Whether you’re a local, or touching down in Sydney for the very first time, there is something so mesmerizing about the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Built in 1923, the bridge consists of 53,000 tonnes of intricately woven steel, connects the CBD to the North Shore and took a whopping fifty-five years to pay off. Historically, the bridge brought essential employment during the depression and was painted by Crocodile Dundee himself. These days, globetrotters embark on journeys to see the famous overpass and if you’re lucky enough, catch the spectacular show of fireworks on New Years Eve. If you’re one of those curious travellers planning your very first trip down under, or a local with an itch for travel, this guide will give you the very best spots to marvel and photograph the great Aussie icon in one easy trip. Before you set off, check the weather for a gorgeous sunny day. Aim to start in the afternoon, especially if you want to catch a colourful sunset reflecting off the water. Wear comfortable walking clothing and make sure to bring all the necessary equipment for a safe, hassle free day (water bottle, sunscreen, snacks), and of course, to all the photographers out there, your tripod and camera!
Start at Circular Quay
Located at the end of the airport line, jump on the train from your nearest station to begin the trip. If you’re not familiar with Sydney’s train lines, download TripView off the app store or google play for live updates (Sydney trains are prone to delays) and the best transfer options for stress free navigation. The second you hop off the train, you’ll be greeted with a spectacular view of the bridge. As you’re on the platform, there will be plenty of busy commuters walking about. Make sure to step out of the way of foot traffic while you take the time to soak in the view and snap a quick selfie! If you’re feeling up for a drink (or two), head to the Opera Bar where you can catch both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house in one pristine spot. You can also head here at the end of the trip instead, as you will be returning back to Circular Quay.
From Circular Quay, it’s around a 15 minute walk to Observatory Hill (navigate your way with Google Maps throughout the trip). With spectacular panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, take the time to experiment with different angles for the best shot. This is also a nice spot for a picnic, so if you’re feeling peckish, join others in a short break with killer views.
Milsons Point (Luna Park)
When you’re ready, make your way back to Circular Quay and look for wharf number 5. Using your Opal card (the same one for the train), catch the F4 ferry across the harbour towards Milsons Point. Make sure to get some shots on the water and enjoy the bumps and jumps of the ride along the way! The ferry is a quick 5 minutes so for those who are worried about sea sickness, stay inside the ferry and enjoy the views from your seat. Once you’ve arrived, take your time and soak in the views. If you’re interested in checking out Luna Park and getting a selfie with the laughing face, it’s a short walk up, away from the bridge. Once you’re ready, head towards Jeffery’s Street by continuing down the path that runs along the water. Here, you’ll be able to get the iconic side shot and walk underneath the bridge.
After walking for approximately 5 minutes, you should reach Jeffery’s street wharf. There are heaps of photo opportunities along the way so don’t hesitate to stop and snap a shot! However, the best location for a killer picture is further down, where a large body of water sits, giving you an amazing reflection shot. This needs to be taken at sunset or sunrise, when the light gets low enough to bounce a perfect symmetric reflection off the water. Spend as much time here as you like, and when you’re ready, navigate to Burton street in Kirribilli. If you’ve had enough walking for one day, you can skip the walk across the bridge and jump on a ferry back to Circular Quay from Milsons Point Wharf.
Walk Across the Bridge (Burton Street Stairs)
Once you’ve reached Burton street, look for the stairs heading up to the bridge. The walk across will take around 15 minutes to half an hour depending on how many stops you take. Prepare yourself for some beautiful panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House! While there is a fence for pedestrian safety, you can still poke your hand through for some nice shots.
For an even better view, and a secret spot not many know about, head into the Pylon Lookout which is along the way, just before the Cumberland Street exit. Not only does this little gem have some of the best panoramic views, but also tells the amazing history of the bridge, it’s construction and the opening day controversies. But the best part? It’s a fraction of the costs of the bridge climb for equally amazing views! So if you’re on a budget, this is a must!
So there you have it folks, an awesome little day trip with some of the best photo spots, vantage points and hidden paradises in Sydney. If you followed along and enjoyed the trip, or you want to let us know about another location worthy of a mention, let us know in the comments below!
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