Australia

Up Close and Personal with the Sydney Harbour Bridge


The day starts spectacularly beautiful with clear blue skies and bright sunshine.

John decides to take the train north across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and walk back to the city to experience the bridge up close and personal. We are planning to do the Bridge Climb hopefully this week but more on that to come. I choose to have a quiet day today because we had such a busy Saturday night with our friends Brian, Lynne, and Peter. Brian and Lynne were the Sydney-siders we met in Cairns when we were diving. The weather turns cool and overcast quite quickly in the late afternoon with a strong wind picking up.

John’s View from a Bridge

Bridges fascinate me – and this bridge in particular. It is only the 3rd longest of its type, but it is probably the largest in terms of weight-bearing capacity. It carries two train tracks, eight lanes of traffic and pedestrian walkways. The engineers who designed it didn’t go with a suspension bridge because they wanted the bridge to be able to carry more weight than possible with a suspension bridge. It was built by constructing the two sides of the arch separately. To keep them from collapsing before completion, they were each anchored by massive steel ropes. When the two halves were completed, the two sides were, by design, about 1 metre apart, and the huge steel lines were slowly relaxed, over a period of 8 days, until they connected.

The entire weight of the bridge rests on four massive hinges – these allow the bridge to rock back and forward as it expands and contracts – it apparently can lengthen by over 100 millimetres on a hot day. Although the height of the bridge allowed all ships to pass under it for many years, today’s huge cruise ships cannot get through. They now berth at Circular Quay, so their arrivals and departures are tightly scheduled, as only one can be accommodated at a time.

Greg’s View from a Balcony

We are eating Thai in Newtown this evening with Eric and Graham, who have adopted us while we have been here. Eric has traveled extensively in Bali, and we will be picking his brain for the next leg of our journey (which starts in just two weeks!) We cab it over to Graham’s renovation war zone apartment for a drink on his balcony. And what a balcony! He has the most spectacular, unobstructed view of the Anzac and Harbour bridges with the entire city laid out before him. We savour the view and then head into Newtown after a brief tour of some of the surrounding neighbourhoods (again many million dollar Victorian Terraces) and have a wonderful unhurried meal at Thai Riffic. People are already starting to talk about the end of summer. Boo Hoo!

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