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Thursday 10 Dec 2009
Sydney Harbor Bridge, Australia

Sydney Adventures Bridge Climb & Opera House

Highlight of Thursday was our Discovery Bridge Climb.  We climbed 1,478 steps (total up & down) and at the summit of the bridge we were 417 feet above the water - Boy, what a view !!!  Breathtaking doesn't even begin to describe it!

We climbed with 1 couple that had climbed the bridge on a previous visit to Sydney and they'd brought friends to give it a go - they were from New Zealand.  The other person in our group was a 54 year old woman named Candy from Santa Barbara.  She has friends that live in Melbourne and she'd just spent 9 days there and arrived in Sydney the same day we did.  This is her first trip traveling by herself and the first time outside the US.

We had a great guide named Andrew who was new to his job (3 months) but really knew his stuff.  We geared up in jump suits, took off all jewelry (1st time I've had the bracelet off that Deb & Scott gave me umpteen years ago), put climbing waist belts on that had tethers/hooks that would keep us connected to the lifeline cable along the walk, radios & headsets so we could hear our guide (these did not fit over the ear but set against the temple and we could hear perfectly), a pouch with rain gear just in case and we were off.

I don't know how I got to the front of the line but I was ... Throughout the climb Andrew gave us the history of the bridge and stopped plenty of times along the way so we could take in the views.... AWESOME !  

Bridge Fun Facts:  Twice the width of the Golden Gate Bridge; 6 million rivets (+ 10,000 at the bottom of the harbor dropped during construction); plans for the bridge were started in the late 1880's; when the bridge was officially opened in 1932 there were only 5 (yes FIVE) automobiles in North Sydney - today trains cross it multiple times a day and there are an estimated 250,000 autos that cross the bridge daily (now that is foresight !); Each New Years Eve there are $4.5 Million worth of fireworks that are set off on the bridge and 8 high rise buildings in Sydney.

It was an unbelievable experience - Pricey but worth every penny.  After the climb we asked Candy to join us for dinner and found a pub close by that offered fish and chips which she had not yet had.  Fish, chips, and a couple of pitchers of beer later, we headed back to our respective hotels.

 

Dec 11th

We caught the 10am Coffee Cruise of the Sydney Harbor.  The sun was out and it was a great way to spend a couple of hours.  There was a group of Herbalife people on board and one of the big muckety mucks.  We assume he was some big honcho (maybe his name was Herb) because everyone wanted their picture taken with Mr. Versace shirt, Louis Vuitton belt and driving slippers.  It reminded me of my Century 21 convention days, everyone has a shirt that says I love Herbalife or buttons that said "Want to work from home, ask me how" and they swarmed this guy. Herbalifers from all over the world speaking many different languages.  He was French, others were Korean, Japanese, and German, you name it.  Anyway... it was a good cruise with plenty of information about the harbor and its history.

We returned to Circular Quay and beat feet to the Opera House for one of their tours.  Candy (our climbing buddy) recommended it highly and she was right.  Another very interesting story from the design, the building project, the budget and the length of time it took to build it.  Fun Fact:  Original projection - $7 Million, 3 years - actual $102 Million and 13 years;  The Opera House has 6 different halls for performances, not just one.  The opera hall does not use microphones as its structure is acoustically perfect;  No opera is performed 2 days in a row (too hard on the performers voices) - they have 3-4 operas going at a time so staging crews are putting up different stage sets every day (facility capable of storing up to 5 full stage sets at a time in the basement).

We were able to go into 3 of the halls, one of which we were able to observe part of a rehearsal for Sleeping Beauty, the Ballet currently playing.  That was fun to see.

We topped off our day by hitting the IMAX theatre and caught EGYPT in 3D.  Did you know that to date, no one has been able to figure out how they embalmed their dead that preserved even the skin ?  Hmmm......

We're off to Adelaide via the Indian Pacific Train tomorrow.  We leave @ 2:55pm Saturday, Dec 12th and arrive on Sunday, Dec 13th @ 3:05pm.  Choo - Choo  !

2 Comments for this Travel blog entry

lola Says:

12 December 2009

man oh man - aren't you learning all the fun facts! very interesting stuff about the Opera House. And is French Herb owner of Herbalife single??? I would wear that damn shirt.

Candy Says:

20 December 2009

You guys are doing an amazing job describing things! I'm so glad you did the Opera House tour! I've shown all my friends the Bridge photos! What a great day and Thank You again for dinner! It was a really great day/night.

Tony and Ellie's Adventure

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Photo Album

  • That is not...

    Sydney Harbor...

    Australia

    That is not my hat it's the Xmas Tree !
  • Christmas in...

    Sydney Harbor...

    Australia

    Christmas in Darling Harbor
  • Some of the...

    Sydney Harbor...

    Australia

    Some of the internal structure of Opera House
  • The Main...

    Sydney Harbor...

    Australia

    The Main Opera Hall