing up the steep steps to get onto the right level in order to climb over the arch of the bridge. It was the steep steps that were more nerve racking than climbing over the arch we think. The steps had nothing in between them and the whole area was very enclosed. When you start walking across the arch of the bridge, you realised that you can’t look directly down all the time which makes you feel more comfortable as you can’t see the road with rushing cars below you. As Jordan really doesn’t like heights, we thought he would be uber nervous. But once you’re doing it, all your fears kind of melt aways as you’re concentrating on what you’re doing, and taking in the views at different points of the climb. For some reason we assumed that we would be climbing over the whole arch, but it’s actually only half of it as the Bridge Climb company only owns half of the bridge. But we were still able to get to the highest part of the bridge (134 metres above sea level!) and take in the spectacular uninterrupted panorama views of the city.

After soaking up the view and realising just how big Sydney was, it was sadly time to climb back down again. The whole experience finished around 3pm and it was incredible. Not quite worth all that money unfortunately, but hey, that’s what lovely parents are for! After the long climb we were starving so had a late lunch in Rocks Square nearby and finished off the afternoon by walking around the harbour, getting typical touristy photos with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

That night we had drinks with a friend from home who had been living in Sydney for a few months. It’s funny how you get chatting to more and more people from home once you’re in another country with them

Thursday was pretty much a write-off as it was chucking it down with rain all day. We went to the gym in morning, and then headed into the city again to go shopping in Pitt Street Mall and Westfields. We both needed to get a few bits for interviews etc and as we had the day free, we thought, why not? The rest of the day we stayed in the hostel sheltering from the rain and watching films.

Sadly the next day was just as bad with the weather. So again we went to the gym in morning, and later caught the ferry to Manly which is north of the city and supposed to have a lovely beach. Unfortunately as we walked to the beach, it started to rain really heavily. So we ran into a place called The Pantry on the seafront for a tea and coffee to help warm us up, and then had a late lunch in Watervue seafood restaurant. By this point we’d had enough of the rain, so we caught the ferry back and chilled at the hostel watching a film.

Saturday was our last day in Sydney as we had decided that Melbourne had won us over and we were flying back to find jobs and a place to live. That morning as usual we went to the gym and had lunch in a great place called Spitroast which had the most amazing meat and veggies ever. Real comfort food at its best. That afternoon before catching our flight back to Melbourne, we simply chilled in hostel and looked for jobs and places to live. We were so excited that we had decided to live and work in Melbourne for a year and couldn’t wait for the next part of our travelling adventures to begin!