When visiting Sydney, you cannot miss the Harbour Bridge. But after some research, you will find out there are different options to experience the iconic bridge. It’s free to walk on it, and you’ll have superb views of it from the Sydney City Botanic Garden or a ferry boat, like when you go to Manly Beach for example. But what’s the best way to experience it? Here are my views about the big debate Pylon Lookout vs Bridge Climb.
The price difference between the Pylon Lookout vs Bridge Climb
If budget isn’t an issue for you and if you have time, don’t hesitate and do the Bridge Climb.
But most visitors are conscious of their travel budget. And the price difference is a huge factor to consider when deciding between visiting the Pylon Lookout vs Bridge Climb. Have a look at this comparison:
Duration: approx. 30 mn
Photos: free, you can take your own.
Duration: 3.5 hrs
Photos: $60 extra
I’ll make the maths for you: the Bridge Climb is 20 times more expensive than the Pylon Lookout. So is it worth spending all this money?
Is the Bridge Climb experience much better than the Pylon Lookout?
My short, personal answer is no. But, of course, it depends on what you’re after.
Although they aren’t as good as on the Bridge Climb, the views from the Pylon Lookout are spectacular.
From 87 metres above sea level, you’ll get a great view of Sydney Harbour, with the Opera House, the city and all the beauty around it. And you cannot get a closer view of the Harbour Bridge itself unless you are climbing it.
What about climbing the inner arch for $170? I don’t know much about this one. But I wouldn’t go for something in between, especially if the same restrictions (photos + queuing) apply.
Why the Pylon Lookout is better than the Bridge Climb
First, because you’ll save $275 that you can spend on another awesome experience, like a Harbour Helicopter Tour* for example. But if we put the budget aside, there are still reasons why the Pylon Lookout provides a better experience.
Both experiences will allow you to learn more about the Harbour Bridge construction. The difference is that you’ll do it at your own pace in the Pylon Lookout museum by stopping at the three different levels as you climb the 200 stairs. During the Bridge Climb, you’ll have to listen to the guide via your headphones as you’re stopped on the stairs. Some will love the opportunity to admire the view for two hours in a climb that could be done in 20 minutes. Others may feel desperate or stuck if it’s too slow to their taste.
At the Pylon Lookout, you can take millions of photos and selfies if you want to. There is no restriction and no time limit. There weren’t even many people both times I visited. It truly is one of the most photogenic places in Sydney, perfect for your Instagram shots!
Why the Bridge Climb is better than the Pylon Lookout
For some people, climbing the Harbour Bridge is an Australia bucket list item. The question Pylon Lookout vs Bridge Climb isn’t about getting the best views but about ticking a unique experience. It’s for sure something you don’t get to do often. Although there are a few other bridges that you can climb for only one-third of the price (Brisbane Story Bridge* or Auckland Harbour Bridge* for example), the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the most iconic one.
It can also be an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone, face your fears and get some adrenaline, in very safe conditions.
Finally, the Pylon Lookout is open from 10 am to 5 pm. So if you want the sunset, sunrise or night views, the Bridge Climb is your only option left.
Did you go to the Pylon Lookout or did you climb the Harbour Bridge when you visited Sydney? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout?
Leave the city behind you and walk on the right path on the Harbour Bridge. Enter the first Pylon to access the museum and, at the top, the lookout. This map from the Pylon Lookout brochure can help you find it:
Where to stay in Sydney
I recommend staying not too far from the CBD for the best experience: Circular Quay (click here to view availabilities)*, Barangaroo (click here to view availabilities)* or Darling Harbour (click here to view availabilities*) are close to the water and very scenic. From there, you can easily catch a bus or a train to explore the rest of the Sydney region.
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