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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 19, 2021
Headline for A List of Must-know Facts Before Visiting Sydney Harbour Bridge - Top Facts Every Traveller Must Know
Joanna James Joanna James
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A List of Must-know Facts Before Visiting Sydney Harbour Bridge - Top Facts Every Traveller Must Know

As one of the most iconic structures in all of Australia, the Sydney Harbour Bridge attracts visitors from around the world. Here are some crucial facts every tourist must know before heading down to this iconic overpass affectionately dubbed the "Coat Hanger."


A Rich Legacy

The need for a bridge across the Sydney port was first conceived in 1815 but plans to build one was not realised until 1900 when submissions were called for the bridge's design. Even though many submissions were received, it took more than two decades more to allow an English firm to bring these plans into fruition by building an overpass. Construction work began back in 1924 and took nearly 8 years to complete. The crew who worked on the bridge numbered well over 1400 while the cost of the bridge is estimated to have been around 4.2 million Australian dollars. The opening ceremony for the Sydney Harbour Bridge included much pomp and pageantry with marching bands and musicians performing in the city streets and finally, across the bridge.


The First to Cross

After a procession of ships passed under the bridge a Venetian Carnival, the public was finally allowed to walk the bridge to the deck, an act that was not to take place again till the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the bridge, which was held in 1982. The Sydney Harbour Bridge charged a rider of a single horse three pence to cross the bridge while a car was charged double the amount. Nowadays, horses and riders are not allowed on the bridge but one can cycle or walk across the special land on the overpass free of charge. Indeed, this is often considered the best way to experience the harbour area and catch spectacular views of the Opera House.


Technically Speaking

As an iconic feat in engineering, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was a groundbreaking construction in its heyday. To this day, it remains the highest steel arch bridge in the world and an indispensable part of the city's transport network. An impressive 200,000 vehicles are known to cross the overpass daily and its total length measures 3935 feet or 1149 metres. The clearing for ships passing underneath the bridge is about 49m from the surface of the water while the bridge now encompasses 8 lanes for vehicles, a cycling path, a footpath, and two train lines.


Size and Replicas

Those who gaze out at the bridge from Oaks Sydney Castlereagh Suites or any other apartment hotel in Sydney can be forgiven for thinking it is the world's longest bridge although the Sydney Harbour Bridge is actually the globe's biggest. The Tyne Bridge in Britain is a smaller-scale replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge although there has been some controversy about which came first.


The Walk Across

In spite of its length and grand scale, it would take a person around 15 minutes to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is known to expand due to the warmth of the sun during midday.